Waterford is a peaceful little village nestled in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. It was settled in 1733 by Quakers from Pennsylvania, and in 1970 the entire village and 1,420 acres of surrounding countryside were designated a National Historic Landmark.
Today, although only 45 miles from Washington, the village appears forgotten by time and by tourists. Once a year, however, on the first full weekend in October, this tranquil scene is interrupted by Civil War soldiers, strolling minstrels, string bands and 140 crafts people who come to participate in the annual Homes Tour and Craft Exhibit. The three-day event, Friday through Oct. 9, also attracts more than 30,000 visitors. It is the oldest juried crafts fair in the state.
Many of the crafts people who participate in the fair appear on Early American Life magazine's list of the "top 200 American crafts people." Thousands of handmade crafts are displayed in the barn and at the old mill, and you'll also find the largest collection of dried flowers on the East Coast. Revolutionary and Civil War military camps are other attractions, along with numerous entertainers -- cloggers, dancers in 18th- and 19th-century costumes, and a fife and drum corps.
Several homes will be open to the public. There will be a juried art exhibit, a photography exhibit, a corner store with homemade goods and a wide variety of food vendors.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12; free for children 12 and under. Take Route 7 west past Leesburg, turn right onto Route 9 for one-quarter mile, turn right on Route 662 (Clarks Gap Road) and drive three miles to the village. For information, call (703) 882-3085.
Celebrating the harvest
"Harvest Days" celebrations are popping up all over the region. One will be held at Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster, Pa., Saturday and Oct. 9. The program is geared to early Pennsylvania life from 1750 to 1900. Visitors can help with the whitewashing, make apple cider, visit a 1700s hunting camp, taste a heritage apple and enjoy a wagon ride.
More than 80 craft- and living-history presentations cover everything from bookbinding to wood carving. Interpreters will show how animal feed is ground and how scrapple and sausage are made. Entertainment will be provided by the Lancaster County Folk Music & Fiddler's Society.
Hours are 11 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults; $6 for seniors; $5 for ages 6 to 17; free for ages 5 and under. The museum is 2 1/2 miles northeast of Lancaster on state Route 272. Call (717) 569-0401.
The heaviest-pumpkin contest, scarecrow making, apple-butter boiling and tractor and horse-drawn wagon rides are some of the many activities for families to enjoy during "Fall Harvest Days" at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Saturday and Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Country and bluegrass musicians will provide entertainment, and the grounds will be crowded with craft and food vendors. There will also be corn-husking and thrashing demonstrations and activities for children. Admission is $4 for adults; $2 for seniors, ages 60 and over, and children, ages 12-18; free for children under 12. Call (410) 876-2667.
Crafts and colors
Catoctin Colorfest draws enormous crowds to the small mountain town of Thurmont each year. They come to see the fall colors, and they also come to see and buy the crafts. More than 350 crafts people from all over Maryland and neighboring states set up shop under the giant trees of the Community Park, the Firemen's Carnival Grounds and the Thurmont Middle School.
This year's event is set for Saturday and Oct. 9. Craft areas will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free. Parking is available at several locations. The fee is $2 per person with a $5 maximum per carload. The fee includes shuttle service to the festival. Call (301) 271-4432.
The ninth edition of the Kent County Historical Trust's Historic House Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
This year's driving tour will follow Route 213, a designated scenic highway that highlights the county's rural beauty. It is one of the larger tours, featuring 14 sites from Chestertown to Betterton.
Tour tickets cost $15 and will be available on tour day at the White Swan Tavern and the Compleat Bookseller in Chestertown. Call (410) 778-0924.
Properties in Princess Anne and in lower Somerset County will be open to the public Saturday and Oct. 9 during Old Princess Anne Days.