One of the things I have missed most about living in Europe is the hiking! There were trails to alpine lakes surrounded by beautiful mountains in Germany. The reward after a long hike was an adorable beer hut. Those hikes provide me with many fond memories!
Although not exactly replicable in Northern Virginia, I did hike and go to a nearby brewery this past weekend in the Shenandoah. It is easy to get caught up in the demands of life and not take time out to enjoy the area in which we live!
Only an hour and fifteen minute drive from DC is a lovely day hike, even in the heat of the summer, the Buzzard Rock Trail!
The trail is only about 2 miles (4 miles roundtrip) and there is a parking lot at the trailhead. It is not too strenuous and with even taking a few breaks to enjoy the view, the whole trip was only 1 hour and 40 minutes for us. We were in need of a reward after the hike, so we headed to the Backroom Brewery in Middletown, VA, only a short 10 - 15 drive away from the trail. It is located on an herb farm and they incorporate many fresh herbs into their beers, including my favorite the Rosemary Orange Amber! With more than 15 different beers to chose from, there is something for everyone, including root beer for the kids.
It is a dog-friendly place as long as your furry friend is on a leash and kept outside the establishment. Fortunately, they have some lovely shady spots with picnic tables around the property. A beer flight (four generous tastings) is only $10. They also have a small restaurant in the back serving up light fare including bratwurst.
So take a drive to the country and enjoy!