A very unexpected highlight of my trip to the USA earlier this year was a visit to Great Falls Park in Virginia.
I was staying with my friends Lora and Chris, who live just outside DC, and was feeling a bit “citied-out” after a week in New York. When Lora asked if I felt like a couple of hours in a National Park I immediately said yes. This was my third visit to DC and I had no idea that such a gorgeous place was so close and on the banks of the Potomac.
It is at Great Falls that the Potomac flows over many steep and jagged boulders through a narrow gorge, creating a spectacular scene for picnicking locals and camera wielding tourists. In 1784 George Washington (yes, THAT George Washington) presided over the Patowmack Company to construct a series of five canals to stimulate trade between the East and the Ohio Valley. The canal system was completed in 1802, yet only in operation for 26 years. Some of the remnants of the canal can still be seen today.
Many things impressed me about this park. The scenery obviously, but also that it is a trash (rubbish) free park. This means that bins are not provided, and all trash needs to be taken out when departing. What really impressed me is that I didn’t see ANY litter anywhere in the park. How fab is that??
What didn’t impress me were some of the stupid people ignoring the barricades and the signs that said to stay away from the river’s edge. I can’t imagine anyone volunteering to jump in to rescue anyone who slipped or fell. That water was moving at an incredible pace, and those rocks looked evil!
I am a huge fan of the United States National Park Service and try and visit at least one on each trip to the US. Given this visit was mainly to cities, I didn’t expect to have the opportunity to explore some of the wondrous nature that many forget to associate with the US. There are 59 National Parks in the US, the first created was Yellowstone, back in 1872. I’m yet to visit that one. Maybe next time.
If you visit DC be sure to squeeze in a visit to Grand Falls Park. It’s a beautiful respite from a busy city.
Great Falls Park, Virginia
George Washington Memorial Parkway
Turkey Run Park
McLean VA 22101 USA
Have you visited any National Parks in the USA? Which was your favourite?
Note: This post is part of Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures’ A – Z Guidebook Travel Link Up, a monthly get together where bloggers get to navigate the alphabet, talking about the one special place and photo that best represents the nominated letter of the month. This month is G.