Formed in 1742, Fairfax County was named for Thomas, the sixth Lord Fairfax. Patriots and farmers George Washington and George Mason had homes in Fairfax County. Mount Vernon was George Washington?s home for more than 45 years. The estate covered more than 8,000 acres and was divided into five farms. Washington designed the Mansion House as a gentleman?s country home and created a self-contained community on his estate. Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason, was designed and built by William Buckland. George Mason was the author of the Fairfax Resolves, the first Constitution of Virginia and the Virginia Declaration of Rights, upon which the U.S. Bill of Rights is based.
Other historical sites include Washington?s 1772 Grist Mill on Dogue Creek and Woodlawn Plantation. Woodlawn, now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was the home of George Washington?s granddaughter Nelly. The customs and culture of plantation life are illustrated here. The Collingwood Library and Museum on Americanism houses more than 5,000 volumes on our nation?s heritage and flags from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the armed services, Bennington and the National Colors.
Pohick Church was built in 1774 with George Washington, George Mason and George William Fairfax on the building committee. On a more contemporary note, the Pope-Leighey House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was completed in 1942. Today, it is on the same grounds as the Woodlawn Plantation and, with its modern compact design, is a marked contrast to the sprawling plantation house.
Fort Hunt Park in Mount Vernon was once part of George Washington?s River Farm. Now, this public recreation area offers playgrounds, trails and picnic areas. Other community parks offer ball fields, tennis courts, pools and ice skating rinks.
Fairfax County parks cover more than 30,000 acres. Huntley Meadows Park is one of the area?s best wildlife watching locations. Over 1,400 acres of forests, meadows and wetlands are home to a wide variety of mammals, amphibians and insects including beavers, frogs, deer, herons and butterflies.
Pohick Bay Regional Park offers camping, hiking, riding trails, picnic areas, a golf course, a boat ramp and a wildlife refuge. Other parks include Great Falls National Park, Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge, Mason Neck State Park, Meadowlark Gardens Regional Park, and the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park. Green Spring Gardens, which was once a plantation, is a 27-acre park that features demonstration gardens which include a kitchen garden, a wildflower garden, rock garden and a wildlife garden.
Fairfax County is the home to the country?s only national park with a performing arts emphasis. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts houses the open-air Filene Center and enclosed Barns for entertainment throughout the year. Fairfax County is also famous for its vast shopping areas that include large malls, upscale stores, boutiques, shops, restaurants, and outlet centers. The Baltimore Orioles baseball, Washington Capitals hockey, Washington Wizards basketball, DC United soccer, and Washington Redskins football teams can all be found nearby.
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