‘Tis the season for uniform Buffalo check pajamas, holiday music streaming through Alexa, and all of the peppermint mochas one can handle. This also means that family photo time is here, not to mention scoring the perfect holiday cards. Holiday cards can be a financial endeavor that can seem more daunting than merry. Below are a few local spots where you can snap your own holiday photo for free!
The Old Lucketts Store (Lucketts, VA)
Located about an hour from DC, The Old Lucketts Store is an antique and salvage Mecca. During all seasons, the store is visited by many in search of the perfect unique piece for their homes. While The Old Lucketts Store is always a must-see, it also provides a great spot for holiday photos. Every holiday season, a local artist paints large-scale murals that provide ideal photo card backdrops. The store also does a fantastic job of adorning nooks and crannies with holiday spirit which also allows for unique photos.
Vanish Brewery (Lucketts, VA)
Just down the road from The Old Lucketts Store is the ever-popular Vanish Brewery. While it may not seem like an obvious choice for a holiday family photo, it truly works if you are the laid back multitasking type. While enjoying all of the fare and libations Vanish has to offer, the sprawling grounds are perfect for little ones to exert their energy running around or playing on the playground. Additionally, there are perfect views of the Blue Ridge Mountains that provide the ideal backdrop for you and your family.
The Farm at Frying Pan Farm Park (Herndon, VA)
Frying Pan Farm is a local gem treasured by many of all ages. This county-run farm is the perfect place to visit year-round. The grounds include two playgrounds, many animals to visit, and lots of grounds to explore. Some great spots for photo ops are the old farmhouse, which is already decked out in white and green paint, the large holiday wreaths on the barn doors, or just strolling down the path that connects the farm grounds to the visitor center and museum. One of the best times to go to the farm is during the late afternoon (just before the park closes at 5 PM). Not only are there few people there this time of year but also the light is gorgeous.
Red Rocks Wilderness Overlook (Leesburg, VA)
For a rustic backdrop, Red Rocks is worth the drive. Red Rocks is a county park and free to visit. The park consists of a variety of hiking trails that lead to riverbank beaches. However, in the parking lot are three rustic stone structures. The one at the beginning of the hiking trail is in pristine condition; and the two across the parking lot are partially intact, but their open windows and doorways provide a simple and vintage background.
Clifton Historic District (Clifton, VA)
Clifton is located about 30 minutes southwest of Washington DC. While this historic town is small, the charm it exudes is grand. Walk the streets of the town posing by white picket fences or historic homes. A few blocks from the train tracks is a quaint church and behind it, a large park with a Normal Rockwell-like gazebo. The entire town is picturesque, so you cannot go wrong no matter where you snap your shot.
While the above locations are tried and true spots for holiday family photos, there are countless others in the area. County parks, garden grounds, hikes, are just as picturesque. Try not to overthink the location or stress about making it Pinterest perfect. Instead, pick a spot that feels the most relaxing and natural for you and your family. Embrace the moment. If 2020 has taught us anything it is to be flexible and enjoy the little things with the ones we love, and what better way to show that than in a holiday photo!
About Guest Author Brittany Marchant
Brittany is a local mom from the Northern Virginia area who enjoys spending her free time exploring areas in and around the DMV with her family. When not out and about, she enjoys spending her time cooking, writing for her blog Three Birds Nest, reading, and decorating her home. During the week, she works as a full-time educator with a focus on language acquisition in a local public school district. While life can be hectic, she tries to always appreciate the little things and live life in the moment.