Insiders: Hidden Gems

Insiders: Hidden Gems

Five must-see attractions in the Mount Vernon area.

Newcomers should plan on visiting these local sites:


</b>Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Pope-Leighey House was commissioned by journalist Loren Pope in 1939. In 1964, it was donated by Marjorie Leighey to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and later moved from Falls Church to where it now sits on Woodlawn Plantation. The Usonian style house features Wright’s innovative designs in a modestly-sized single-family home. Open until Dec. 20 from Thursday until Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All visitors must be accompanied by a guide. Tours are provided every 30 minutes until 4 p.m. General admission $8.50 for adults and $5 for children (K-12). Visit for more information. At 9000 Richmond Highway, Alexandria.


</b>At 1,425 acres, Huntley Meadows Park is the largest park in Fairfax County. The park features a half-mile wetland board walk trail, a hike-bike trail, an observation tower and wildlife observation platforms, an interpretative trail system, and a visitor’s center with exhibits, classroom and auditorium. A vast array of wildlife can be seen at Huntley Meadows including beavers, frogs, and more than 200 species of birds. At 3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria. Visit for more information.


</b>Open from dawn until dusk year-round, Fort Hunt Park has a storied history. It has evolved from being a part of George Washington’s farm to a Spanish-American War coastal fortification to the setting for top-secret WWII military intelligence operations to the popular picnic area it is now. The park features the remains of several of the fort’s original batteries, a summer concert series, athletic fields, a playground, and a beautiful setting to run, bike or walk a dog. Fort Hunt Park is 6 miles south of Old Town Alexandria along the GW Parkway.


</b>The Hollin Hills neighborhood is comprised of approximately 450 houses designed in the 1940s by Charles M. Goodman, designer of Washington National Airport, and landscape architect Dan Kiley, co-designer of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The modern designs were ahead of their time. Nestled into the hilly woods, the homes are simple and streamlined and feature large expanses of glass. The neighborhood can be found is in the Fort Hunt area off of Fort Hunt Road.


</b>While the Mount Vernon Estate is far from a secret, the Slave Burial Ground and Memorial is easy to miss. Located near Geroge Washington’s tomb is a burial ground used by slaves and free blacks in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is estimated that the cemetery holds as many as 75 graves although there are no markers to identify the people buried there. In 1983, Howard University students designed and erected a memorial honoring those who served as slaves at Mount Vernon. The words Love, Hope, and Faith are inscribed on the steps of the memorial.