You've come as far as Washington, D.C.—why not travel just a bit farther to visit Mount Vernon, the home of the man for whom the capital is named? “Washington slept here” is a claim bandied about by many a town. “Washington lived here for 45 years” is a claim only Mount Vernon can make. The estate was George Washington’s home from 1754 until his death in 1799 (as much as the American Revolution and Washington’s stints as the new republic’s first president would allow). And where did Washington go to sell his produce, kick up his heels, or worship? In nearby Old Town Alexandria. Its cobblestone streets and historic churches and houses still stand, surrounded now by of-the-moment eateries and chic boutiques. Make time, if you can, for visits to both Old Town and Mount Vernon. Only 16 miles south of the capital, George Washington’s Southern plantation dates from a 1674 land grant to the president’s great-grandfather.
Biking to Old Town Alexandria & Mount Vernon
One of the nicest ways to see the Washington skyline is from across the river while biking in Virginia. You’ll have a breathtaking view of the Potomac and of Washington’s grand landmarks. Rent a bike at one of Bike & Roll’s locations or at Thompson Boat Center, across from the Kennedy Center and right on the bike path. Hop on the pathway that runs along the Potomac River and head toward the memorials and the Arlington Memorial Bridge. In Washington, this is the Rock Creek Park Trail; when you cross Memorial Bridge (near the Lincoln Memorial) into Virginia, the name changes to the Mount Vernon Trail, which leads straight to Mount Vernon.
Of course, this mode of transportation is also a great way to see Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon. The trail carries you past Reagan National Airport via two pedestrian bridges that take you safely through the airport’s roadway system. Continue to Old Town, where you should lock up your bike, walk around, tour some of the historic properties listed in this chapter, and take in some refreshment from one of the many excellent restaurants before proceeding on to Mount Vernon. The section from Memorial Bridge to Mount Vernon is about 19 miles in all.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.