Gravelly Point

I stopped at Gravelly Point yesterday and happened to have my camera bag with me. I was dropping off my daughter at National Airport and had an opportunity to stop and take a few photos.

Departing Southwest flight.

When I moved to the DC area in 1986, I lived in Arlington, VA for the first several years. I was working shift work, so I had the opportunity to bicycle during the week when the trails weren’t crowded. One of the trails I frequented was the Mt. Vernon trail, which spans from the Arlington Memorial Bridge to George Washington’s Mt. Vernon. It is a 17 mile ride each way that takes you through Old Town Alexandria, Arlington Memorial Cemetery and across some plank bridges suspended over beautiful meadows. My favorite stop was always at Gravelly Point, which is located on the banks of the Potomac.

Plane departing National with two arriving behind it.

Gravelly Point sits at the end of the largest runway at National Airport. Depending on the winds, the planes are so low you feel like you could reach out and touch them. Honestly, I think it is one of the best kept secrets in DC, as most of the visitors are local and you don’t see many tourists there (fine by me). During my younger years, I would stop when bicycling and lay on the ground watching the planes fly over me. It was a relaxing moment in an otherwise hectic area. I’m not sure you can really get this close to air traffic anywhere else in the US.

Departing American flight.

If you come to DC and decide to check it out, I never said nothing.


 “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”

– Langston Hughes
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