Welcome! Just minutes from our Nation’s Capital, situated between the Potomac River and U.S. Highway 95, the communities of Mount Vernon and Lee are surrounded by the history that made our great nation and the natural beauty for which Virginia is famous. Historic Route One is America’s “First Highway.”
Here are some great ideas of places to visit and, of course, you’ll need somewhere to sleep and eat. If you need more help planning your trip, please contact the Chamber directly.
If you need a business service or product in east Fairfax County, use a Chamber member for a business connected to the community. Search our Business Directory to find just what you need. Questions? Call the Chamber at 703-360-6925.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
George Washington’s Mount Vernon is the most popular historic estate in America and is open 365 days a year. Over 80 million people have visited Mount Vernon since 1860, when the estate was officially opened to the public. Mount Vernon welcomes an average of one million guests each year. Today, nearly 500 acres of this historic property have been preserved along the banks of the Potomac River. Guests can see Washington’s mansion and other original structures. www.mountvernon.org.
Gunston Hall was the home of George Mason IV (1725-1792), a fourth generation Virginian who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights and was instrumental in the American Revolution. Mason urged that fundamental American liberties such as religious toleration and freedom of the press be part of the new Constitution. Mason’s home was once the center of a 5,500-acre tobacco and corn plantation and was constructed between 1755 and 1759.
Woodlawn Plantation was part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. In 1799, he gave the site to his nephew, Lawrence Lewis, and Lewis’ new bride, Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis, Martha’s granddaughter, in hopes of keeping Nelly close to Mount Vernon. The newly-married couple built the Georgian/Federal house designed by William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol. Woodlawn Plantation is now operated by The National Trust for Historic Preservation.
During the 1930s, Frank Lloyd Wright set his formidable attention towards designing affordable middle-class residences. More than 100 of these modest homes, referred to as Usonian, thought to mean “the United States of North America,” were constructed between 1936 and Wright’s death in 1959, including the Pope-Leighey house (1940). Commissioned in 1939 by Loren Pope, a journalist in Falls Church, the residence was sold to Robert and Marjorie Leighey in 1946, then deeded to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Lorton Art Workhouse
Lorton Art Workhouse consists of six (6) artist studio buildings, the main galleries, the Youth Arts Center and W-3 Theatre, Art of Movement building and Metropolitan School of the Arts. They support more than 100 professional and emerging artists, providing them affordable studios and galleries in which to exhibit their work. As opposed to most passive arts experiences, visitors are encouraged to interact with the artists when they visit. In addition to visual arts, the Workhouse Arts Center is home to performing arts, including theater, film Institute, musical and dance performances.
River Farm, owned at one time by George Washington, it now serves as headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. The property retains its historic character while at the same time showcasing the best and most environmentally responsible gardening practices. River Farm features renowned vistas stretching down to the Potomac River as well as its artful blend of naturalistic and formal gardens that offer year-round delight to visitors of all ages. Situated on 25 acres of landscaped lawns and gardens, it is one of the Washington, D.C. area’s premier gardening destinations.
George Washington’s Grist Mill & Distillery
George Washington constructed a large, extremely profitable gristmill at Mount Vernon using cutting-edge technology of the time. Washington’s merchant gristmill, erected in 1770-1771, was capable of producing 5,000 to 8,000 pounds of flour and cornmeal a day. The site features a working grist mill and whiskey distillery with small gift shop.
Gum Springs was founded by freed slave West Ford whose bones rest near George Washington’s at Mount Vernon. Gum Springs was a place for blacks to prevail, assimilating runaways and freed slaves who migrated there by way of the nearby port of Alexandria. Many of its forbearers tended General Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon before they were freed at the death of his wife, Martha. Gum Springs Museum and Cultural Center preserves this heritage.