Purcellville was once a tiny outpost on the Virginia frontier. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the location became a key stop on the “Great Road,” a thoroughfare used by stagecoaches on their way west. The town was settled in 1764 and was named for Purcell’s Store and Post Office owner Valentine Purcell in 1853. The town earned a stop on the W&OD Railroad in 1874, and its circa-1904 train station, painted canary yellow, sits beside the Wine Country LOVEwork sign. This landmark is also the terminus of the W&OD hiker-biker trail, and you’ll see groups of cyclists gathering to enjoy the town’s impressive collection of dining and drinking establishments. Bunches of friends lock their bikes up and find tables at Purcellville’s breweries and restaurants. But the town is also known to people who love vintage clothing and antiques. Purcellville is a worthy destination for day-trippers seeking sustenance between biking, vineyard hopping, or sightseeing.
1. What happens when you pair namaste philosophy with beer making? This quirky attitude is what makes Belly Love Brewing Company such a popular taproom. Located inside the Shoppes at Main & Maple, this cozy brewery is overseen by owner Tolga Baki, who emphasizes inventive beers (mostly ales). Many have the gluten removed, and they serve wine, too. There’s an all-day happy hour on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 725 E. Main St.
2. Have you ever wondered where period television shows find the perfect outfit from the 1950s or ’60s? When you hunt through the beautifully preserved clothing at Nostalgia Boutique, you’ll be amazed at the treasures on sale inside this Victorian house. 142 E. Main St.
3. Whiskey lovers across the globe have discovered the finesse and complexity of the spirits produced at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. Becky Harris and her husband, Scott, founded this acclaimed distillery right here in Purcellville, and you can sample a flight in their tasting room. They offer tours every day on the hour. Time your visit around one of Catoctin Creek’s special events, such as a four-course dinner with whiskey pairings or a jazz concert. 120 W. Main St.
4. Belly up to the window at the family-owned Gruto’s Soft Serve for old-fashioned ice cream sundaes and cones created from seven swirly confections. Customize with your favorite toppings or select from concoctions like Nutty Buddy, The Elvis, or the Starbucks milkshake. 141 W. Main St.
5. This thrift shop is a rare opportunity to find sensational bargains while supporting a nonprofit. The Clothing Closet is operated by Tree of Life Ministries with enthusiastic volunteers who help you find something new for you. The kids’ section and jewelry options are particularly good here, with prices ranging from $1–$5 for most items. 210 N. 21st St.
6. Magnolias at the Mill is a two-story fine-dining restaurant housed in a mill built in 1905, with a patio that overlooks the W&OD. The menu relies on locally sourced ingredients, including mid-Atlantic seafood and produce from nearby farms, along with Virginia craft beer and cider. Look for wild-caught rockfish and summer harvest greens. 198 N. 21st St.
7. Steps away from the W&OD is Sweet Rose Bakeshop, a coffee shop and bakery with cookies, decadent Bundt cakes, cinnamon buns, cupcakes, and doughnuts. Owner Tanya Goon creates barista-style coffees, custom cakes, and lots of gluten-free options, too. We’re partial to the red velvet Bundt and bacon-mushroom quiche. 201 N. 23rd St.
8. Find a spot on the covered patio at Monk’s BBQ and prepare to get messy! Monk’s caters to groups with meals designed for 10 to 50 people, but if it’s just you, that’s OK, too. Everyone raves about the heaping nachos, smoked bacon on a stick, and crispy, lean brisket. Monk’s serves sides of mac and cheese, collard greens, slaw, and cornbread. 251 N. 21st St.
9. The Purcellville Cannons, a Valley League baseball team, plays at Fireman’s Field and Bush Tabernacle, a park in the historic district. Nicknamed Loudoun’s “field of dreams,” this gathering space brings the community together for events. Built to host temperance meetings during Prohibition, the building was transformed in 1939 into a roller rink that’s still used today. 250 S. Nursery Ave.
10. Chef Jeremy Thrasher, with his impressive cooking chops and experience as a beekeeper, is at the helm of West End Wine Bar & Pub in northern Purcellville. We really like the modern Southern menu with locally sourced ingredients and grilled meats from the “Butcher Block.” Save room for the shareable banana bread pudding and berry hand pie à la mode. 36855 W. Main St.
This story originally ran in our August issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.