Beth Lewis explores the preserved mill near Catoctin Creek in historic Waterford, Loudoun County.

Beth Lewis explores the preserved mill near Catoctin Creek in historic Waterford, Loudoun County.

1. Go for a ride. Sunday afternoons and summer evenings with your family, get to know what’s beyond your immediate area. Yes, explore! What scenic and historic treasures grace the back roads and scenic byways of Loudoun, Fauquier, western Prince William, Clarke, and Warren counties? In order to care about this region, you have to know what there is to care about—and what’s happening to it. Check out our Driving Tours and Scavenger Hunts. We give T-shirts to those who complete a scavenger hunt!

2. Find out what happened close to your home. Start here with It Happened Near Me. Or visit the local museum in your county seat, talk with your local librarian, ask neighbors or friends at church or work, or just look around for historical markers.

3. Join a local historical organization or one devoted to preserving the natural, historic, or architectural features of your county. This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved, meet new friends, involve your children in their heritage, and make a worthwhile contribution to your community.

4. Educate yourself on the economic and cultural advantages of historic preservation in our region. The Mosby Heritage Area Association has produced the booklet Profiting from Preservation examining the economic merits of preservation in our region. Historic preservation is more than just aesthetics. It is about our ability to economically sustain ourselves with a quality of life worth living.

5. Come to Mosby Heritage Area Association programs! Programs such as "Cavaliers, Courage, & Coffee" or our Winter Lecture Series help you learn the stories of our region. When our historical landscapes become storied, people want to save them.

6. Monitor the local media for efforts to save or threats to destroy the treasured features of your county and community. It is crucial that citizens stay abreast of such opportunities and threats; a mobilized citizenry saves the “sense of place” of a community. Speak up when a threat comes!

7. Check out some of the area's “watchdog group” websites:

Clarke County Court House

Clarke County Court House

8. Speak up and be heard by your local officials, particularly your members of the county board of supervisors. Don’t be afraid to call, write, or email your supervisor or member of the town council. The five county websites for their board of supervisors are listed below. When key issues come before your board, attend the meeting, and consider speaking. An email a few days before the meeting will get you on the agenda. Contact your board of supervisors here:

The former blacksmith's house at Mt. Defiance near Middleburg, above, is an example of places that need to be purchased, restored, and preserved.  This home was a well-known Mosby rendezvous point.

The former blacksmith's house at Mt. Defiance near Middleburg, above, is an example of places that need to be purchased, restored, and preserved.  This home was a well-known Mosby rendezvous point.

9. Consider buying an existing house when moving here. Old Virginia houses are part of our built heritage and need someone to love and save them. Slightly smaller old Virginia houses have charm and are often less expensive than new ones.

10. If you have a larger Virginia property in the heritage area, consider putting a conservation easement on your property that will save it from further development, thus saving the viewshed and its traditional nature for future generations. The Commonwealth of Virginia offers significant tax incentives to do a conservation easement. Two organizations that can be helpful in this realm are the Land Trust of Virginia and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. Both sponsor easements.

11. CARE! Take responsibility! When you live in an area as special as the Mosby Heritage Area, you are a steward of a key piece of our nation’s heritage. It becomes your responsibility to act, to vote, and to be vigilant such that your children and the nation’s children inherit the historic and natural resources left to you.