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Things to do in Dale City

    Bel Air Plantation Bel Air Plantation Charles City, Virginia
    The Belle Air Plantation in Charles City, Virginia sits along the north bank of the James River by State Route 5, a marvelous scenic byway that passes between the cities of Williamsburg and Richmond, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The plantation is a wonderful surviving example of a wood framed house with post medieval-style exposed interior timber framing, and believed to be the oldest plantation that sits along the state road, or region for that matter, since Daniel Clark bought the tract in 1662. The five-bay facade of the plantation house contains architectural elements that are very characteristic of the 17th century construction, but housing a floor plan and facade fenestration that is more characteristic of the 18th century architectural designs. The magnificent post medieval-style exposed timber framing on the inside of the house is the only type of its kind found in a frame structure in the state. The outstanding hand hewn beams serve as structural framing and decorative woodwork, with summer beams that go through the center of the ceilings into the chimneys are the main support for the floor joists located on the floor above. The plantation would remain in the Clark family all through the 18th century, and eventually bought by Colonel William Green Munford, who had been in the Continental Army. In 1800, the estate would be bought by Hamlin Wilcox, a wealthy Charles City County planter, who would then add the three-bay western portion of the house. It would stay in the Wilcox family until 1945, with the family also owning the North Bend plantation during the Civil War. It has been completely refurbished by the present owner, Mrs. Walter O. Major. It also houses the best Jacobean staircase in the country and is filled with excellent antiques.

    North Bend Plantation
    North Bend Plantation Weyanoke, VirginiaNorth Bend Plantation is another historic plantation that is also located in Weyanoke, Virginia between Richmond and Williamsburg, along State Route 5, and was constructed in 1801 by John Minge for his wife, Sarah Harrison, the sister of William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States. The plantation site had been inhabited by the Weanoc Indians with the original part built by Minge, and in 1853, Thomas Hamlin Wilcox, would double its size, and the architectural remodeling would include Greek revival elements that are reminiscent of the designs from architect Asher Benjamin. The plantation would become the headquarters of Major General Philip Sheridan in 1864, with 30,000 Union troops getting ready to cross the James River on a pontoon bridge that had been installed during the Overland Campaign. And Wilcox would move into his other plantation at Belle Air. He would never return to the plantation. It is the finest example of Greek revival architecture in the county, with about 6000 square feet of living space. The house contains many beautiful antiquities, that include old dolls, rare books and a wonderful history pertaining to the Civil War. The estate has a lovely swimming pool, billiards in the game room, three big porches that provide marvelous views of the countryside, with 850 acres still in cultivation. There is a croquet area, volleyball court and horse shoe pits, with many other features as well. In 1916, the George F. Copeland family would acquire it, who is the descendant of William Henry and Sarah Harrison and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

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    Confederate Winter Camps Fighting Boredom & DiseaseConfederate Winter Camps Fighting Boredom & Disease Virginia
    The Confederate winter camps fighting boredom and disease occurred after the Confederate win at Ball's Bluff in October 1861, since both armies would settle in for a long winter's nap, between Washington DC and Richmond. The southern army would move from Fairfax County to settle down in Prince William County and create a defensive line from Manassas to Quantico, erecting batteries on the Potomac River to blockade any shipping that was headed to the capitol. Many of the men would build log huts and clapboard roofs to winter in by the Neabsco and Quantico Creek areas. General John Bell Hood's Texas brigade would build its winter camp and call it Camp Wigfall, during the late summer of 1861, and when the troops weren't on guard duty, they would cook and clean the camp area. They also played cards, went foraging in the nearby woods and visit relatives or friends at the other nearby camps. They constructed the "Lone Star Theater" for a newly formed group of minstrels called Hood's Minstrels, which was composed of a choir, brass band and actors. It became quite popular and would showcase performances by banjoist Sam Sweeney and "The Bonnie Blue Flag" lyricist, Harry McCarty. As the winter began, the camp had such unsanitary conditions and camp crowding that soon there were outbreaks of typhoid fever, measles, diarrhea and dysentery that would kill more soldiers than the battles, and the majority lived far away so they had to rely on the nearby citizens for care as the camp doctors tried vainly to control the epidemics. Finally, in March 1862, the Confederates would move closer to Richmond, taking whatever supplies that they could carry, although the roads were terrible, they didn't have enough wagons and the quick departure would force them to destroy munitions and provisions, which they certainly couldn't afford to do. The Federal troops would soon arrive at the camps and then occupy some of them, but the majority would eventually disappear.

    Gunston Hall
    Gunston Hall Mason Neck, VirginiaGunston Hall in Mason Neck, Virginia is a gorgeous 18th century Georgian mansion close to the Potomac River, the former house of one of the founding fathers of the nation, George Mason. It would be constructed in the heart of the 5500 acre plantation, with the house's construction happening between 1755 and 1759. The majority of the design came from William Buckland, a carpenter/joiner and indentured servant from England, who would eventually design other well known structures in both Maryland and Virginia. The elegant woodworks inside are believed to have the work of William and William Bernard Sears, another person who had been able to come here by the indentured servant method. The mansion's interior design blends elements of gothic, rococo and chinoiserie styles, which was quite a unique contrast to the usual simpler decorations used by the settlers in Virginia during that period. The chinoiserie style had become quite popular in England, the Gunston house is the only one in America that contains this unusual style of architecture. Thomas Jefferson would attend Mason on his death bed in 1792, and after his passing later the same year, the house would be used as a residence for many decades, until 1868 when it was bought by well known abolitionist and Civil War colonel, Edward Daniels; but today is a magnificent museum that offers the public an opportunity to see the lifestyles of that era. Buckland had signed an indenture agreement with Thomson Mason, George's brother in August 1755, just four months after having finished being an apprentice from 1748 to 1755, in return, he got free passage to the state from England, a yearly pay of twenty pounds sterling and free room and board. He agreed to become the Masons carpenter and joiner for another four years. When Buckland came here, the exterior walls had been erected and he would design the portico overlooking the garden and grounds, as well as doing much of the interior. The intricate carvings inside are believed to have been the work of Buckland and Sears, with Buckland providing the majority of designs, and Sears doing the actual carvings. The two men would be involved in the majority of the furniture, since it had become a norm for the English architects to also design the furniture and buildings. Besides the main two floors, the house had a basement with main passage and four rooms, just the same as the floor above it, with three staircases going down into the basement which contains four brick arched chimney supports and nine tiny windows. A magnificent cast iron stove would be discovered in the basement in 1975, after some small excavations, with the type of style suggesting that is had been built during the 18th or 19th century. The boundary would get a shallow subsurface drainage ditch in 1986 to keep the water from seeping into the basement, which would keep much of the basement dryer. The garden is situated in the back of the house or the south side, put on a man-made level platform that had once had a hill, and would be a perfect one acre square. There is a gravel path that leads from the main house to the southern edge of the garden and had been twelve feet wide when Mason owned the estate. Currently the path has narrowed since the boxwoods along it have been growing for at least two hundred and fifty years, and when it ends, there is a lovely overlook that is fairly steep but still the view of the Potomac River from here is outstanding. The outbuildings have been reconstructed since then and include a laundry, kitchen, smokehouse and dairy. Mason owned other plantations besides this one and they include; Lexington, Mason's Island, Hollin Hall and Woodbridge, while his son, John lived at Clermont for a period in his life. Hollin Hall would be given to his third son, Thomson, by deeds of gift in 1781 and 1786, and totaled about 676 acres. It sits about three miles southwest of Alexandria and in the 18th century was close to Washington's Mount Vernon. Lexington Plantation had been part of Gunston Hall and given to Mason's first son, George Mason V, although the mansion wasn't constructed until after his trip to Europe in 1783. George Mason III, would buy Barbados Island from Francis Hammersly in 1717, and it would be renamed Mason's Island, and he would give it to his fourth son, John Mason in 1792.

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Local Restaurants in Dale City

    Daks Grill
    Entrees include garden salad or cup of day's soup, fresh veggie & choice of Daks potatoes, steak fries, red skin mashed potatoes, baked potato or garden veggie rice; dirty chicken & linguine is thin slices of spicy chicken breast over linguine in Cajun cream sauce, topped with tomatoes, green onions & side of garlic bread; Daks marinated chicken is marinated in blend of tropical fruit juices, herbs & spices; artichoke stuffed chicken is large breast gently stuffed with artichoke hearts, blend of cheeses, fresh herbs, rolled in bread crumbs & baked in white wine; smothered chicken is marinated breast charbroiled, topped with sautéed mushrooms & onions, melted provolone cheese & sprinkle of green onions; chicken marsala is chicken breast sautéed in Daks sweet marsala sauce with Portobello mushrooms over linguine; NY strip14oz., Delmonico cut to order 12oz., seasoned filet mignon is 8oz. with choice of béarnaise or cracked black peppers; top sirloin 7 or 12oz. Daks marinated sirloin is 12oz. sirloin soaked overnight in Daks special marinade; meatloaf is house made specialty served with red skin mashed potatoes with savory mushroom gravy & fresh veggie of the day; steak Portobello marsala is sirloin sautéed in Daks sweet marsala sauce with Portobello mushrooms over linguini; Cajun grilled pork chops is 2 center cut medallions coated with Cajun spices & grilled; honey sesame pork is center cut chops grilled & basted with honey sesame sauce; baby back ribs is half rack of ribs rubbed with house blend of spices & slow cooked for hours, topped with tangy BBQ sauce, FF; Cajun penne pasta is penne pasta sautéed with house Cajun cream sauce, topped with diced red tomatoes & chives with toast rounds; baked penne & cheese is house version of Mac-n-cheese baked & topped with Swiss cheese & bread crumbs served on bed of spinach. yellowfin ahi tuna is served blackened or grilled with lemon wasabi sauce; salmon your way is fresh Atlantic salmon baked, charbroiled or blackened; Cajun shrimp pasta is spiced with house Cajun seasoning tossed with linguine in Cajun cream sauce, topped with fresh diced tomatoes & green onions with side of garlic bread; Daks catfish is fillet rolled in southern style mix of flour & cornmeal then pan fried; grilled shrimp ala Daks is large shrimp skewered & basted with Italian herbs & spices slowly charbroiled.

    Armetta's Italian Grill & Pizzeria
    Entrees served with bread & butter; linguine or spaghetti with meatballs, sausage or meat sauce; ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese & topped with smooth tomato sauce; stuffed shells with ricotta cheese & topped with smooth tomato sauce; lasagna is layered pasta with meat sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, topped with parmiggiano cheese; bake ziti is tossed with meat sauce, & parmiggiano cheese & baked with parmiggiano cheese; spaghetti with eggplant pasta & fried eggplant, topped with smooth tomato sauce & parmiggiano cheese; eggplant parmigiana breaded & fried topped with smooth tomato sauce & parmiggiano cheese; penne al pomodoro is sautéed onions, fresh tomatoes & basil tossed with penne, finished with parmiggiano cheese; rigatoni vodka is flamed vodka, with bacon & fresh tomato cream sauce; fettuccine alfredo is tossed with butter cream sauce; spaghetti carbonara with sautéed onions, pancetta & eggs in light sauce; gnocchi Capri is tossed in tomato basil cream sauce, topped with mozzarella; penne belvedere is creamy meat sauce, peas & mushrooms; tortellini Armetta's is cheese filled & tossed in light cream sauce with onions, pancetta, parmigianno cheese & fresh parsley; tortellini Bolognese is creamy meat sauce, peas, sun-dried tomatoes & mozzarella cheese; chicken cacciatore is cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, celery, sweet bell peppers in chunky tomato sauce with pasta, same sauce; chicken champagne is dipped in egg, sautéed with onions & mushrooms, in champagne cream sauce, served with pasta, same sauce; chicken cordon bleu is stuffed with ham & mozzarella cheese, topped with bacon cream sauce, served with pasta, same sauce; chicken Florentine stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms & provolone, topped with garlic cream sauce served with pasta, same sauce; chicken marsala sautéed with mushrooms in marsala wine sauce, served with pasta same sauce; chicken parmigiana breaded & fried topped with smooth tomato sauce, mozzarella & parmiggiano cheese, served with pasta same sauce; penne rustica tossed with tomato basil cream sauce with diced chicken & bell peppers, parmiaggiano cheese & fresh parsley; seafood delight is shrimp, calamari, mussels & clams sautéed with white wine & garlic in white or red sauce, served over pasta; shrimp scampi is shrimp sautéed in garlic, butter & white wine sauce over pasta; shrimp fra diavolo is shrimp sautéed with garlic & white wine in spicy mild chopped tomato sauce over pasta; seafood gnocchi sautéed onions, shrimp & crab meat in light tomato cream sauce with mozzarella cheese; crab meat ravioli is house made ravioli stuffed with crab meat in tomato cream sauce; shrimp Armetta's is flamed vodka with jumbo shrimp, lumb crab meat, sun-dried & fresh tomatoes in light cream sauce over pasta; tilapia champagne is grilled & topped with sautéed onions & porcini mushrooms in champagne cream sauce served with side of pasta; linguine allo Scoglio is shrimp & clams sautéed with garlic in fresh diced tomato sauce; linguine al Granchio is jumbo lump crab meat in light cream sauce; stuffed flounder is filet stuffed with jumbo lump crab meat topped with light cream sauce.

 

Stuffed Chicken Daks Grill Dale City, Virginia

 

Steak Portobello Marsala Daks Grill Dale City, Virginia

 

Baked Penne Daks Grill Dale City, Virginia

 

 

 Lasagna Armetta's Italian Grill & Pizzeria Dale City, Virginia

 

Tortellini Bolognese Armetta's Italian Grill & Pizzeria Dale City, Virginia

 

Shrimp Fra Diavolo Armetta's Italian Grill & Pizzeria Dale City, Virginia

 

 

Hertz Car Rental Dale City

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    Rippon Lodge Rippon Lodge Prince William County, Virginia
    Rippon Lodge is presently the oldest house in Prince William County, Virginia that was constructed in 1747 by Richard Blackburn on a high spot that overlooks Neabsco Creek at its south end, in the area that is now called Woodbridge. The name of the house had obtained it from Blackburn's birthplace in the tiny city of Ripon in North Yorkshire, England. The marvelous house sits along the remains of the original Kings Highway which connected the thirteen colonies that stretches from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown and became a very important roadway during the Revolutionary War, including the time that the colonial army would march along the dirt road on its way to beat the British at Yorktown. The estate had been a tobacco plantation, with its vast land holdings going from Neabsco Creek west to the area that is now I-95, the eastern seaboard's major highway, stretching from Miami, Florida to Maine. It held 21,000 acres, with its own port on the Neabsco Creek and nearby Dumfries, which had been a significant colonial seaport. After Richard passed on, the house and estate would be passed on to his son, Colonel Thomas Blackburn, and later sold to the Atkinson family, in 1820, who would live there for the next century. The estate would be sold in 1924, to Judge and Mrs. Wade Ellis, who would renovate and then preserve the estate, and after living there a while, the judge discovered he was a descendant of the Blackburns, although when he found out is not known, nor how much it would influence his restoration projects. Later on, he would sell the estate to another Blackburn descendant, Admiral Richard Blackburn Black, who had explored the Arctic with Admiral Byrd. His daughter inherited the estate in 1989 and sold it to the county in 2000.

    Mount Vernon Museum Shop
    Mount Vernon Museum Shop Mount Vernon, VirginiaThe Mount Vernon Museum shop is also an online store that offers some of the finest gifts a person could want, offering outstanding books, a huge selection of 18th century related china, reproductions, jewelry, toys, linens, Christmas items, gardening goods and food, all designed for sale through the store that uses the money it gets to keep Mount Vernon in its pristine conditions for all the people of the United States. The store has a marvelous biography of Washington that was written by Ron Chernow, and has 904 pages that includes notes, index and bibliography, along with an excellent bookplate signed by the author himself and included in the purchase price. There are also videos, DVDs, CDs, furniture and home decor, teaching resources, a children's corner, gourmet gifts, and much more that is sure to make you and those you care about very happy to receive such marvelous gifts from a premier site.  Even more enjoyable would be a visit to the museum shop that offers you a close up and personal look at many of these magnificent pieces, that is much more than can be written about, since many of the reproductions include silverware, beautifully made chairs and other kinds of furniture.

avis discount rental car Dale City

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Ronald Reagan Intl. Apt. Avis Car Rental  - George Washington Memorial Dr.
Avis Car Rental Washington Dulles Apt.

 23480 Autopilot Dr.

Springfield Avis Rental Cars
- 6401 Branden Ave.
Avis Car Rental Manassas Mall -  8200 Sudley Rd.

    Woodlawn PlantationWoodlawn Plantation Fairfax County, Virginia
    Woodlawn Plantation in Fairfax County, Virginia is a very historic site that had been part of Mount Vernon, Washington's historic plantation estate which George would give to his step-granddaughter, Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis and his nephew, Major Lawrence Lewis in 1799 for a wedding present that contained about 2000 acres of land. President Washington then asked the prominent architect Dr. William Thornton, to design a house for the couple, after he had designed the Capitol building for the nation's capital. The house would begin construction in 1800 and completed by 1805, situated on a small hill that looks down on Mount Vernon, as well as the house located there. Currently there are only 126 acres surrounding the lovely mansion and beautiful gardens that are the only things left of the original. That had been slowly siphoned off and sold during the decades since. The estate is owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is open every day during the year, with numerous special events held from April until October. It would be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and become a National Historic Landmark in 1998. On part of the Woodland Plantation property, the site of the Loren Pope Residence can be seen which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. While the Lewis family lived on the estate, they would house about 100 workers with 90 of them being slaves. The Federal style house is gorgeous anytime of the night or day, with an outstanding silhouette in the night skies and lovely views in the daylight. The Lewis' son would later sell the property to two families of New Jersey origin and Pennsylvania that were Quakers, called the Gillinghams and the Troths. The families were ethically and morally against slavery, and made Woodlawn a free labor colony, selling plots of land to both whites and blacks, that came to farm, and they would employ only free workers just to showcase the nation that if slavery were abolished, that the many farms and plantations would mean the death of the Southern plantation economy. The excellent idea would become very controversial during its period and eventually become a target for raids and suspicion by the Confederate forces during the Civil War. The house would slowly deteriorate over the ensuing decades, and after the hurricane of 1896, it would be in dire conditions. In 1901, the playwright, Paul Kester purchased it and moved in with his mother, brother and their 60 cats, renovating the house to its prior condition. By 1905, Kester would move into Gunston Hall and then sell Woodland to Miss Elizabeth Sharpe, a Pennsylvania coal heiress that spent twenty years lovingly restoring the estate to a more contemporary ideal of what it once was. The final residential owners of the estate would be Senator and Mrs. Oscar Underwood of Alabama, and after she passed it would be bought by a private organization that would preserve it, until 1952, when it became the first historic site owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

    Occoquan Mill House Museum
    Occoquan Mill House Museum Occoquan, VirginiaThe Occoquan Mill House museum in Occoquan, Virginia houses an eclectic collection of photographs, documents and other various relics that pertain to the history of Occoquan and the area located around it. There are more than 400 pieces in this excellent collection that are catalogued, with most of it on display permanently and the strong photograph collection is a source of pride. Since many of the items are already on exhibit, there are still more that need to be catalogued and put on display, while those that have been catalogued include; 20% textiles and ceramics, 10% library and archival materials, 10% photos, 10% household goods, 10% scientific, technological or medical and the rest fall into various categories. The Mill House that houses this marvelous relics was constructed in the 18th century, by Quaker Nathaniel Ellicott after he bought what was left of the original iron works complex that had been started by John Ballantine in the 1750s and then converted to milling operations. His main mill was called Merchants Mill and it was very advanced for its time, and might have been the first automated gristmill in the nation. It would continue to be used in one way or another until 1924, and then a fire broke out in the generator at the Occoquan Electric Light and Power Company that would end up destroying the entire main structure, although, the little attached Mill house would come out untouched, it is where the mill's administrator worked, and would be neglected for decades to come. After many years, the Alexandria Water Company bought the mill house during the mid-1900s since it was starting to build the Occoquan dams. The company refurbished it to be used for office space, until its successor, the Fairfax Water Authority would turn the structure over to the town of Occoquan that turned around and leased it to the historical society to be used for a museum.

Thrifty Car Rental Dale City

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Washington Dulles Apt. Thrifty Rental Cars
 23320 Autopilot Dr.

Thrifty Car Rental Reagan Intl. Apt.- S. Park Bldg.
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    Manassas National Battlefield ParkManassas National Battlefield Park Prince William County, Virginia
    The Manassas National Battlefield Park in Prince William County, Virginia is just north of the city of Manassas and preserves the site of two important American Civil War battles, namely the First Battle of Bull Run that had been fought on July 21, 1861 and the Second Battle of Bull Run that had been fought between August 28 and August 30, 1862; which was also called the First and Second Battle of Manassas. The serene and quiet Virginia countryside would be torn apart by the battles as the Army of the North fought against the Army of the South, and also the site where General Thomas J. Jackson would get his famous nickname, "Stonewall". The national battlefield site shows where these valiant Americans fought against each other, welcoming over 900,000 visitors every year, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. By the south entrance of the park, sits the Henry Hill visitor center that provides excellent exhibits and interpretations of the battles, that include uniforms, field gear, an electronic battle map and weapons, a bookstore and the orientation film; Manassas: End of Innocence. Some of the marvelous historic sites available to visit on the park's fields include; Brawner's Farm where the beginning of the Second Battle began, Stone House that would be used as a hospital in both battles, the Robinson house that today sits amidst ruins and had been the home of freed slave, James Robinson, Stone Bridge where the Yankee soldiers would retreat after both of the battles, Battery Heights is where the Confederates would locate their batteries to fire on the Union troops as they began attacking from Brawner's Farm, Portici which had been the plantation of Francis Lewis that is also in the middle of ruins, and had been the headquarters for the Confederacy during the second battle, Matthews Hill where the first opening part of the First Battle would be fought, Chinn Ridge that sits across from Hazel Plain, where General James Longstreet's huge counterattack in the second battle happened and a trail heads off to a large boulder where Union colonel Fletcher Webster, the son of famed orator Daniel Webster, fell after leading a failed attempt to stop the counterattack, the unfinished railroad grade is where Jackson had his men wait before the Second Battle after they had captured Pope's supply depot, Hazel Plain was the plantation of the Chinn family also fallen into ruins with just the foundation showing, the Deep cut where Pope would launch the majority of his attacks against the grade, New York monuments where the 5th New York Zouaves would lose 123 men in just five minutes and Groveton, the extinct Civil War village with just a frame house standing there that is where Lucinda Dugan lived in.

    Williams Ordinary
    Williams Ordinary Dumfries, Virginia
    The Williams Ordinary, a place for ordinary food and a place to lay your head, is considered to have been constructed in the 1760s, but the exact date is unknown, although its symmetrical facade showcases header bond, a brick pattern that has been rarely seen in this region. It would become one of the most significant structures in the colonial village of Dumfries, a bare reflection of the port's riches and prominence. The structure has become known as the Williams Ordinary, but the available records haven't been found that state whether or not the local tavern keeper, George Williams would occupy the structure during the 18th century. During its history though, its name has changed many times to reflect the ownership since it has been referred to as the Brick Tavern, the Stagecoach Inn, Love's Hotel and Old Love's Tavern; with continued research still going on.

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    Mount VernonMount Vernon Alexandria, Virginia
    Mount Vernon, close to Alexandria, Virginia, was the plantation of the first President of the United States, George Washington, with the mansion constructed of wood in a neoclassical Georgian style that sits on the banks of the Potomac River, constructed in 1757 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1960 and became a National Historic Landmark the same year. It is owned and maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, open for tours every day of the year. Augustine Washington had owned the estate and called it Little Hunting Creek Plantation since the Little Hunting Creek flowed nearby. Lawrence Washington, George's older half-brother, had inherited the estate and renamed it Mount Vernon in honor of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon, famous for the War of Jenkin's Ear and the capture of Portbelo, Colon, since Vernon had been Lawrence's commanding officer while he was in the British navy, and had greatly admired the man. After George inherited the property, he kept the name. In 1674, John Washington and Nicolas Spencer acquired the land that would sprout Mount Vernon eventually, but at the time, the patent on the large tract was due to Spencer, who was acting agent for his cousin, Thomas Colepeper, 2nd Baron Colepeper, the English landowner that had gained control of the Northern neck of Virginia. John passed on in 1677, leaving his son, Lawrence, George's grandfather, the property that had been put in his name. He would agree to formally divide the tract in 1690, which held 5000 acres, with the heirs of Spencer who died in 1689. The Spencers would occupy the larger southern half that bordered Dogue Creek in 1674 from Lord Colepeper, while the Washingtons would acquire the parcel along the Little Hunting Creek. The Spencer heirs would pay Lawrence 2500 pounds of tobacco for compensation because of the difference. When Lawrence passed on, he left the land to his daughter, Mildred, but by 1726, she would be urged by her brother, Augustine Washington, the father of George, to sell him the Potomac River land. In 1735, he moved his young second family into the estate, finally choosing to settle in a quarter along the Little Hunting Creek. Augustine would recall his oldest son, Lawrence, George's half-brother, back home from the Appleby School in England so that he could be set up on the family's Little Hunting Creek tobacco plantation, so that Augustine could move his family back to Fredericksburg in the end of 1739. Lawrence reached his 21st birthday in 1739, and started buying up plots of land from the Spencer tract and starting with the land around the grist mill on Dogue Creek, and in the summer of 1740, he would get a coveted officer's commission in the Regular British army. He started his preparations to head to war in the Caribbean with the recently formed American regiment, which included ensuring that his father had complete legal control over the lands that he had bought from the Spencers. When he was gone, he wrote home telling his father that if he should survive the war, he planned on building a town house on one of the three plots he owned in Fredericksburg, in May 1741. As this marvelous history unfolds, it is a story well worth reading until its end, since there would be a controversy arise between the Spencers and some of their neighbors that would end up in court and a new survey undertook that showed the original grant only held 4200 acres and not the 5000 mentioned earlier.

    Neabsco Iron Works
    Neabsco Iron Works northern VirginiaThe Neabsco Iron Works would be the first iron works in the northern area of Virginia, started in 1737 by John Taylor, a rich Virginia land owner that already owned numerous iron works, as well as a partnership in the close by Occoquan Iron Works. This site had 3-5000 acres of trees that could be used for firewood and charcoal, with great deposits of iron ore. The Neabsco Creek located nearby would be perfect for plenty of running water and a decent fall for the iron works. The proposed site was just at the right place, with a deep enough creek so that pig iron could be transported by boat to Neabsco Harbor, less than a mile downstream, where it lay on the Potomac River. There, the iron would be transferred to ocean going ships and taken to other ports of call. The site was also close to the main thorough fare, Kings Highway, but the ore located at the site was of low quality which meant that the majority of the ore would have to be boated in from Taylor's mines in Maryland. The majority of the work was done by indentured servants and slaves, until it had to shut down because it wasn't able to compete with the cheaper iron that was being produced in the north. It had also depleted most of its cheap fire wood since it would take a half acre of timber to produce one ton of iron. There isn't much left of the works today, since the forests have reclaimed much of their slopes, with a few pits, stones from the furnaces and other structures, as well as slag. The roads seem to be intact, with several areas having eroded away; and it has never become a protected site.

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May 12, 2011