Explore & Enjoy

Explore & Enjoy

A sample of attractions the area offers.

Hop Aboard Burke Lake Train


Burke Lake Park’s miniature train.

The miniature Central Pacific Huntington steam engine at Burke Lake Park has been a popular ride for 40 years. Last spring, the ride got even better when the train and tracks underwent some improvements. "I remember riding my bike here when I was a kid, through what’s now Burke Lake Center…We were adventurers," said Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield). "Generations of families come here every year. It’s one of our most popular parks."

"This train never goes out of style," said Charlie Reagle, Burke Lake Park Manager, who estimates about 90,000 people ride the train each year. The train takes riders over 1.75 miles of track in about 10 minutes and reaches speeds of 10 to 12 miles per hour. After the chug-along, there's more old-fashioned fun at Burke Lake Park, including a spin on the carousel, a hand-dipped cone at the Ice Cream Parlor and a hike on the park trail rated one of the 10 best urban fitness trails in the nation by the American Hiking Society.

History Lessons

Burke Historical Society. Meetings are held monthly at the Silas Burke House, 9595 Burke Lake Road, Burke. www.burkehistoricalsociety.com


The historic Silas Burke House where the Burke Historical Society holds its monthly meetings.

The Burke Historical Society (BHS) was first established in 1978 as an advocate for preserving Burke’s rich heritage. The society procures and maintains the area’s historical markers, collects community artifacts for display and sponsored the book "Memories of Beautiful Burke," co-authored by Nan Netherton and Ruth Rose. According to Suzi Fowler Neal, president of BHS, society members recently raised enough money to reprint the book, which will be for sale at this year’s Burke Centre Festival in September. The historical society also inspired artist Barbara Thelin Preston to paint and donate a painting depicting Old Burke, which the society framed and donated to the Burke post office. Meetings and forums take place the last Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. at the Silas Burke House, 9595 Burke Lake Road.

Obon Festival

Ekoji Buddhist Temple, 6500 Lakehaven Lane, Fairfax Station. 703-239-0500

The only "Jodo Shinshu" Buddhist temple in Northern Virginia, Ekoji celebrated its 31st anniversary in July at its annual Obon Festival. Obon, which means "In Gratitude," is a popular festival featuring children’s games, Japanese folk dancing, tours of the temple and gardens, Japanese, Hawaiian and American food and performances by the Nen Daiko drummers and the Aloha Boys. For more information on the temple and upcoming events, go to www.ekoji.org.

Spend Fridays in Paradise

Paradise Springs Winery, 13219 Yates Ford Road, Clifton. 703-830-9463. www.Paradisespringswinery.com


The stone deck at Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton.

Locals call it the best "wind-down" in Northern Virginia. Every Friday, guests can sip wine and enjoy live music on the newly-renovated rustic stone patio of Paradise Springs Winery, Fairfax County’s only winery. The winery is nestled on 36 acres in Clifton on the edge of Fairfax County. The property borders Hemlock Regional Park with the Bull Run River flowing only steps through the woods. Originally, the property was part of a one-thousand-acre land grant from Lord Fairfax in 1716 to the family’s direct ancestors and has been passed down through the generations since. Several hundred acres still remain in the family today. It’s a place for wine lovers, history buffs and architecture aficionados. Influences of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work can be seen throughout the renovated property, including the indirect lighting, hidden spaces, intricate electrical switches, small entrances into large rooms and the concept of bringing nature indoors. In 1956 a red barn that sat just off Main Street in downtown Fairfax, was taken apart, individually numbered, and reassembled piece by piece on the property.

George Washington Hunted Here?

Creative American Cuisine at Trummer’s On Main


Trummers on Main in Historic Clifton.

Clifton is the place that George Washington and Lord Fairfax hunted; the spot the Confederate and the Union met at throughout the Civil War; and the first town to have electricity in Virginia. This quaint town’s historic Clifton Hotel, established in 1869, has experienced a re-birth since restaurateur couple Stefan and Victoria Trummer set a course for creative American cuisine at their first restaurant, Trummer's On Main. Executive Chef Cory Lambert brings his talents and passion to the menu while Sommelier Tyler Packwood has developed a wine list comprising the open view wine cellar that holds over 8,000 bottles. And hand-crafted cocktails are the skills of owner Stefan Trummer. Stop in for an artisanal cocktail, the infamous S.A. Burger, a tasting menu in the dining room, or Sunday brunch.

It’s a Family Affair

The Main Street Pub, 7140 Main Street, Clifton. 703-266-6307

Grab a bite and have a drink at The Main Street Pub, one of Clifton's popular eateries and a real family business. Owners Tom and Judy McNamara are always there with their four children, who have jumped in to become part of the pub scene. Sean, with his food service experience, is the general manager; Kevin is the top bartender and server; Katie is a cook and manages the kitchen; and Jamie, a music teacher, jumps in to help whenever he can. The patio and inside pub area are available for small private parties.

Experience History

Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, 11200 Fairfax Station Road. www.fairfax-station.org

Take a step back in time and discover the Fairfax Station Museum and the role it played during the Civil War. Find out about the Orange and Alexandria Railroad and its importance to both the supply and medical evacuation effort. Learn about the humanitarian efforts by Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. Visit the caboose and hear about the vital role of the caboose in early railroad operations. The Fairfax Station Museum is a great place to view model train displays. Come explore Civil War history, railroading and the fascinating story of our local community.

Arts Liberated

Lorton Workhouse Arts Center, 9601 Ox Road, Lorton. www.workhousearts.org


The Lorton Workhouse Arts Center campus

Located on the grounds of the former Lorton Prison, the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center provides visual and performing arts studios, exhibitions spaces, engaging art education programs and is host to a variety of cultural events—from the Mount Vernon Nights concert series to the Clifton Filmfest. More than 150 of region’s finest professional and emerging artists call the Workhouse home, a place where they can create and display their works of art.

Dog Days of Summer

Canine Cruises, Picnics & More at Lake Accotink Park, 7500 Accotink Park Road, Springfield. www.lakeaccotinkpark.com

Held each summer, this pet-friendly event offers dogs and their owners the chance to cruise Lake Accotink on pontoon boats. Reservations are required, and the event is open to pets and people age 8 and older. Lake Accotink Park's 493 acres include a 55-acre lake, wetlands and streams offering unique views of waterfowl and marsh life. Facilities and activities vary with the season (call for dates and times) and include canoe, rowboat and pedal boat rentals, bike rentals, fishing, tour-boat rides, boat launch, nine-green double-holed miniature golf course, antique carousel, snack bar, pavilion shelters and picnic areas with grills (some areas may be reserved, call 703-324-8732), restrooms, playground, sand volleyball court and basketball court. Situated along the Cross County Trail, the park has a four-mile loop, natural-surface hiking/biking trail. Loop trail users please note: The trail section by the dam frequently floods during rain events and there is no bypass. Small sailboats permitted; swimming, windsurfing and gas powered boat motors are prohibited. Virginia State Fishing License required for fishing. Picnic areas, playground, pavilions, trails and open play fields are open daily year-round, 7 a.m. to dusk.

Forget love—We’d rather fall in Chocolate!

Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival in Old Town Fairfax. www.chocolatefestival.net


A creative chocolate confection at the 2012 Chocolate Lovers Festival.

For all things chocolate, plan to attend the Chocolate Lovers Festival, a two-day event that takes place each March in Old Town Fairfax. A family-friendly favorite, popular events include the Taste of Chocolate, featuring chocolate vendors selling anything and everything chocolate; the Chocolate Challenge, an arts extravaganza where pros and amateurs compete for prizes; the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast featuring chocolate chip pancakes; historic re-enactments; children's activities; open houses at historic buildings and much more.

Patriotic Celebration

City of Fairfax Annual July 4th Fireworks & Parade


Sisters Jennifer Loeb (right) and Kerry Petrauskas danced to Cotton-Eyed Joe during the City of Fairfax’s annual Old-Fashioned Fireman’s Day event on July 4. Part of the city’s Independence Day celebration, the Fireman’s competition includes games, festival food and getting drenched with fire hoses.

If you spend more than a year in the area and don’t make it to the most spectacular display of fireworks in the region, you really haven’t lived here. Festivities begin in the morning with the annual Independence Day Parade that starts in the Fairfax Historic District. After the parade, there’s the Old-Fashioned Fireman’s Day, where local firefighters compete in games involving fire hoses. (Spraying the crowd is part of the fun.) Fireworks are held at Fairfax High School, with games and activities for children, food vendors and live performances that include favorites such as the City of Fairfax Band and cover bands.

Catch a Game or a Concert at GMU

The Patriot Center, 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax. 703-993-3000

Located on the campus of George Mason University, the Patriot Center seats 10,000 and is host to a variety of college and professional sports events, concerts and other entertainment. Group sales discounts are offered for most of the family entertainment events and some concerts.