Looking to hike a piece of history? These scenic historic trails in Prince William, VA will enable you to experience Ameican History ranging from George Washington's fabled cherry tree to modern-day Marine history. History-lovers will enjoy this 2-day itinerary through DC's historic countryside.
Morning: Your day begins with a somber walk through the National Museum of the Marine Corps’ Semper Fidelis Memorial Park. With over a mile of walking trail, the park has memorials and bricks dedicated to the service of all Marines. See over 40 monuments and memorials along the path and stop at the three overlooks to reflect and contemplate the freedom provided to Americans by these valiant Marines.
Travel north on historic Route 1 to Dumfries where you’ll stop at the Weems-Botts Museum. Once the law office of Benjamin Botts, Aaron Burr’s youngest defense lawyer during his treason trial in 1807, this quaint home has a wonderful story to tell, which the guides can do outside or inside the home. The house was also used as a bookshop for the creator of the George Washington cherry tree story, Mason Locke “Parson” Weems. Within a short walking distance of the museum is a 17th-century cemetery, which can be included as part of your tour.
Lunch: After a busy morning, head north to Woodbridge for lunch outside at Stonebridge at Potomac Towne Center. Of the many restaurants to choose from, most of them have outdoor seating. If you’d rather go at your own pace, grab something to-go and eat in the large public plaza with a number of café style tables and chairs. From Uncle Julio’s Mexican and Brew Republic Bierwerks craft brewery to P.F. Chang’s and Brixx Wood Fire Pizza, there’s a cuisine to please nearly any appetite.
Afternoon: Put your walking shoes on this afternoon for a trip along the Potomac National Heritage Trail. Part of this enormous trail network passes through eastern Prince William County, including a phenomenal ¾ mile boardwalk over the Neabsco Creek and surrounding marsh. With breathtaking views and fabulous wildlife spotting, you’ll get lost in the tranquility of this special spot. For a quick diversion during your jaunt, you will want to visit Rippon Lodge, the second oldest home in Prince William County and conveniently located along the trail.
Evening: After your time on the water, enjoy lunch at one of the over dozen restaurants in town. From hidden gems like the Secret Garden Café to views of the river at Madigan’s Waterfront, you’ll find a place to calm any craving in town. A trip to Occoquan also wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the dozens of stores to find a special treasure for you or someone you know. You’ll find quaint fashion boutiques, antique stores, homemade bakeries and confectioners, and a gamut of other charming shops during your leisurely stroll through town.
Places to Stay
Morning: Keep your hiking shoes on as you head to Manassas for a jaunt through historic Manassas National Battlefield Park. This over 5,000-acre park features over 40 miles of hiking paths with two trails dedicated to the First and Second Battles of Manassas. The serene atmosphere the park provides is a great place to reflect on the impactful history that occurred here over 150 years ago. Don’t to take your picture with General “Stonewall” Jackson atop Henry Hill.
Lunch: Just down the street from Manassas National Battlefield is City Grille, a local favorite restaurant, and sports bar. Known for their comfort food in generous portions, their friendly and welcoming staff will make your dining experience memorable. Enjoy your meal on their large tiki bar inspired patio.
Afternoon: About a mile down the street is Ben Lomond Historic Site, one of the field hospitals used after the Battle of First Manassas. A guided tour of the house always begins outside, including one of the few remaining slave quarters still intact in Northern Virginia. Also on-site is an antique rose garden with historical panels throughout the property to create an educational and relaxing visit.