A Grand Home for the Enola Gay
When the Smithsonian Institution's magnificent National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., ran out of space to house its many historic air- and spacecraft, it built the awesome Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center ★★★, 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., in Chantilly (tel. 202/633-1000; www.nasm.si.edu/udvarhazycenter). This huge Quonset hut-like hangar is home to more than 200 planes and 135 spacecraft. Stars of the show are the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan in 1945; the space shuttle Enterprise, which NASA used for approach and landing tests in the late 1970s; an SR-71 spy plane; and one of Air France's Concorde jetliners. The model spacecraft that starred in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind is on display, too (it's over in a corner by the Enterprise). It's worth going around with a retired pilot on a docent tour (call tel. 202/633-2563 for the schedule).
The center is open daily from 10am to 5:30pm except Christmas (the observation tower closes at 4:30pm). Admission is free, but parking costs $15 per vehicle. The IMAX theater shows both aviation films and space films ($8.75 for adults, $7.75 seniors, $7.25 for kids 2 to 12). Simulator rides are $7 to $8 per person. Money-saving combination tickets are available. You'll need at least 2 hours here. There's a McDonald's.
The center is off Va. 28 between U.S. 50 and the Dulles Toll Road (Va. 267), near Sully Historic Site on the southeastern edge of Washington Dulles International Airport. Virginia Regional Transit (tel. 540/338-1610; www.vatransit.org) provides shuttle bus service from Washington Dulles International Airport.
Grist for the Aldie Mill
Most of the quaint hamlet of Aldie, 5 miles east of Middleburg on John Mosby Highway (U.S. 50), is a quintessential Hunt Country hamlet. Its centerpiece is Aldie Mill Historic Park (tel. 703/327-9777; www.aldiemill.org), built in 1807-09 and the only gristmill in Virginia powered by twin water wheels. It has been restored to grind organic grains. The mill is open for milling demonstrations Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm. Admission is free. Aldie's antiques stores and other shops merit browsing, and a visit during the annual Aldie Mill Arts Show and Sale on weekends in June, or the Aldie Harvest Festival on the third weekend in October, will be most rewarding.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.