Discovering DC: Centreville/Clifton

3.5.13

This week's Discovering DC heads to Centreville/Clifton with Jenn from Happily Ever After the Wedding! 

What's your history with Centreville/Clifton and DC?
I moved to the DC area almost 10 years ago from outside of Pittsburgh, PA. I’ve lived in Centreville for almost all of those 10 years, first with my college roommate in an apartment and now with my husband and three pups in our townhome.

I've grown to really like this area. It’s not too crazy and crowded (yet). We mostly head out West 66 on the weekends or over to Leesburg. But if you want to get downtown, it’s not a bad drive. Admittedly, we don’t go into the city all that often. But we do spend quite a bit of time in Clifton, which is a hop, skip and a jump away from Centreville. Entering the town of Clifton, you would never know Washington, DC was 20 miles away. It still exudes small-town charm and feels like stepping back into time with each visit. The train still rolls through the middle of town. You can pick up penny candy at the local General Store. And if you are a history buff, you can walk around the historic section of the town and always find someone willing to share a tale or two about the town’s history.

Discovering Centreville/Clifton- what are your favorite places to shop/eat/go with friends/people watch?
I wouldn’t consider Centreville or Clifton shopping “hot spots”. The ClocktowerThrift Shop in Centreville is worth a stop in every now and again. They have both thrifted/donated clothing and house goods. I was able to pick up a few vintage items here that I used in my wedding. What I love about the shop is that the money made goes to support the Northern VA Family Service, a non-profit community/service organization that sponsors various programs around the area.  I love shopping for a good cause! Also, don’t miss a stop at Trader Joe’s if you head this way. I love running into TJ’s once a week to pick up flowers to decorate the house (super cheap and they last forever), fresh produce and gluten free items.

For good Centreville eats (and an even better margarita), you have to stop at Alto Plaza. If you’ve ever driven on 29 through Centreville, you’ve seen it, this odd three-story building that doesn’t seem to fit in with the DC burbs at all. While seemingly out of place, it's worth a visit for lunch or dinner. You can't go wrong with their delicious table-side guacamole. I love sitting outside on the 2nd floor in the summer and having dinner as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Beautiful! Alto Plaza also has a delicious brunch on Sunday.  My other favorite place to eat in Centreville is Honey Pig. Amazing Korean BBQ, and you can sometimes find a Groupon – keep watch!
For Clifton eats, definitely brunch at Trummers on Main. They have a fantastic menu and the specialty brunch cocktails are delicious! Trummers also has an extensive wine list, complete with its own wine tasting room with views of the wine cellar directly next to it. Very romantic! For something a bit more low key, the Main Street Pub offers up some of the best bar food around -  award winning burgers, fried pickle spears and tasty draft beers. It's a small spot with some outside dining available so get there early!

For great people watching and friend get togethers, not to mention great wine, check out The Winery at Bull Run in Centreville and Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton. Make a fun, wine-tasting day out of it! These are two of the closest wineries to the Washington, DC area. In addition to being known for their great wines, the vineyards are also full of Civil War history and have beautiful grounds for relaxing with friends and  enjoying a glass.


Perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Centreville/Clifton?
I would spend my Saturday afternoon wine tasting! Stop at The Winery at Bull Run first, and pack yourself a picnic lunch. You can purchase small plates and snacks at the winery, but I happen to love a good picnic on a lazy, Saturday afternoon! Do a wine tasting, grab a bottle and enjoy lunch out on the beautiful grounds!  For your second stop, head into Clifton to Paradise Springs Winery. Wine taste, relax with a bottle and tour the ever expanding facility and vineyard. They have great music every Saturday afternoon from 2:00-6:00. Obviously, you might want to have a designated driver in tow!  And if you spend too long at Bull Run, Paradise Springs starts their version of  “Screen on the Green in Paradise” every Saturday evening in May at 8:00 PM!

Jenn Specketer

For more posts in the Discovering DC archive click here. You can follow Jenn on Twitter too! 
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