From our hotel in Rosslyn (Arlington, just across the Potomac River from Georgetown and The Mall), we can head out on several bicycle/walking paths. The Custis Trail follows highway 66 into Norther Virginia, the Heritage Trail (hiking only) follows the Potomac River 10 miles to the American Legion Bridge (aka the Beltway), crossing over the Key Bridge to Georgetown the C & O Canal footpath will take you 100+ miles to Harper’s Ferry, WV and Cumberland, MD. We turned south for a mile or so along the GW Parkway bicycle and walking path.
Your neck will be stiff to the left side, for the best views are across the river, on your left side. First there is Roosevelt Island, a nice stroll cross a foot bridge. The white bark of a sycamore tree caught my eye in the sharp morning light. Igor the parking lot that you must pass through to continue down the path.
Then you are into grassy slopes between the pathway and the GW Parkway traffic. River fed trees shade the path in warmer seasons. The tidal mud-flats stretch out into the channel as the water flows out with the tides a hundred miles away at the junction of the Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Beach outlet. In the morning, the breezes are still and water calm for reflections of the Monuments that line the Mall across the river.
We had only an hour or so on foot. If you had all day, you could walk a dozen miles down the path to Washington’s homes, passing both River Farm, and ending at Mount Vernon. River Farm is now the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. Mount Vernon is open to the public, with a museum, gardens, and of course the house. Stay a while, and walk back the next day. George was always welcoming to guests and travelers (hence the distillery at Mount Vernon.)