Mike Salmon 703-383-2850

June 2, 2009

Scenic road has history, natural beauty

Cider Mill RoadHILLSBORO
—Surrounded by pastures, honeysuckle and a stone wall that was once a cider mill, picturesque Cider Mill Road (Route 751) in Loudoun County has been designated a Virginia Byway by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB).

For a road to qualify as a Virginia Byway, it must be connected to scenes of natural beauty and places of historical and social significance that offer motorists a side of the commonwealth that is uncommon and revealing.

On Cider Mill Rd., this mill may have been part of a 1864 Civil War "burning raid" by Union troops.
Cider Mill Road was nominated for this distinction by Pete Geis, a resident along Cider Mill Road with an interest in preserving “what’s left of the country in Loudoun County,” he said.

Geis investigated the history of the road and found that in 1864, Union troops under General Sheridan were roaming the countryside trying to root out the Mosby Raiders, a confederate group of guerilla soldiers that reeked havoc across the Northern Virginia countryside. At one point, they were ordered to take livestock and burn all the barns and mills that Mosby’s Raiders could use for shelter. The Cider Mill was thought to be one such structure.

Gees met with the Loudoun Preservation Society and the Mosby Heritage Area Association, which brought its findings to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Earlier this spring, the DCR recommended to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) that Cider Mill Road from Charles Town Pike (Route 9) to the intersection with Stony Point and Woodgrove Roads, be designated as a Virginia Byway. On May 21, the CTB approved the designation.

While the Virginia Byway designation doesn’t limit the development or improvement of the road, one of the criteria is that the route bypasses major roads or provides opportunities to leave high-speed routes for scenic travel. Another criterion is that the local government has initiated zoning or other land-use controls, to reasonably protect the aesthetic and cultural value of the highway.

Currently, there are nearly 3,000 miles of roads designated as Virginia Byways, yet several hundred more miles of commonwealth roadways could qualify. To help attract visitors and support economic development through tourism, VDOT, DCR and the CTB encourage local governments to nominate roads for Virginia Byway designation.

By following the highlighted byways on the scenic roads map and on the scenic roads Web site, visitors are directed to places where they can tour wineries, explore Civil War battle sites and historical attractions, view beautiful scenery and enjoy recreational resources.

For Virginia’s Scenic Roads map or for more information on the scenic byway program, visit and search keyword “Virginia Byway.”

Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012