Things to Do In South Riding
When you visit a city it is always great to know a few places to go to so you always have an excuse to leave the hotel room. South Riding VA is a planned community in Loudon County. A relatively sleepy location, it has a population of just over 24,000. The city is between US Route 50 and State Route 28, providing access to the nearby Dulles/Reston/Tysons Corner technology corridor, as well as other nearby employment centers in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. However, when people work hard they tend to play hard, and so there are some great places in the area just so people can relax after a hard day’s work. Here are some of them.
The Harper’s Ferry Adventure Center is found in the northern tip of Loudon County. Named after a famous abolitionist location in the lead up to the Civil War, the center offers a range of inexpensive and exciting activities for those looking for some time in the sun and wind. Different packages are available for all ages and families allowing you to spend some time on the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. The Adventure Center features a zipline, aerial adventure park, jumping pillows, and team-building events alongside it whitewater rafting, tubing, and kayaking. For those looking for something a little more relaxing fishing, hiking, camping, and even cabin accommodations are available, making for a great time in the sun, with or without others.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is the preeminent locations of teaching and learning. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is its Virginia location, with 760,000 square feet of exhibits. Its collection includes almost 3000 artifacts and other materials chronicling the history of aviation and spaceflight. The Museum also features an observation tower and restoration hangar. It features the Space Shuttle Discovery, the B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, a NASA android, and the SR-71 Blackbird. For those looking for some incredible exhibits, this may be a great diversion.
For those looking to slow things down the South Riding Golf Club may be the answer. The course was designed by Dan Maples, and is a Par 72 championship layout; it combines features from the Southshore and Crenshaw Bentgrass greens with Penncross Bentgrass fairways and tees. Its cart paths are continuous and lead back to the clubhouse at the 9th and 18th holes. There is also an outing pavilion and scoreboard close to the clubhouse adjacent to the eighteenth green. Not only is the Club available for personal use but can also be rented for group use as well, and the clubhouse has full amenities including a grill and meeting room. This makes it a great stop for those looking for a corporate meeting place or an afternoon away from other worries.
For those interested in something more historical, South Riding VA features a plaque commemorating when General Stonewall Jackson was sent by General Lee to Centreville to cut off General Pope’s retreat from Alexandria, where General Jackson turned east. The event happened August 31, 1862, and is popular among Civil War fans.
South Riding does have some sites for younger tourists as well. The Dulles South Skatepark is a 5600 square-foot park set up for everything that a skater could possibly want in one location. The skatepark features all sorts of ramps, rails, and stairs as well a selection of floating quarter pipes, stacked ledges, and a jump bump. The park combines a variety of obstacles for skaters of all skill levels, providing not only a great afternoon of skating but also photo and video opportunities, thus making for an afternoon all over the spectrum of skill and activity levels.
Of special note is the Sully Historic Site, a Virginia landmark as well as a national historic landmark. The Sully Historic Site is land set aside so that people can learn from what happened there. The land was originally claimed by the Doeg, a group of indigenous natives. After being claimed by the British in order to stop a conflict with the aforementioned tribe, it went through a chain of owners who used the land as a home, a working farm, or some combination of both from 1725 to 1958. At that point, the land was acquired as part of the area to be used in the construction of Dulles Airport. Today the Site is managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority, focusing on the Lee Family, the original owners. It gives a look back in time, making it an interesting place to visit.
Nearby, but still worth checking out, is the Frying Pan Farm Park. The park is a working demonstration farm based on 1930s agriculture. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and features such sites as the Frying Plan Meetinghouse. It also features various equestrian events throughout the year, and has its own indoor riding arena and outside rings, as well as a 4H club. As a trivial aside, many of the turkeys pardoned in the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation are sent here to live out the rest of their days. Not only is this a great place to visit for those looking for some of the nation’s premiere horse events, its status as a living museum makes it a fascinating place for those curious about the history of agriculture.
South Riding features a number of nice amenities for those looking for an escape from the historical sites. There are four outdoor swimming pools and 12 playgrounds just to begin with. There also tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts as well as outside parks. Because it is a planned community, there are plenty of parks available for picnics and other outside activities. For those that want to take advantage of Virginia’s natural bounty there are two options: There is a fishing pier as well as a weekly farmers market during the summer and fall. It is advised that visitors check in with the visitors’ center when planning a visit to the local area to see what additional events are happening as there is always something happening.