A Pedestrian’s Perspective: From the Parkway to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge

Looking for a peaceful place to travel to get out of the house? All along the George Washington Parkway stretches a path  that goes  all the way to Washington DC. This distance is frequented by people going at their own pace – from the high speed bicyclist commuter to the power walking local. On the way there are places to picnic / barbeque, waters to fish, and open fields for recreation.

An often overlooked detour is available just before Old Town Alexandria. By taking a pedestrian path onto the Woodrow Wilson Bridge there is a path that hugs the road until arriving at the National Harbor.  It starts with a view of a graveyard. Then the panorama delivers a waterfront city skyline juxtapositioned with vehicles driving across the bridge.

Finally after passing the bridge there is a place to sit and enjoy the view, or continue to the National Harbor. Round trip its worth the effort.

Find a home near Fort Ward Park

Commander James S. Ward, well known as a scholar and an authority on tactics and gunnery, was the first Union naval officer mortally wounded after the outbreak of the Civil War. Ward was well known because, among other accomplishments, he was instrumental in establishing the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

Fort Ward Park
Fort Ward is in the West End of Alexandria

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Union commanders understood that a Confederate blockade of the Potomac was a serious threat to the main supply line for Washington, D.C. As a result, a flotilla of seven Navy vessels under the command of James Ward were dispatched to protect the waterway for shipping. In the earliest days of the war, that flotilla was involved in an action to support the strategic redeployment of a small Federal force at Mathias Point. During this action a Confederate sniper shot Ward, and he died shortly thereafter.

One of these forts was named after Commander Ward, and today Fort Ward is the best preserved of this fort system. During the war, Fort Ward was the fifth largest fort defending the Capitol and thus deterred Confederate forces who never attacked its earthen walls. The Union Army abandoned the Fort in December 1865, and shortly thereafter any salvageable materials were sold at auction.

The land is now owned by the City of Alexandria. During the time of the war, the fort was a dusty (at times muddy) place, stripped of vegetation and armed with cannons. Today, it is a manicured oasis of greenery in the city of Alexandria.

On the grounds of old Fort Ward, Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site serves as a park, educational center and cultural remembrance for those who served here. The museum has exhibits on general Civil War topics as well as interpretive programs specific to Fort Ward and Alexandria during the Union occupation. Fort Ward can be entered at 4301 West Braddock in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Fort is located relatively close to Inova Alexandria Hospital and Episcopal High School. The surrounding area is a mixture of very high end housing, middle class housing and is located not far from Skyline and the condos near I-395. To search the surrounding area check out West End Alexandria.

Properties in Alexandria

For more information or to set up an appointment call Stuart at (703)765-0300.

Barcroft Park

Barcroft Park
Barcroft Park

Barcroft Park is 65 acres of highly-maintained family oriented recreational facilities. Barcroft supports a variety of sports and family activities.  Barcroft is the home for several baseball leagues as there are 5 baseball diamonds with bleachers here. Four of these fields are for youth; one is for one adults. There is a batting cage to support the baseball community.

Barcroft has a a lighted rectangular playing field for sports like soccer, football or rugby. This field has a synthetic surface, concession stand, restrooms, and goals. Other sports are also supported by:

  • a basketball court;
  • two new tennis courts (opened in 2007);
  • a volleyball court;
  • a handball court;
  • and horseshoe pit.

At this location, Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center has a gymnasium to support several indoor sports. The gymnasium has everything needed for a boxer to train. This includes a boxing room with speed and punching bags, sparring ring, and floor exercise area. The gym can also host basketball, floor hockey, and indoor soccer. On-site, there are a variety of classes such as

  • aerobics,
  • boxing/kick boxing,
  • and gymnastics.

For the benefit of picnickers and visitors the park has three water fountains, a rental picnic shelter, picnic tables, charcoal grills. There is also a paved path throughout the park to walk, jog or bike. That path has a bridge, and stream.

Hours for the park are sunrise to half hour after sunset except on lighted facilities. The facilities are open Tuesday, Thursday and weekends.

4200 South Four Mile Run Drive
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 228-0700

Park Map (PDF)

Barcroft Park
Baseball field at Barcroft Park

Barcroft is a part of what makes Arlington such a great place to live. To search condos in Arlington or property of any type in Northern Virginia, try our fast and free database of all available properties. Barcroft is located not far from Skyline Square and Skyline Plaza.