The weather is starting to cool down a little bit, but the humidity and bugs are still fighting us aren't they? We just need to hold out a little bit longer for those to finally leave us, but the weekends as we approach October and Fall are perfect for outdoor adventures! One of my favorite places to take the kids is also one of my favorite free places to go!! The River Farm is located in Alexandria, Virginia and is only a hop, skip and a jump from Mount Vernon; and was once part of George Washington's five original farm properties. It also just happens to be the headquarters for the American Horticulture Society.
There are so many cool things to see here, and I love trying to visit during the different seasons because it changes so much. While you visit you can see White House gates that were at the WH in 1820, a teaching garden, a children's garden, a really cool meadow that my kids call a maze, and all sorts of fun little things. The beautiful Manor on the estates has a lower level open to the public, and sometimes features rotating displays from artists. The River Farm would also make a beautiful wedding venue. I'm imagining the pictures one could take and its so beautiful in my mind. The stunning views of the Potamac alone are just beautiful.
At the gift shop on-site you can peruse items from local makers, which is just another cool part of coming to visit this place. Homemade soaps, wooden bowls, stained glass and all sorts of gardening supplies for children are there. What I also love about the River Farm is that they want to preserve and encourage gardening for and to the next generation. I definitely consider it a dying art. It is something I remember my grandmother doing, and unlike her love of crochet, the gardening didn't stick. But its on my list of things to get back into because I think it is a valuable thing for children.
Visiting the farm is free, and so is parking. However, we always leave a donation when we go to visit. I encourage you to check out this really neat, and I believe undervalued 'Site to See' in the DC/VA area.