Ok, so not everyone says that, but it was a fabulous day for it! Dodona Manor (pronounced dah-donna or dah-dohna) in Leesburg was a spot I’ve wanted to see for a few years. They host public tours only on the weekends and the earlier you get there, the better. My travel buddy and I arrived around 9:30 and with 30 minutes until opening time, we made our way across the street to Mom’s Apple Pie for a cup of coffee and freshly-baked cookie (about $4 for both of us). If you’re in the mood for sweets, this is the place! We found a little bench down from Mom’s and enjoyed our treats in the comfort of shade.
After Joe bid us adieu and prepared for his next tour group, which by this time was about eight people, we opted to spend some time in the
gardens around the home. Marshall was big into his vegetable garden, and volunteers today keep it up beautifully. There’s even a replica ofMarshall’s Jeep. According to Joe, the General didn’t want to be chauffeured around the quiet town ofLeesburgin a limo. Around town he preferred to ride in his green army-style Jeep. Like I said, not one for ostentation.
Leaving the well-kept grounds, we headed up the street (East Market) to downtown Historic Leesburg. One stop was at a home furnishing shop before a German antique store. And what an array of accessories it had! If I had had enough money, I would have re-knobbed everything in the house!
Further up the street we spotted The Palio (Ristorante Italiano) and popped in just to ask if we could look around. It wasn’t exactly the lunch-rush time yet, so we had free reign to climb the gorgeous 17th-century wooden stairway to the second floor. One of the chefs even greeted us and walked with us from room to room, explaining how they built the restaurant and the horse-racing themed artwork. It truly was a visual experience and I definitely plan to return for the food experience!
OnSouth King Street we continued our trek. The Rouge Boutique caught our eye, and upon entering, caught our nose! I felt that spa-relaxing feeling as soon as I stepped through the door. And the Cooley Gallery across the street had an interesting blend of pottery, photographs, and Redskins memorabilia.
All that sight-seeing sure built up our appetites—and my Grandma always said, “Appetite is the best sauce”—so we enjoyed a mouth-pleasing lunch at Galleta’s on Loudoun Street. Bottled Italian vinegars, fresh pestos, and pastas greeted us inside the lovely restaurant (which most likely was converted from an old historic home). After studying the lunch menu, I ordered the Caprese sandwich with a Coke (for a grand total of $9.13) and my friend ordered the Prosciutto sandwich.
Melt-in-your-mouth doesn’t fully explain that meal! The fresh focaccia filled with slices of quality mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, homemade nutty pesto, and extra virgin olive oil…just thinking about it makes me want to run back for more! A large wooden handrail and steps led us to the second floor with small dining rooms (about the size of bedrooms) and an eclectic mix of artwork on the walls. Our small table was beside a window to the street, so we could eat, talk, and people-watch all we wanted.
All in all, a lovely day and fabulous experience for a little over $21. Can’t beat that!
On the road again,