The George Washington Parkway starts at the MD/VA border on the Virginia side, at 495. Do you know where it ends and what’s at the end? If you guessed George Washington, you’re right! His house and his tomb are at the very end!
Most of Alexandria / Fairfax County is south of 495 with some parts inside the beltway. It stretches along the edge of the City of Alexandria, up toward Bailey’s Crossroads. I95 is on the west side, the Potomac River on the east and Southern boundary is Fort Belvoir. Right in the middle is a huge park – Huntley Meadows Park.
The oldest original developments in all of Fairfax County Alexandria were along the Potomac River. Part of Fairfax County was ceded to the be part of the capital city. It was Alexandria County of the District of Columbia. When it retroceded back to Virginia, that became the City of Alexandria and the rest was Alexandria – Fairfax County. And that’s what we’re talking about today. It has an Alex mailing address, but a totally separate gov’t from the City portion of Alexandria.
Did You Know?
No one moves to Alexandria in Fairfax County because they want to sell their car. The roads are large and wide, the traffic is bad, and make no mistake this is the burbs. This isn’t the city anymore. Individual neighborhoods have walkability here, but not city-type walkability. You aren’t walking to eat dinner for the most part, just walking around your neighborhood. Speaking of neighborhoods…
We won’t go into detail on each but will mention a few points about most of the larger ones. First, the neighborhoods on the northern end that are inside the beltway include Lincolnia Heights / Weyanoke / Bren Mar Park area west of Landmark. This area is called, you guessed it, Lincolnia.
Western Side of the county:
Franconia – residential neighborhood with access to retail at Springfield Town Center, plus Manchester Lakes Shopping Center which has a bunch of restaurants and an Amazon Fresh grocery.
Windsor Estates & Kingstowne – a planned community started in the 1980’s – of retail, apartments, condos, townhomes and single family homes. There’s tons of retail here. The “town center” is a huge mega shopping center.
Winslow Hills, Wilton Woods – northern part of Alexandria just south of the beltway, mostly residential single family homes.
Rose Hill & Virginia Hills – developed mid-century, these are unassuming Mid Century Homes, some apartments near the shopping center at Telegraph and Rose Hill Drive. Rose Hill has a Civic Association and 2 pools in the neighborhood. Greendale Golf Course is also here, one of a few courses managed by Fairfax Park Authority.
Groveton / Valley View / Woodley Hills / Hybla Valley (high-bla) – just south of VA Hills, suburban communities off Route 1, retail is on the Route 1 corridor and also home to Fairfax County’s largest park – Huntley Meadows.
Eastern Side of Alexandria:
Huntington – where end of yellow line metro is, many high rise apartments/condos where much of the Huntington residents live.
Jefferson Manor / Fair Haven – Just where Route 1 crosses S Kings Hwy and a lot of retail here.
Belle Haven / Belle View / Westgrove – Belle Haven was named for the settlers in the 1700’s and passed through a few families before the first home being built at 6041 Woodmont Road in 1928.
Belle Haven – eastern edge off Route 1 next to the Potomac has its own shopping/retail area. Because of it’s location, won’t surprise you to know it’s low-lying and in high rains it can flood (as does Old Town) Includes the community of New Alexandria, which has homes, condos and a shopping center.
Hollin Hills – a mid-century neighborhood designed by architect Charles Goodman.
Mt Vernon – GW’s house is here at the end of the parkway but it’s also used to describe the unincorporated areas in this part of Alexandria. Truth is, all of this used to belong to George and Martha. Woodlawn Manor was originally part of Mt Vernon but George and Martha gave it to their granddaughter.
Not only does Alexandria have a lot of neighborhoods, but it has a lot of houses. Virginia doesn’t control growth and development as strictly as other metro DC Areas. (looking at you Maryland). Your money goes a lot farther here. Alexandria has every residential type of real estate you could want and every price point to go with it.
You can find some super cute rambler houses on ¼ acre in the mid $500’s in places like Rose Hill and Virginia Hills. The prices go into the $700’s and $800’s for larger houses in surrounding areas like Wilton Woods. And you’ll see houses well into the $1M’s in many neighborhoods like North Mt Vernon, Belle Haven, Fort Hunt, Yacht Haven – near the Potomac.
Real Estate is newer in Kingstowne area, late 90’s and 2000’s – and $700’s+ for TH’s and houses. The only high rise condos are in Huntington / Belle Haven, everything else condo-wise is garden style
A little less fancy than the offerings in Alexandria City / ITB. Most everything is off Route 1 / Richmond Highway
- The Haven (pizza and beer!) in Belle Haven
- The Custard Shack – desserts.
- Tippy’s Taco House in Huntington
- Bob & Edith’s Diner (local fave) right next door to Tippy’s
- Mamma’s Kitchen (greek and italian ) right off Route 1 just south of Woodley Hills
- El Paso for tex mex; Route 1
- real mex at Tacos El Costalilla – Hybla Valley
- Uncle C’s Chicken and Waffles
- Mrs. Donut
- Nalls Produce for all your garden needs, plus you can buy fresh veg and milk from local farms in their market.
- Sea Boil Crab House – Woodley Hills
- Thai Nakorn – Route 1
Huntley Meadows Park – the land this sits on was once a dairy farm and was supposed to become an airport. But those plans were abandoned and now it’s Huntley Meadows park – trails, picnics
The Mount Vernon Trail is 17-mile paved multi-use trail that stretches from George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate to Theodore Roosevelt Island. It connects with regional trails. You’ve likely seen it if you’ve driven down the GW Parkway. There are great views as it goes through Arlington & Alex City, but then it gets more wooded as it gets into Alexandria – FFX County.
Recreation Centers through Fairfax County – Neighborhood Recreation Centers like Waynewood which is only open to those in the neighborhood geographic boundaries and has a 4-5 year waiting list right now.
Stratford Rec Association is also a neighborhood pool & tennis rec center with geographic limits in N Mt Vernon
Kingstowne & Manchester Lakes also have neighborhood rec centers. Don’t feel left out though if you’re not in these neighborhoods.
FFX county has 9 rec centers and 3 are in Alexandria. George Washington Rec Center in Woodley Hills is run by Fairfax County as well as Mount Vernon Rec Center which is in Belle Haven / Belle View. Another in Groveton – Lee District Rec Center.
Other parks and green space not mentioned are Muddy Hole just south of Huntley – field / tennis / playground, Mt Vernon Woods Park with a playground, Lee District Park – trails, sports areas and playground and Mt Vernon District Park.
Fairfax County Virginia has one of the best school systems in the country. Fairfax County allocates 52% of its budget to schools. Great Schools – 4, 5, 6, but that doesn’t always hold true for Alexandria. Many of the individual schools have great reviews, but note that the online scores pertain specifically to test scores. The neighborhood schools have a really strong sense of community with the name of the school usually tied to the neighborhood it serves.
There are parks all over for doggies!
- Westgrove Dog Park in Belle View
- Blackjack dog park in Groveton off Route 1
- Woodlawn Village Dog Park
- Woodlawn Manor has Grist Mill Dog Park