Polo in the Park - A Summer Tour of DC's Countryside

Prince William, Loudoun

Polo at Morven Park

Day 1 - Thursday

Begin your summer retreat with a refreshing lunch at one of the many restaurants within a mile of Manassas National Battlefield. Choose from the numerous nationally recognized restaurants, as well as local options, so you’re close to the action for your next stop on the tour. Did you know the residents of Washington D.C., in July 1861, loaded their horses and carriages full of supplies for the 25-mile jaunt to what is now Manassas National Battlefield for a picnic? These naive citizens watched one of the most seminal moments in American history from a hill not too far from where the battle began.

Tour Group and Interpreter at Manassas National Battlefield

Mount your trusty horse (or other mode of modern transportation!) before embarking on a guided tour of the Battle of First Manassas/Bull Run at Manassas National Battlefield. A guide in Civil War attire will regale you with stories of how this battle set the tone for the next four years. Take a picture with General Stonewall Jackson atop his beloved Little Sorrel, one of the most recognizable military horses in American history. Interestingly, one of the better-known cavalry attacks by Confederate forces during the Civil War was led by General J.E.B. Stuart here during this fateful battle in July 1861.

Continue the Civil War story at Ben Lomond Historic Site, a field hospital used during both major battles at Manassas National Battlefield. From the smell that may have lingered in the home to the sounds of soldiers crying out for help, this immersive museum can practically put you in the shoes of an injured soldier or the family who lives there throughout the ordeal. Be sure to include a musket firing demonstration for good measure and your visit is complete.

A man holding a glass bottle and a woman smiling

How did most soldiers get through these harrowing times? By drinking whiskey! Your next stop is at MurLarkey Distilled Spirits, a craft spirits company founded by second-generation Irish American cousins. Your experience will not be simply tasting their spirits but will also be a bartending lesson as their team creates miniature craft cocktails so you can get a real-world sense of how to serve their spirits at home.

a platter of crabs

After a day of history and liquid encouragement, settle down for a delectable meal at Out of the Blue Crabs and Seafood, a family-owned modern fish house. One of the owners catches a majority of their seafood himself!

Day 2 - Friday

Start your day by paying your respects at National Memorial Cemetery at Quantico with a private flag-placing experience at the graves of previously forgotten veterans. Hosted by the Missing in America Project, their mission is to find, identify, and provide full military burial for these now-remembered heroes.

Iwo Jima Flag at National Museum of the Marine Corps

Your next stop is an experience at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Uncover the history of the Corps, test your skills as a Marine, and get insight into the lives of those who fight for our freedom. During your visit, see the incredible Gene Hackman-narrated film “We, The Marines” to get an unparalleled view into the experiences of Marines from boot camp through modern warfare training. Enjoy a quick lunch in the Devil Dog Diner, their cafeteria-style eatery, or Tun Tavern, a recreation of the famous tavern in which the Marines were founded in Philadelphia on November 10, 1775.

Later, visit one of the oldest known homes in Prince William County, Rippon Lodge. Here, you will learn about the former home of Admiral Richard Blackburn Black and his family’s history. Built in 1747, the home and Blackburn family have a unique story to tell as it relates to our nation’s independence, which you will learn about during your visit. Included in your visit is your choice of a historical tea, musket-firing demonstration, or playing colonial-era games.

Receive a warm welcome to Occoquan by the mayor, Earnie Porta. Enjoy a guided tour of the quaint riverside town as he highlights the history and unique details of Occoquan. Discover stories of the historic buildings and how the town got its name. You must ask him about the story of the floating caskets floating through town!

After your tour, you will want to spend some time perusing and shopping in Occoquan. All the stores are independently owned and you’ll never know what you’ll find. From the local fudge shop next to the antique store to the art gallery across from the boutique clothing store, the gems in Occoquan are yours to find!

Outdoor waterfront dining at the Harbour Grille

Dinner tonight is on the water at The Harbour Grille or Madigan’s Waterfront. Both restaurants are located on the Occoquan River and feature a wonderful array of freshly prepared seafood and steaks, as well as other comfort food favorites. You’ll be able to see the boats float by, a fitting end to a day full of fun!

Day 3 - Saturday

Exterior entrance of the National Sporting Library and Museum

Start your morning at the National Sporting Library and Museum. Horsemanship, steeplechasing, foxhunting, polo, coaching, and more come to life with a docent-led tour through this unique museum.  A visit to the rare book room will showcase some of the items that make this museum such a hidden gem in Loudoun County.

Enjoy free time for lunch on your own in historic Middleburg. The Horse and Hunt capital of the country (think fox hunting) was named for being the halfway point between Alexandria and Winchester along this heavily used trading route. Boasting boutique shops and restaurants from fine dining to casual, Middleburg is the perfect spot to explore!

Water wheels at Aldie Mill

Hop aboard your coach for a driving Tour with local Loudoun County historian Rich Gillespie. Traveling along historic Route 50, learn about “Where Wine and War Intersect.” From the Civil War to DC’s Wine Country, Rich will take you to sites and tell stories that helped mold Loudoun County into what it has become today. Stop at Aldie Mill, a 213-year-old mill that closed in 1971. It was utilized continuously for 6 generations with former President James Monroe as one of its most famous clients for his nearby home Oak Hill.

You are in for a tasty treat at The Conche, Loudoun County’s boutique chocolate restaurant. Get hands-on and make your own chocolate BonBons, learn about chocolate and wine pairing, create a signature cocktail, or enjoy just dessert. With sweet infusions in even the savory, The Conche is sure to please the palate.

Get dressed to the nines or wear a comfy pair of jeans for Polo in the Park. Bring a chair or a picnic blanket and enjoy a night of Polo. Enjoy a boxed dinner while sipping and enjoying the fast-paced matches on a nice summer evening.

Day 4 - Sunday

Begin the day with a tour at George C. Marshall’s Dodona Manor, former home to statesman, diplomat, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Though Marshall is most well-known for the economic recovery plan following WWII, this historic home showcases 90% original pieces offering a glimpse into this great man’s life.

Group of 9 people at a table, tasting wine at Bluemont Vineyards, with the vines and countryside in the background

Head west to visit Bluemont Station Brewery & Winery located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rich in history, this 200-year-old manor house features picturesque views under a canopy of century-old trees, making it an ideal setting to finish your tour. Enjoy a wine and bites pairing or a flight with lunch!


Download Polo in the Park Itinerary PDF file

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