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At left, the Woodlawn mansion house.  At right, the Pope-Leighey house.

Hidden Mount Vernon Driving Tour

Visit forgotten gems hidden near George Washington's Mt. Vernon home.

  • 4 hours
  • From 79 US dollars
  • Starting from the Franconia Museum at 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria, VA 22310.

Tour Description

While people always remember the iconic farm that was once home to America's first president George Washington, many have forgotten the rich history of the neighborhood that surrounds Mount Vernon's gates. Join tour guide Nathaniel Lee as we dive into the neighborhoods along Route 1 and the George Washington Parkway to find stunning old homes, beautiful churches, or enjoy dining in historic mansions with views over the Potomac River. You won’t get confused missing directional signs, dealing with road closures, and otherwise wasting time. Your guide knows exactly where to go and will ride alongside you in your car to point the way while you drive, so everyone can fully enjoy the tour. Please make sure to have one open seat available in your vehicle for the tour guide so they can ride along with you. Here is just a taste of some of the sites along this tour: FORT HUNT -- See the batteries that defended the Potomac River during the Spanish American War and see where soldiers at Fort Hunt interrogated prisoners, trained pilots in escape and evasion, and combed German documents for intelligence during World War II. GEORGE WASHINGTON PARKWAY -- Managed by the National Park Service, the Parkway was designed to link sites that commemorate important episodes in American history, and to preserve habitat for local wildlife along the Potomac River's edge from Arlington to Mount Vernon. GUM SPRINGS -- This African American community is the oldest in Fairfax County. Established in 1833 by West Ford, a freed slave, skilled carpenter, and manager on George Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon. POPE-LEIGHEY HOUSE -- Commissioned in 1939 by journalist Loren Pope, it was one of the first Usonian houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was completed in 1941 in Falls Church and later moved to Woodlawn in 1964. RIVER FARM -- Garden lovers should definitely include this in your scenic drive. This farm dating to 1757 was once part of George Washington's huge estate and is now the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. Here, you can enjoy various formal and natural gardens, including a wonderful children's garden. WOODLAWN -- Home of George Washington's nephew and Martha Washington's granddaughter. It was designed by the first architect of the U.S. Capitol in 1800. Arcadia Farm leases land at Woodlawn to demonstrate sustainable agriculture. ... AND SO MUCH MORE!

Accessibility and Cancellation Policy

Some of our tours are marked as active walking tours; guests are advised that they should be physically capable and prepared to walk around an urban environment for the time and distances listed. ASSISTANCE DOGS: All assistance dogs are welcome on our tours including registered guide dogs, hearing dogs and medical alert dogs. Please make us aware of this beforehand by email at WHEELCHAIRS AND MOBILITY VEHICLES: Any guests who use a wheelchair must be capable of travelling throughout the length of the relevant tour, some parts of which will be on uneven terrain. Manual wheelchair users are likely to need to bring a personal assistant with them. Self-propelled wheelchair users even with assistance are likely to struggle in some areas and as a result may experience difficulty on some areas of tours. Guests who use an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter must ensure they have sufficient battery power for the duration of a tour. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries on the suitability of a tour. TOILET FACILITIES: As we host outdoor tours, we are not able to provide permanent toilet facilities for visitors. We however try to ensure our tours are designed to pass via publicly accessible toilets as a rest break for visitors. We are however not able to guarantee that these will be open at all times during our tours. Our guides will always try to direct visitors towards open facilities if required. TOUR CANCELLATION POLICY: Franconia History LLC understands that schedules change, especially while you are on vacation or with family. You are welcome to cancel or reschedule your tour with us at no additional charge up to twelve hours prior to the scheduled start time of your tour. If cancellation is required, you are requested to notify us no later than twelve hours before your scheduled tour start time. Please note that any cancellations you make within twelve hours of your scheduled tour start time will cause the forfeiture of one-half of the fee you paid for the tour. Franconia Museum LLC cannot be held responsible for delays or cancellations of customer trips that result from weather, traffic, mechanical difficulties or circumstances beyond our control. If Franconia History LLC is forced to cancel your tour due to reasons outside of company control, all prior payments will be refunded to you within ten business days.

Contact Details

Franconia Museum, Inc., 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria, VA 22310, USA

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