- Best of Washington DC
- DC Art and Food Tour
- DC’s Top 10 for Kids
- DC Food Trucks
- Dining Alfresco in DC
- DC’s Best Outdoor Watering Holes
- DC’s Unsung Memorials and Monuments
- DC’s Outdoor Concerts and Events
- Green Dining in DC
- DC’s Best Family-Friendly Hotels
- DC Wine Bars
- DC Cupcake Wars
- DC Hotels with the Best Views
Claude Moore Colonial Farm
Many settlers in Virginia weren’t landed gentry; their farms were more like the homestead at Claude Moore Colonial Park (6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean, Va., 703/442-7557, www.1771.org, Wed.-Sun. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., $3 adults, $2 children) than the beautiful plantations of Mount Vernon or Gunston Hall.
Nine miles from downtown Washington, Claude Moore is a popular destination for families, a living history museum where staffers farm the land and conduct the daily routine of a typical low-income settler in 1771.
Depending on the season, visitors will see workers in colonial garb tilling, planting, weeding, cooking, harvesting, putting up crops, and tending to the animals. Young visitors are often asked to pitch in with the chores; the family’s buildings, including the home, barn, and tobacco sheds, are open to the public.
The park holds several special events, including spring and fall market fairs, where youngsters can bob for apples, learn to handle a sword, watch spinners and weavers, and, of course, work.
Great Falls National Park
An 800-acre park 15 miles northwest of Washington, Great Falls National Park (9200 Old Dominion Dr., McLean, Va., 703/285-2965, www.nps.gov/GRFA, daily 7 a.m.-dark, visitors center daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $5 per car) abuts the Mather Gorge, where the Potomac River barrels over boulders and rocks and flows downstream toward Washington.
The park has miles of hiking trails, most of them wide, mulched pathways along the remnants of the old Patowmack Canal appropriate for beginner hikers and families with small children. The more adventurous can boulder down along the falls near Difficult Run, finding hidden outcrops to enjoy the scenery.
The park has grills and picnic areas as well. On hot days, no matter how tempting the water looks, don’t wade; the eddies and currents caused by the falls can knock the most steadfast off their feet and into the dangerous river.
© Patricia Nevins Kime from Moon Washington DC, 1st Edition