Dranesville residents love their parks. We are fortunate to have many wonderful parks, as well as historical sites and community events to enjoy. The following are some of my favorites.
*Clemyjontri Park: Since opening in 2006, more than 200,000 visitors have enjoyed this unique playground where children of all abilities can play side-by-side. Equipment allows children who have physical, sensory or developmental disabilities to have a parallel playground experience of fun and exploration. The park also includes a carousel and picnic pavilion. Located at 6317 Georgetown Pike, McLean.
*Riverbend Park: The Park offers over 400 acres of forest, meadows and ponds. Trails include a 2.5 mile portion of the Potomac Heritage Trail that links national and regional parkland. Kayaking, canoeing and fishing are all available on the Potomac River. The nature center and picnic shelter are available for rent. Located at 8700 Potomac Hills, Great Falls.
*Colvin Run Mill Historic Park: Colvin Run Mill offers visitors a chance to step back in time. There are tours of the restored mill built around 1811. A general store offers stone ground cornmeal, wheat flour, grits, “penny candy” and snacks and drinks. Trails are available for quiet walks. Live music, craft demonstrations, ice cream making and seasonal activities are available from February through December. Located at 10017 Colvin Run, Great Falls.
*Turner Farm: Originally the site of a dairy farm, the 52-acre park offers a unique mix of educational and recreational facilities. The Analemma Society offers astronomy programs in partnership with the Park Authority at the park’s observatory. Equestrians can enjoy a cross country course and a large multi-purpose arena with stadium jumps and dressage makers. Small children can enjoy a new tot lot. Located at 925 Springvale Road, Great Falls.
*Runnymede Park: The Town of Herndon is located in the Dranesville District. The town owns and maintains this 58-acre park. It is the site for many community nature-related events such as the annual Nature Fest. Situated near the Sugarland Run Stream, the park attracts over 100 species of birds, deer, fox and other wildlife. Two park shelters are available for rental. Located at 196 Herndon Parkway, Herndon.
*Scott's Run Nature Preserve: One of the few nature preserves in the County. The 336-acre preserve, formerly known as the Burling Tract, had at one time been slated for development. Scotts Run offers wonderful hiking trails of varying difficulty, some of them leading to the bluffs of the Potomac River. Visitors flock to the area every year to witness the spring wildflowers which carpet the forest floor. Located at 7400 Georgetown Pike, McLean.
*Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts: Known simply as Wolf Trap. The 117-acre park is home to the beautiful Filene Center, The Barnes and the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. Each summer there are over 100 performance across all genres. There are also year-round recreational opportunities, including hiking trails, picnic areas, and sledding. Located at 1635 Trap Road, Vienna.
*Spring Hill Recreation Center: Recently the RECenter underwent a major renovation and expansion. In addition to an awesome indoor swimming facility, users can now enjoy a 2-story fitness center and a gymnasium with an elevated running track. The gym features a single high school-sized basketball court with two overlay basketball courts and a volleyball overlay court. Locker rooms and showers have been upgraded and five new family cabanas are now available. Located at 1239 Spring Hill Road, McLean.
*MPAartfest: Every October, the McLean Project for the Arts converts McLean Central Park into a free, one-day festival of the arts. Thousands of area residents attend. Vendor tents display the works of numerous juried artists, which are complemented by the exhibitions of children’s’ and seniors’ artwork, an Open Studio demonstration, and performances by local musicians. McLean Central Park, 1468 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean.
*Great Falls Freedom Memorial: Dedicated in 2004, the memorial plaza on the library grounds honors local military personnel, firefighters, police officers, the six Great Falls residents who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our liberty and freedom. The service on 9/11 is extremely moving. Located at 9830 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls (behind the library)
*McLean Day: Sponsored by the McLean Community Center, McLean Day is held on the third Saturday in May. The festival features performances, carnival rides, exhibitions and delicious foods for visitors of all ages. There is a wonderful line-up of live entertainment throughout the day organized by the Alden Theatre. There are booths where artisans, local businesses, civic organizations, nonprofit groups, and local officials showcase their wares. Lewinsville Park, 1659 Chain Bridge Road, McLean
*Great Falls National Park: Consists of 800 acres along the banks of the Potomac River. The park is a wonderful place to hike, picnic and simply view the majestic falls and rapids, often navigated by kayakers. Entrance is at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive, Great Falls.