The Past and Future Combine
If you love excitement and fast-paced experiences, Northern Virginia is a mix of trendy and traditional, small town and big city that define this diverse region.
The cityscapes deliver diverse pleasures in fine dining and entertainment rich in theater, music and art. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, is one of the area’s premiere venues and includes performances ranging from pop, country, to opera, all in an accessible setting. There are Assistive Listening Systems and signing interpreters for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and accessible seating for persons with mobility disabilities in both the Filene Center and the Barns at Wolf Trap.
The Filene Center at Wolf Trap
Located in Falmouth, near Fredericksburg, Belmont is the home and studio of Gari Melcher. He was a critically acclaimed American artist of the early Twentieth Century along with such notables as John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt.
The visitor’s center, house, 2 of the 3 studios are accessible and there is an open-captioned video about the artist.
If your idea of stimulation is shopping, Northern Virginia has the largest concentration of retail shopping on the East Coast outside of New York City. Bargain hunters flock to Dale City, home to Potomac Mills, one of the nation’s largest off-priced outlet malls or to the Leesburg Premium Outlets, both very accessible.
America’s history spans centuries here from presidential homes such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon to the crucial role this area played during the Civil War at Manassas, Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg National military parks or the Iwo Jima Memorial to World War II’s fallen.
This world famous statue depicts one of the most famous World War II incidents, the raising of the flag at Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima.
Travelers can take a respite from the bustle of urban Northern Virginia to tour nearby Southern plantations such as Gunston Hall, home of George Mason, who drafted the model for the Bill of Rights to the U. S. Constitution. Alexandria’s Carlyle House, an 18th-century Georgian home, has elevator access for visitors with mobility impairments. Nearby, Sully Plantation, the home of Richard Henry Lee, signer of the Declaration of Independence, offers tours in American Sign Language with several days advance notice and has hands-on exhibits for visitors with visual disabilities.
In contrast to the cities and suburbs, head west on I-66 to the quiet atmosphere of the rolling hills of the Piedmont with farmland, vineyards, genteel estates, and small towns that attract visitors with fine inns and quaint shops. This is a beautiful setting for Prince Michel Vineyard and Naked Mountain Vineyard. They have self-guided tours or special guided tours with advance notice that are accessible for persons using wheelchairs, plus tactile exhibits for persons with visual impairments. Both offer samples of their excellent wines. At Prince Michele Vineyard you can experience an outstanding meal in their nationally known restaurant and then spend the night in a wheelchair-accessible suite at their chateau.
Located on the east slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Naked Mountain Vineyard offers beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and specializes in classic European varieties of wine.
Photo courtesy of Naked Mountain Vineyard
Fredericksburg, like many Virginia cities, played an important part in both the American Revolution and the Civil War. Kenmore, the home of George Washington’s sister, is an excellent example of a Georgian mansion and is also noted for its sensory tours where visitors can savor ginger cookies and tea. Hands-on models of the plaster ceiling and the molds used to make the decorative ceiling motifs enhance the general tour for persons with visual impairments.
Kenmore has some of the most elaborate plaster ceilings to survive from colonial America.
Visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing have captioned videos available at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center, and signing interpreters available with advance notice at the James Monroe Museum and the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center.
Colonial life comes to life on the streets of Fredericksburg.
In the midst of the bustle of interstates and four-lane highways, are thousands of acres of quiet woods at Mason Neck State Park has an accessible observation blind for looking at waterfowl and other wildlife. Prince William Forest Park has indoor-outdoor FM loop for the program describing the unique environment of Pine Grove Forest Trail.
Pine Grove Forest trail is a short, loop trail that was made with recycled tires consists of multiple footbridges and boardwalks.
Vacationers will appreciate the fine balance in Northern Virginia between cosmopolitan and rural, contemporary and heritage, and culture and agriculture.