Showing posts from August, 2009

Great Falls Park

Location: northwest of Tyson's Corner, Virginia
Date: August 15, 2009

The Great Falls are a 76-foot cascade on the Potomac River northwest of Washington, DC. Great Falls Park, managed by the National Park Service, has a visitor center and extensive network of short trails on the Virginia side of the falls. I only walked to the overlooks of the falls during my visit. Being late summer, the water levels in the river were fairly low when I was there, but there were still kayakers descending the falls. You can also view the falls from the Maryland side along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, but it is not easy to go between the two sides.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

James Madison's Montpelier

Location: Orange, Virginia
Date: August 8, 2009

Montpelier was the home of James Madison near Orange, Virginia. After Dolley Madison sold the estate, it passed through a number of private owners and was modified extensively before it was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1983. From 2003 through 2008 the building underwent a major restoration to return it to the state it was in when Jame Madison lived there.

In addition to touring the house, visitors can go throughout the grounds, an archaeology lab, an old-growth forest, visitor center, the Madison cemetery, and other facilities.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Prince William Forest Park

Location: Triangle, Virginia
Dates: June-August 2009

Prince William Forest Park is a park managed by the National Park Service in northern Virginia and encompasses Piedmont forest in suburban Washington, DC. There are 37 miles of hiking trails in the park, a short mountain biking trail, miles of paved roads, and more miles of gravel/dirt fire roads open to public use. There is also a visitor center, picnic areas, playgrounds, two campgrounds, five small lakes, a ball field, and five cabin camps, four of which were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The terrain here is hilly, and nearly the entire area is forested. Those areas that are not forested are former home and farm sites that have been recently restored, including the Taylor farm site. The Cabin Branch Pyrite Mine is a popular (relatively speaking) hiking destination. The mine once mined pyrite to produce sulfuric acid and was recently restored. A trail/boardwalk now goes through the mine site where there are remna…