By Visit Loudoun

When potter Amy Manson moved to Loudoun 12 years ago, she started visiting wineries, breweries and farms and cooking with local produce. She also noticed a change in her work. “I went from making decorative pottery to more functional pieces—plates, bowls, cups and mugs in earthy brown, orange and gold tones.”

If those sound like fall colors that would look great on a Thanksgiving dinner table, you’re right. “It’s funny, 70% of my sales take place in fall and winter,” Manson said. “There’s something about the warmth and tradition of pottery that really suits this season.”

We’re blessed in Loudoun to be surrounded by superb wineries, breweries, fresh farm produce and a subculture of creative artisans designing everything from ceramic dishes to floral centerpieces. There’s no better time to take advantage of this produce and talent than when planning Thanksgiving dinner.  

Start with the fundamentals: table décor. Pre-order a gorgeous Thanksgiving flower arrangement of roses, berries, mums, foraged materials and other blooms from Holly Chapple’s wonderful Hope Flower Farm in Waterford. She also offers garlands and wreaths for mantles and doors. 

Then comes that dinnerware. Manson sells her work at the Clay & Metal Loft, Leesburg: gorgeous earth-toned, fire-glazed dishes, bowls, cups and mugs that enhance the aesthetic—and taste—of any table.

Let’s talk turkey. The unquestionable star of Thanksgiving is the big bird and multiple farms in Loudoun raise and sell them. Where to try? Day Spring Farm in Middleburg does pasture-raised, organically fed birds while North Fork Fields in Hillsboro raises delicious heritage-breed White Holland turkeys. 

While shopping for dinner, be sure to pick up fresh sides, too. Farmer John’s Market on Rt. 15 north of Leesburg is the go-to market of many local chefs, perfect for potatoes, green beans, cranberries and mushrooms for your stuffing.  While out, pick up some goat cheese for that charcuterie plate from Georges Mill Farm, and apple, peach or pecan pies from Paige’s Pit Stop or Mom’s Apple Pie. 

And finally: wine and beer. Impress your guests by featuring an award-winning wine from the Loudoun Wine Awards, which took place at Lansdowne Resort last month. Maggie Malick Wine Caves took home no less than eight golds (we love the 2019 Fortissimo), while October One Vineyard won the Chairman’s Grand Award for its 2020 Viognier. For beer lovers, Leesburg’sBlack Hoof Brewing Company specializes in authentic European ales and lagers that pair perfectly with turkey. 

And finally, the cherry on top: music. Tune in to the Songs of Loudoun Playlist on Spotify—songs by 25 Loudoun artists curated by local music impresario Todd Wright.

Ready? 

Let’s raise an Amy Manson Pottery wine cup and give thanks.