Visiting Fort Belvoir or Mount Vernon? There’s more to see. Woodlawn historic district, near the junction of Mount Vernon Highway and Route 1, includes an historic house on a hill. From the porch on the east side of the house, when the deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, the tallest trees on the horizon are on the grounds of Mount Vernon. Winter is lovely, but anytime is perfect time for a visit!
Such is not a coincidence: George Washington gave the land, once part of his Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, to his nephew and Martha Washington’s granddaughter as a wedding present. The National Trust for Historic Preservation provides tours of the historic house, as well as the Pope-Leighey house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
To the south of the plantation house, the Woodlawn Quaker Meetinghouse serves as a reminder of a successful mid-nineteenth century experiment in agriculture without the use of enslaved laborers.
Situated on Dogue Creek, George Washington’s Distillery and Grist Mill is the closest site to Mount Vernon in the district and open for tours seasonally. And while it’s possible for experienced walkers and bicyclists to travel from Mount Vernon to the Distillery and Grist Mill and to cross Route 1 to reach Woodlawn, one needs to exercise caution, especially at the narrow, two-lane highway bridge over Dogue Creek.
The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is a corridor of history and outdoor adventure. The Trail network follows the river through its tidal reaches to the fall line, with an interlude along the escarpment of Washington, D.C., then along the Potomac via the C&O Canal Towpath to Cumberland, Md. From there it goes through the mountains on a portion of the Great Allegheny Passage, finally connecting with the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.