In an attempt to kick 2020 far into the rearview mirror, my husband and I decided, on its final day, to embark on a road rarely travelled (by us).
Amid gray clouds and an intermittent sprinkling of rain, we drove toward Leesburg, Virginia for a change of scenery which took us a mere hour and a quarter from the Annapolis, Maryland area.
Our goal, y'all, was to wash away the sins of 2020 amid some quirky vintage and hip finds at The Old Lucketts Store, a place I'd heard much about, but never visited myself. Near the banks of the Potomac River, located, precisely, in a town, and on a road, of the same name - at one time called Black Swamp due to the proliferation of Black Oak trees in the area - Lucketts store has been around, in one form or another, since 1879.
But if it's Lucketts that brings you to the area, it's the scenery, wineries and other antique, vintage, retro and new boutiques that keep you here near, and in, Leesburg, Loudon County, Virginia.
Lucketts has approximately 35 different vendors, but the appeal is not just in the massive variety, it's in the small campus of sheds, decorated with architectural items akin to tiny gingerbread houses along the perimeter of the main shop.
They make it fun to tromp through the gravel and small puddles, finding treasures among those sheds like bottle brush Christmas trees, large ship chains, painted mantels and mirrors, garden statuary, vintage shutters and some other rather uncommon items.
It doesn't hurt that one of Lucketts employees has a helper - Mutley - (if you haven't noticed already, I have a dog "problem" - LOL!) a white schnauzer that my husband legit thought was a Westie. Mutley knows his role and sits on a bench outside the store unless he is called to follow his human while they are helping load items. When I last saw him, he was seriously investigating the grounds around the large farm equipment parts, which I suspect, may have earlier been visited by a rabbit or other woodland animal <wink, wink>. Well done, Mutley.
The main store, housed in a very large old home, is a fascinating treasure of everything from vintage, as well as recent, china and dinnerware, new household items like soaps, candles, pillows, throws, toboggans (the kind you wear, not use as a sled), and more. It's a joy to pick through the treasures to find just the perfect addition to a future table scape or a birthday gift.
We enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies of Lucketts and understand why people continue to return. My parcel was small - this time - and a terrific deal - red English transferware for $8! I'm going to enjoy using this with my holiday dishes on Christmas, Valentine's, and patriotic holidays!
In this time of safe-distancing and mask-wearing, everyone who entered the shop, on the porch, and in and around the shed areas were all very conscientious. While there I noted visitors from all over, including a couple from Georgia who were visiting the area - and everyone was well-behaved and respectful.
We could practically smell the aroma of smoked brisket in the driveway from the local dine-in/take away restaurant, Roots 657 Cafe just a stone's throw down the main road toward Leesburg from Lucketts. This large, high-ceilinged restaurant that specializes in southern smoked fare, has a store that appears dedicated to small craft purveyors in the region - including those from outside of Virginia from Maryland and Pennsylvania.
In an unprecedented move, I failed to take any photos of my delicious brisket and sumptuous cornbread pudding prior to consumption. WHAT?! This brisket was soft like "buttah" and, quite possibly, the best I've ever had (and I like to consider myself an amateur, but exuberant, consumer of brisket). I chose cornbread pudding because I make my own for winter holidays for the family and I wanted to compare the two.
Their version is 'breadier' than my own - and I liked that - a lot. Mine more closely resembles an actual cooked pudding texture although I do use whole corn.
Maggie Blue knows there is so much more to explore in and around Leesburg, and you can count on us being back on the front porch to do just that! If you've been to Lucketts yourself, let us know what you ended up loading into your SUV or truck - because we know most folks leave there with a lot more than a dish - and that's my plan in the not-too-distant future!
Happy New Year, y'all!