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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "George Washington Memorial Parkway"

3 scenic day drives to take around Northern Virginia

Westlake Legal Group photo-by-Darwin-Vegher 3 scenic day drives to take around Northern Virginia wine country wine and beer wildlife travel Things to Do Skyline Drive Shenandoah Valley shenandoah national park parks & rec parks national park Mountains monument Leesburg Loop History George Washington Memorial Parkway
Photo by Darwin Vegher

As a kid, taking a Sunday drive meant sitting in the back seat, listening to your parents talk as they drove by houses they dreamed of owning, or touring through neighborhoods they wanted to explore. Sometimes, it meant going to see the neighbor’s Christmas lights too, or just driving through the countryside.

In the era of a pandemic, when so many are claiming a return to the “simple things,” there’s an argument to be made for the Sunday drive, or an any-day-of-the-week drive for that matter. Skip the increasing traffic on the highway and take the back roads. Load up the kids or go out on a solo adventure. 

However you do it, here are three scenic day drives to take around Northern Virginia for when you just need to get out of the house. 

Westlake Legal Group george-washington-memorial-parkway-by-spiritofamerica 3 scenic day drives to take around Northern Virginia wine country wine and beer wildlife travel Things to Do Skyline Drive Shenandoah Valley shenandoah national park parks & rec parks national park Mountains monument Leesburg Loop History George Washington Memorial Parkway
© spiritofamerica / stock.adobe.com

George Washington Memorial Parkway to Mount Vernon

Estimated 25 miles; 30 minutes or more

It’s a trip you might have taken dozens of times, but it’s just short enough to give you a change of scenery and remind you of the beauty that surrounds us in Northern Virginia. 
The historic motorway opened on Jan. 16, 1932, along the length of the Potomac River, showcasing views of the nation’s capital and even making its way through Old Town Alexandria and straight to the first president’s estate at Mount Vernon. The road is perfect for taking the time to put the windows down and look beyond the edges of Northern Virginia, catching DC landmarks from afar, including Georgetown’s skyline and the Washington Monument. 

Here are a few stops along this short route to make the drive extra special: 

Gravelly Point is the perfect picnic location, with spacious greenery allowing for a large blanket for lounging or even a family pickup game of soccer. Plus, not only can you see the DC landmarks from where you relax, you can also catch the frequent planes arriving to and departing from Reagan National Airport at all hours of the day. 

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is a great place to find serenity and calmness, surrounded by the beauty of nature and potential wildlife-viewing opportunities. Take the Dyke Marsh Trail out to the peninsula for sweeping views of both the Virginia and Maryland shorelines. 

Riverside Park is located just before you arrive at Mount Vernon and is tucked alongside the Potomac River. It offers beautiful waterscape views at any time of day, but the sunsets bring vibrant pink, yellow, orange and blue hues to the landscape while reflecting in the river for a picturesque summer memory. 

Make this day trip your own by packing a lunch for the family, loading up the bikes or scooters to take along the paved trail, or just pinpoint where you would like to make a relaxing pit stop to enjoy the views. The drive is just short enough to pack up and head back home whenever you’re ready. 

Westlake Legal Group Snickersville-Turnpike-photo-by-NickMDN- 3 scenic day drives to take around Northern Virginia wine country wine and beer wildlife travel Things to Do Skyline Drive Shenandoah Valley shenandoah national park parks & rec parks national park Mountains monument Leesburg Loop History George Washington Memorial Parkway
© NickMDN / stock.adobe.com

Leesburg Loop

Estimated 60 miles; 1.5-hour driving route

It’s no secret that Virginia is rich with history, but it can all seem a bit overshadowed by the hustle and bustle of the Northern Virginia region. To get a glimpse of history just outside of the thruway to Washington, DC, head to the nation’s first-ever turnpike: Snickersville Turnpike, SR-734. 

It’s a two-lane road that winds through the countryside of Northern Virginia, often calm in comparison to the rest of the region, and offers landscape views of farms and fields alike. 

You can start in Leesburg and head north or south, depending on which way you want to take your journey, but make sure you complete the “loop” by driving through Waterford, Lovettsville, Purcellville, Bluemont and Aldie (and back to your starting point). 

Along the way, you’ll pass early-era stone and log construction, Victorian-style farmhouses and post-Depression cottages, according to Fun in Faixfax VA, and get a glimpse at both architectural and national history. Plus, a chance to take a hike and pick up some of the region’s coveted wine and beer. 

History and Hiking 

Just outside of Aldie along the route stands Furr Farm, a site of one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, where the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry lost over 100 men and created a commemorative monument honoring the lives lost. The soldiers’ names are carved into the monument, and viewers can stand to see the same fields toward the Bull Run Mountains that the men saw in 1863. The monument is the only one dedicated to Union forces that exists in Loudoun County. 

For architectural history along the route, cross over the double-arched Hibbs Bridge for a look at the impressive structure of the early-1800s, preserved by the community over the past two centuries. It’s a different kind of history, but history nonetheless! 

And if you’re wanting to see even more of the past than just from your car windows, plan a stop at the Old Mill of Waterford on Catoctin Creek and take the estimated 1.5-mile hike to Phillips Farm, a preserved area of over 150 miles of farmland. Check out historic markers of the Civil War and other trails that remain from the original settlement of the Quakers in the 1700s.  

If you need to stretch your legs and get your steps in for the day (without all of the history lessons), take the 2-mile hike up to Bears Den Overlook just outside of Bluemont, to see a breathtaking view of the Shenandoah Valley. Pack your own lunch and you can picnic at the top to enjoy your meal outside of the car, then carefully head back down to wind through the rest of the trip, full and satisfied. 

Westlake Legal Group sunset-at-bluemont-vineyard 3 scenic day drives to take around Northern Virginia wine country wine and beer wildlife travel Things to Do Skyline Drive Shenandoah Valley shenandoah national park parks & rec parks national park Mountains monument Leesburg Loop History George Washington Memorial Parkway
Bluemont Vineyard (Photo courtesy of Bluemont Vineyard)

Souvenirs

Along the route there are several small town general stores, great for finding Virginia-made products, collectable trinkets and even small snacks. Plan to make a stop at Great Country Farms, where you can grab fresh produce and locally made sweets, ranging from bottles of honey and jars of jam, to fresh-baked pies and more. Depending on the season, fields to pick produce yourself may be open, making for a strawberry-picking or a pumpkin patch experience you can enjoy. 

In and around Bluemont, you’ll find a portion of the region’s wine country, and if you need a souvenir from your day trip, this is the area to stop. You can drive by to pick up some libations to-go from Bluemont Vineyards—stopping to take a good look at the winery’s spacious view—as well as nearby Dirt Farm Brewing and Bear Chase Brewing. There are other breweries, wineries and restaurants along the route, so be sure to do a little research beforehand and see where you might want to grab a few of your favorite things. 

Of course, there’s so much more to see once you make your own trip down the Snickersville Turnpike, but be sure to enjoy the memories along the way, and get your breath of fresh air just when you need it most. 

Westlake Legal Group shenandoah-national-park-by-spiritofamerica- 3 scenic day drives to take around Northern Virginia wine country wine and beer wildlife travel Things to Do Skyline Drive Shenandoah Valley shenandoah national park parks & rec parks national park Mountains monument Leesburg Loop History George Washington Memorial Parkway
© spiritofamerica / stock.adobe.com

Skyline Drive

105.5 miles (in its entirety); minimum three-hour time commitment from NoVA

It should come as no surprise that the historic Skyline Drive, with its breathtaking views and winding scenery through the Shenandoah Valley, is a day drive worth taking just outside of Northern Virginia. 

Sure, you could save this trip for the fall when the foliage brings out a bounty of yellow, orange and red hues across the mountains, but the summer visits can be filled with joy in other ways: luscious greenery, waterfalls, wildlife viewing and more. 

Take a drive starting at mile zero, taking US 340 south of Front Royal in Warren County, and on to the two-lane road that winds through Shenandoah National park, and you’ll find trail heads, overlooks and so much more beyond your car’s view. To maintain safety and make the most of a road trip, pack snacks for the ride and a picnic for when you arrive at a socially distant, mountain-viewing location. 

If you must stretch your legs, here are our recommendations on making the most of your drive. 

Hiking

The Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails to explore, and over 200,000 acres of explorable land. Hikes range from easy to difficult, with many just off the route with parking areas to accommodate hikers. 

Here, find a list of some of the frequented hikes along Skyline Drive and their accompanying mile markers. And if you’re looking for bragging rights, many of the trails that lead to impressive views and through moderate elevation changes are along the Appalachian Trail, making you one of the thousands of hikers who has traveled along the path—including this Northern Virginia resident who quit her job to hike the trail for 10 weeks. 

There are too many to name, but a few trails for waterfalls include Overall Run Falls, Rose River Trail and Dark Hollows Fall Trail. There are pet-friendly trails too, and even just overlooks for those wanting to get the view without all of the vertical inclines. 

Westlake Legal Group deer-in-wildflowers-by-Ken-Goulding 3 scenic day drives to take around Northern Virginia wine country wine and beer wildlife travel Things to Do Skyline Drive Shenandoah Valley shenandoah national park parks & rec parks national park Mountains monument Leesburg Loop History George Washington Memorial Parkway
Photo by Ken Goulding

Wildlife Viewing

You don’t have to catch a glimpse of an American black bear (from afar!) to enjoy the wildlife of Shenandoah National Park. Depending on when you plan your drive, you’ll be able to view wildflowers even just from the seat of your car, or near your steps on a winding trail. 

According to the National Park Service, “Wildflowers comprise 862 species, or greater than half of the 1,406 vascular plant species found in Shenandoah National Park,” meaning you’re likely to catch at least a handful of the colorful, unique wildflowers that continue to grow each year in and around the park. 

If you do happen to get lucky and see some of the animal wildlife in Shenandoah, from the road or a hike, be sure to maintain a safe distance and observe, don’t disturb. Keep your eyes open for white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, red foxes and a wide array of birds. 

Don’t forget to take some snapshots too! Shenandoah is a great place to practice nature photography and get some family photos to look back on later. 

For more things to do in Northern Virginia, subscribe to our weekly Things to Do newsletters. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Park Service set to unveil concepts for future of Claude Moore Farm

The National Park Service is set to unveil three options for what’s next at the site of a former living history farm depicting the Colonial era, on 69 acres of parkland in McLean, Virginia, inside the Capital Beltway.

Possibilities include tying the area in with the series of parks, trails, and wildlife preserves that are considered part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which is managed by NPS.

After a month of public input that began in April, the park service has distilled suggestions into three concepts that will be unveiled Thursday, beginning another month of hearing from the public.

The Park Service had previously said the land, nestled between the Potomac River and CIA headquarters, would not be used for commercial development.

“For those who think that the George Washington Memorial Parkway is just a way to get to and from work, it’s actually a scenic roadway, obviously honoring the nation’s first president,” said park ranger Aaron LaRocca, the chief of staff for the parkway.

One suggestion offered often by the public is to have trail connections through the Claude Moore Farm to the rest of the George Washington Memorial Parkway parks and trails.

“Then you could gain access to the Potomac Heritage Trail, which can lead you all the way down to Theodore Roosevelt Island, where that trail becomes paved, and it’s known as the Mount Vernon Trail,” said LaRocca.

Other concepts would include turning several acres of the park into a farming area or using it for community gardens. LaRocca said public input would gauge how those projects might operate.

A third concept would be to focus on the Turkey Run Park natural settings, with hiking, camping and an event area.

After a month of public input, ending Oct. 26, LaRocca said the park service would share information about its choices for implementation.

The Park Service’s agreement with Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm, a nonprofit that managed the facilities operations expired in Dec. 2018, after a 30 year cooperative agreement.

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Study will take a long, hard look at threat of flooding in Northern Virginia

Some Northern Virginia communities along the Potomac River, including Old Town, Bell Haven and the Fort Hunt area, are no strangers to the threat of flooding.

These communities are part of a $3.5 million study on the risk of coastal storms and what can be done to protect public and private property.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments have launched a 2 1/2 year study of flooding threats to site from Arlington to northern Prince William County.

“There’s always been a threat for flooding in this area, but there’s never been a real comprehensive look at the whole area … and we’re taking a larger view than we’ve ever looked at it before; so we can look at a whole system of ways that we can reduce the threat,” said Steve Walz, Environmental Programs Director at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Roadways including the George Washington Parkway and other critical infrastructure, such as Reagan National Airport, Metrorail and CSX freight tracks, could be imperiled by flooding produced by major coastal storms.

Westlake Legal Group coastal_flood_2-e1568259271521 Study will take a long, hard look at threat of flooding in Northern Virginia virginia news Local News Latest News George Washington Memorial Parkway Flooding Fairfax County, VA News dick uliano coastal floods Alexandria, VA News
The Washington Marina south of Reagan National Airport is one of the areas that is part of the study. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

The study hopes to identify vulnerable places and offer potential solutions.

“Measures that might address the flood problem could be structural things like levees or flood walls … things like raising buildings, elevation, or even moving people off the flood plain,” said Jacqui Seiple, study manager for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Following Hurricane Sandy in 2015, Congress asked the Army Corps of Engineers to assess the risk along the Atlantic coast. The D.C. area was identified as a high-risk area.

“We’re facing the risk to public safety and health, and so we want to plan for that and make sure that when these storms come through that the people, our infrastructure, whether it be Metro, the George Washington Parkway, the rail lines are all protected,” Walz said.

Westlake Legal Group coastal_flood_3 Study will take a long, hard look at threat of flooding in Northern Virginia virginia news Local News Latest News George Washington Memorial Parkway Flooding Fairfax County, VA News dick uliano coastal floods Alexandria, VA News
The study will ask people where they have seen flooding in the area. (NOVA Coastal Study)

 

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GW Parkway sinkhole repair will impact Monday commute

Sinkhole repairs continue on northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway on Monday, and the lanes will remain closed until at least Monday afternoon.

The closure is between Va. 123/Chain Bridge Road and the Capital Beltway.

Traffic is being diverted at Va. 123/Chain Bridge Road.

The northbound lanes have been closed since road crews observed a sinkhole forming, but the National Park Service said that it is hoping to at least have one northbound lane open in time for Monday evening’s commute.

“The traffic pattern will probably be a little different Monday morning (and) Monday afternoon until the situation stabilizes. In times like this, when you have long-term closures, it usually takes a day or two for drivers to adjust,” WTOP traffic reporter Dave Dildine said.


For the latest road and traffic conditions, visit WTOP’s Traffic page

With regular GW Parkway users having to find other ways to get where they need to go, alternate routes will experience heavier volume.

“During the morning rush hours, you can’t go outbound on Canal Road and Clara Barton (Parkway) and so George Washington Parkway is the way that some northbound drivers go. But in this case, they won’t be able to go any farther than 123. So those drivers are going to have to find another way as well,” Dildine said.

Drivers can expect denser traffic on westbound Interstate 66, with drivers bailing out on Spout Run, he said.

“It’s (also) likely that traffic will be somewhat slower on (Virginia state route) 123 toward Chain Bridge and through McLean. Apart from that, it’s hard to say exactly what the impacts will be. There could be other incidents that factor in,” he said.

If the park service does open one lane in time for the afternoon rush, Dildine said drivers should still expect a sluggish drive.

“You know the northbound lanes are going to be blocked to some extent, you know that traffic is likely to be heavier as it diverts, but at least you have the opportunity to think of another plan, go another way.”

The most significant impact is likely during the afternoon rush hour, whether NPS opens a northbound lane or not, because there’s more traffic headed that way during the afternoon rush, Dildine said.

Sunday’s downpour lengthened efforts to fix the 10-foot deep, 30-foot long and 20-foot wide sinkhole. Rain is expected to end Monday night, which could further complicate repair efforts and drivers’ commutes.

This is the second time in two months that a sinkhole has appeared on the GW Parkway. In March, a sinkhole appeared in the same are near Dead Run after heavy rain pelted the area.

The National Park Service said that sinkholes along roadways are a common occurrence in the Greater Washington area, especially during periods of extended rainfall.


For the latest weather forecast, visit WTOP’s Weather page

Below is a map of the closure:

function initMapArticle() { var lnglat = {lat: 38.963721, lng: -77.158349}; var map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById(‘map_article’), { zoom: 13, center: lnglat }); var trafficLayer = new google.maps.TrafficLayer(); trafficLayer.setMap(map); var marker = new google.maps.Marker({ position: lnglat, map: map, title: ‘GW Parkway’ }); }

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GW Parkway sinkhole repair could impact Monday commute

Drivers on the George Washington Memorial Parkway will need to adjust their expectations during their Monday morning and afternoon commutes, with a partial reopening of northbound lanes unlikely until Monday evening.

The northbound lanes have been closed since road crews observed a sinkhole forming, but the National Park Service said that it is hoping to at least have one northbound lane open in time for Monday evening’s commute.

“The traffic pattern will probably be a little different Monday morning (and) Monday afternoon until the situation stabilizes. In times like this, when you have long-term closures, it usually takes a day or two for drivers to adjust,” WTOP traffic reporter Dave Dildine said.


For the latest road and traffic conditions, visit WTOP’s Traffic page

With regular GW Parkway users having to find other ways to get where they need to go, alternate routes will experience heavier volume.

“During the morning rush hours, you can’t go outbound on Canal Road and Clara Barton (Parkway) and so George Washington Parkway is the way that some northbound drivers go. But in this case, they won’t be able to go any farther than 123. So those drivers are going to have to find another way as well,” Dildine said.

Drivers can expect denser traffic on westbound Interstate 66, with drivers bailing out on Spout Run, he said.

“It’s (also) likely that traffic will be somewhat slower on (Virginia state route) 123 toward Chain Bridge and through McLean. Apart from that, it’s hard to say exactly what the impacts will be. There could be other incidents that factor in,” he said.

If the park service does open one lane in time for the afternoon rush, Dildine said drivers should still expect a sluggish drive.

“You know the northbound lanes are going to be blocked to some extent, you know that traffic is likely to be heavier as it diverts, but at least you have the opportunity to think of another plan, go another way.”

The most significant impact is likely during the afternoon rush hour, whether NPS opens a northbound lane or not, because there’s more traffic headed that way during the afternoon rush, Dildine said.

Sunday’s downpour lengthened efforts to fix the 10-foot deep, 30-foot long and 20-foot wide sinkhole. Rain is expected to end Monday night, which could further complicate repair efforts and drivers’ commutes.

This is the second time in two months that a sinkhole has appeared on the GW Parkway. In March, a sinkhole appeared in the same are near Dead Run after heavy rain pelted the area.

The National Park Service said that sinkholes along roadways are a common occurrence in the Greater Washington area, especially during periods of extended rainfall.


For the latest weather forecast, visit WTOP’s Weather page

 

Source

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Northbound George Washington Parkway closed due to sinkhole

The northbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway, between Virginia state Route 123 and the entrance to the Capital Beltway, near exit 43, have been closed since about 6:45 p.m. on Friday due to a sinkhole, according to a National Park Service statement said.

The closure affects about five miles of roadway. The lanes will remain closed as engineers and road crews work to repair the damage. The closure does not affect the parkway’s southbound lanes.

The NPS said in its statement that no accidents have been reported and “closing the George Washington Parkway is never a decision that is made lightly.

A sinkhole developed in the same area, near Dead Run, in March. That sinkhole opened up underneath the road following heavy rain.

The March sinkhole was about 10 feet deep, 12 feet wide and 30 feet long — or roughly the size of a city bus, according to preliminary findings by the NPS.

For more information, drivers can check the National Park Service website.

 

Source

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