Alexandria -- Falls Church -- Tyson's Corner -- Leesburg -- Purcenville -- Berryville -- Winchester; 71.3m. State 7.
Asphalt-paved roadbed throughout. Washington & Old Dominion Ry. parallels route between Falls Church and Bluemont. All types of accommodations.
Most northerly east-west route in Virginia, State 7 follows in general the eighteenth-century wagon road that became a turnpike in the 1820's and 1830's between Alexandria and Winchester. A hilly, suburban section changes west of Tyson's Comer into rolling pastureland, where prosperous dairy farms and cornfields alternate with wooded stretches. Many large estates, with white fenced meadows for fancy horses, give an air of rural fashion to the area around Leesburg. West of Leesburg the road winds and dips as it rises to a rolling plateau between low Clark's Gap and the Blue Ridge. Stone houses are scattered through this section, and near the Ridge stone fences predominate around fields used for orchards, general farming, and stock raising. West of Snicker's Gap the route drops abruptly to the Shenandoah before rising and falling gently through the horse-raising area around Berryville and stonewalled orchards nearer Winchester.
State 7 branches northwest from US I (see Tour 1 a) at King and Washington Sts. in ALEXANDRIA, 0 m.
At 2.8 m. is a junction with Braddock Road.
Left here about 200 yards to a junction with Quaker Lane; L. here to EPISCOPAL HIGH SCHOOL (R), 0.2 m., occupying a group of brick buildings on a hill from which there is a wide view of distant Washington. The school was founded in 1839 and prepares about 225 boys for college. The central structure, stuccoed like several others near it, is a former residence, built about 1785 by one of the Alexander families. The flat-roofed Doric portico in Greek Revival style must have been a later addition. The drawing room contains excellent woodwork in Adamesque style.
On Quaker Lane is the PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (R), 0.4 m., second in the United States only to the seminary in New York City in age and size. Its large group of buildings in stone or brick, ponderously Gothic and Romanesque and dominated by a pagoda-like tower, stands in a grove of oaks. The seminary was founded in 1823 in Alexandria, largely through efforts of a society organized five years earlier under the influence of DrWilliarn H. Wilmer, the Reverend William Meade, and Francis Scott Key. In 1827 the seminary was moved to the present site. About 70 students are enrolled. At the seminary is kept the alms basin from the church that served Jamestown in the seventeenth century.
BAILEY'S CROSSROADS, 5.6 m., a store-girt intersection, was named for a family one of whose members was the partner of P.T.Barnum, the circus impresario.
At 7.8 m. is a junction with US 50 (see Tour 12).
FALLS CHURCH, 8.8 m. (364 alt., 3,8oo pop.) (see Tour 4a), is at a junction with US 29-211. At 12.9 m. is a junction with State 9.
Right here to SALONA (R), 3.9 m., known locally as 'the Smoot House,' a large red brick structure, with a gabled roof. Built in 18oi for the Reverend William Maffit, the house sheltered President and Mrs.Madison when Washington was occupied by the British in 1814. Fleeing from the White House on the afternoon of August 24, and lugging with her among other things the Declaration of Independence and Stuart's portrait of George Washington, Dolly crossed the Potomac by the Chain Bridge, followed back roads, and stopped at the first large house. Mrs. Maffit took her in, loaded a musket, and ordered slaves to bar the doors. Later the President himself turned up with Mr. Maffit and several cabinet members. The company interrupted supper to watch the fire that gutted the White House and other public buildings in the Capital. President Madison soon left Salona, but Dolly stayed on. From October 1861 until the following April, the house was headquarters for General McClellan.
RIDGELAWN (R), 4.2 m., an ivy-draped stone house in Hollywood style within a walled garden, is the home of Percy Crosby, cartoonist and creator of 'Skippy.'
At 4.7 tn. is a junction with County 604, the old Georgetown Turnpike, in LANC, LEY (114 pop.), a scattered rural community. L. here to SCOTT'S RUN, 2.7 M., cascading toward the Potomac. A dirt road (R), 3.1 m., leads down to a GOLD MINE (dosed to visitors) on Bull Neck Run near the river. Gold was discovered in Maryland opposite this point in 1864, when a regiment of soldiers washing their skillets in the creek found traces of 'color.' Developed soon after the war, it continued in operation until 1896. It still yields a small amount of 'flour gold.'
The DOWER HOUSE (R), 3.2 m., is a simple, two-story structure by the ruins of an older stone building. During the early days of the War between the States this structure was set afire by Confederates who mistook it for the home of James W. Jackson, who had killed the Union Colonel Elmer Ellsworth while defending a Confederate flag flying over his Alexandria hotel. Jackson in turn was shot down by Ellsworth's men.
MISS MADEIRA'S SCHOOL (R), 4.3 m., occupying II neo-Georgian buildings, in the midst of whitefenced woods and meadow, is a finishing school for girls.
The entrance (R) to GREAT FALLS PARK (feefor parking car 250, adm.for hikers ioo) is at 5.6 m. At the end of a dirt road through laurel-dotted woodland are the GREAT FALLS OF THE POTOMAC, a surprising volume of water lashing its way down a great cascade over wild heaps of rock before rushing on through a granite gorge. Near by are the stone RUINS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON'S IRON FOUNDRY AND MILL. Water continues to flow down the millrace from a section of the old Potomac Canal. Fostered by Washington and opened in i8oo, the canal bore more than $ro,ooo,ooo worth of goods before being superseded by the more ambitious Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in 1825. Four of the five locks, lying three quarters of a mile to the south, are easily reached by trail.
County 604 continues to a junction with State 7 at DRANESVILLE, 11.3 M. (see below).
On State 9, 7.3 m. from State 7, is CHAIN BRIDGE (L), built in 1938 on the site of a series of bridges, the first of which was constructed in 1797. It was from the method of construction used for the third that successors have been named.
The entrance Q to ASH GROVE is at 14 m. Among the remains of a grove of ash trees, stands the cream-painted frame house, with dormers along its gabled roof. A low rear wing is the hunting lodge built about 17oo by Thomas, Lord Fairfax. H and L hinges, brass locks, hand-hewn beams, and the ripple glass of the windowpanes attest its age. The rest of the structure was built a little later. On the lawn, among holly and boxwood dating from the Fairfax regime, is the well-preserved brick kitchen.
DRANESVILLE, 21.6 m. (100 pop.), a vague community of houses in rolling country, wooded and white-fenced, is the area around a junction with the old Georgetown Turnpike (see above). There was a skirmish here on December 20, 1861, called the Battle of Dranesville, in which General E.O.C.Ord forced General J.E.B.Stuart to retire. On June 27, 1863, after an engagement at Upperville, General Stuart led three brigades through Dranesville on their way to cross the Potomac and join General Early in Pennsylvania.
DRANESVILLE TAVERN (L), 22.5 m., close to the highway, is a gray weatherboarded building dating back in part perhaps to 1720. It was a popular stop in stagecoach days.
BROAD RUN BRIDGE, 27.3 m., carrying the highway on its humped back across the stream here, was built in 182o, according to a date on one of the massive stone buttresses. Wooden bridges, frequently repaired or rebuilt, spanned the water at this point before 1759, when the earliest of many similar records tells of repairs. There was an order in 1771 'to build a bridge at the usual place' over Broad Run for X15o. From the garden (open, adm. summer ioo) of the little whitewashed stone TOLL HOUSE (L) there is a full view of the sturdy bridgeside.
BELMONT (L), 30.7 m., a red brick mansion half overgrown with ivy, stands on a tree-shaded hill surrounded by rolling white-fenced fields. With a formal porch centered on the facade below a small Palladian window and flat stone arches heading the other window openings, the gabled main section is linked gracefully by long passages to a pair of low dependencies. This house was built about 18oo bv Ludwell Lee (1760-1836). During a reception for La Fayette here in 1825, when Coton, the home of Thomas Ludwell Lee, stood near by, slaves in a double line with flaming torches lighted the way between the two houses. A marble mantel at Belmont attests the gratitude felt by the Marquis after his return to France. Sold soon after 1836 and turned into a girls' school, the mansion became a residence again about 1905.
GOOSE CREEK BRIDGE, 32.3 m., is another of the few stone spans in Virginia more than 100 years old.
LEESBURG, 35.8 m. (330 alt., 1,640 POP.) (see Tour 3a), is at a junction with US 15.
CLARK'S GAP, 39.1 m., affording a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains northwestward beyond wide, rich lowlands, is at a junction with State 238.
Right here to County 662, 0.7 m., and R. to WATERFORD, 3.6 m. (256 pop.), the oldest settlement in Loudoun County, dozing between low hills that roll down to meadows along a lazy creek. Old houses -- white frame or red brick -- are set along anelike streets. A stone Mill that has produced waterground meal for more than 100 years stands at the edge of the village, which was named for Waterford in Ireland, the native town of Asa Moore, who built his house here in 1733.
Right from Waterford 0.3 m. on County 698 to the abandoned FAIRFAX MEETING HOUSE, in fork with County 665 (L), a barnlike structure of roughhewn stone. The building was erected about 1868 and replaced a meeting house built here in 1740.
HAMILTON, 42.6 m. (500 POP.), is a settlement of trim white dwellings in broad yards-shallow barriers that hold back the fields. The village was named for James Hamilton (1720-75), one of the first local landholders.
A TOLL GATE LODGE (R), 43.8 m., a little stone hut at the road's edge, is one of a few surviving stations at which tolls were once collected.
At 44.3 m. is a junction with County 722.
Lef t here is LINCOLN, 1.7 m. (101 pop.), a few frame houses and a store that form a hamlet begun in the 1730's by Friends from Pennsylvania. Here is Goose Creek Meeting, the only Quaker meeting to survive in Loudoun County, which grew out of the prayers Jacob Janney's wife, Hannah, offered up twice weekly under the trees in the forest. The first meeting house, built shortly after 1736, was replaced in 1765 by the SECOND GOOSE CREEK MEETING HOUSE (R), a stone building, now a dwelling, beside a stone-walled cemetery. The THIRD MEETING HOUSE (L), a large red brick structure in use today, was erected in 1817.
PURCELLVILLE, 45 m. (700 POP.), with rather standoffish houses behind hedge-bound lawns, is a marketing center with a crowded little block of stores. Here every October is held the Loudoun County Fair. At the town's western edge (L) is the LOUDOUN GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB (9 hole course; greensfee $I, Sun. $1 .50).
Right from Purcellville on County 690 is HILLSBORO, 5.2 m., its one street curving among scattered houses, white frame alternating with gray stone. Here in 1831 was born Susan Koerner, mother of Wilbur and Orville Wright, whose experiments with heavier-than-air craft made aviation practicable.
Left from Hillsboro 5.3 m. on State 238, through pleasantly remote farm lands, to KEY'S GAP (987 alt.), where the highway crosses the West Virginia line 8 miles east of Charles Town (see West Virginia Guide). This was called Vestal's Gap in Colonial times for John Vestal, who ran a ferry across the Shenandoah below the ridge. Near by lived 'Edw. Thomson, ye Quaker,' whose home was a welcome stopping place for weary travelers jouncing over the rough road. On April 6, 1754, Major George Washington with his troops passed here, setting down 'expences of the Regt. at Edw. Thomson's marching up' and 'Bacon for do. of John Vestal & Ferriages.' In 11755 Sir Peter Halket, leading a detachment of Braddock's troops on the ill-fated expedition against the French at Fort Duquesne, stopped here, and noted, 'Mr.Thomson's, the Quaker, wh. is 3,000 wt. corn.' The present name honors Francis Scott Key of Georgetown.
ROUND HILL, 47.9 m. (557 alt., 359 POP.), overlooks the prosperous scene of trim farming country. The village, with a few stores in its middle, is strewn about the highway beneath the shade of plentiful trees.
At 51.5 m. is a junction with State 245.
Left here steeply to BLUEMONT, 0.4 m., a handful of houses and a store or two at the foot of the mountain whose slopes are covered with hepatica in the spring. Until 19oc, the hamlet was called Snickersville. Glimpsed through the trees on the mountainside are many summer homes of Washington's official and diplomatic set.
SNICKER'S GAP, 52.5 m. (I,I5o alt.), is on the crest of the Blue Ridge. A trail (L) leads into BEAR DEN PARK (open 9-5, May to Oct.; caretaker's fee 15 0), a rocky ledge, from which there is a wide view westward of mountains and the Shenandoah Valley and River.
Snicker's was first known as Williams' Gap, and a grant made in 173 1 notes 'the road that leads to Williams Cabbin in the Blew Ridge.' Williams, who was a squatter on the Fairfax lands, had a ferry here, which by I 76o had passed to Edward Snickers.
At 53.1 m. is a lookout (R) with a good view northwestward across the valley. .
AUDLEY FARM (R), 59.3 m., centers around a rambling old house, stuccoed white, and a vast collection of outbuildings. In the house, built by Warner Washington in 17 74 and later enlarged, lived Nellie Parke Custis after the death of her husband, Major Lawrence Lewis, until her death in 1852. Today the estate is a large horse-and-stock-farm.
BERRYVILLE, 60.5 m. (568 alt., 1,200 pop.), has a peaceful, antique charm. Nondescript commercial buildings huddle along the little main street, but round about cluster attractive houses amply interspersed with old trees and lawns. This center of a prosperous farming and apple country is a contrast to Battletown, as the tavern community at the crossroads here was known in the days when the foregathering of lusty frontiersmen led frequently to brawls. In 1798 a town was properly laid out on land belonging to a Benjamin Berry. Between 1835 and 186o the community prospered greatly. Several skirmishes took place near by in 1862-64, but no important engagement. Part of Lee's army camped here on the way to Gettysburg.
The CLARKE COUNTY COURTHOUSE (R), built about 1840, is a red brick rectangle with a portico in Roman Doric style, and an arcaded wing, added in 1933. The county, an area of country estates, producing wheat, horses, and cattle, was carved in 1836 from Frederick County and named for George Rogers Clark, conqueror of the Northwest Territory. The extra letter, a slip in the incorporation papers, has persisted. The Clarke County Horse Show is held in Berryville every August.
THE NOOK (R), near the courthouse, a little frame house with low wings, was built sometime before 1800, by a Major John Smith.
1. Left from Berryville on State 12 to a junction with County 633, 2.7 M.; R. here through patches of woodland to ANNEFIELD (R), 4.1 m., a bluish-gray mansion of stone, solitary and severe on a low hill. The graceful bulk is topped by a broad deck roof. Openings are treated simply, but a double-decked portico has slender Ionic columns, and the cornice is deep. The interior woodwork is rich and well proportioned. Among the few mansions constructed of stone in formal style, Annefield has a beauty and distinction that has been undeservedly neglected by connoisseurs. The house, on land settled by Robert Carter, son of the 'King,' and later a Carter home, was built in 1790 by Matthew Page and named for his wife, Anne Meade, Bishop William Meade's sister.
2. Right from Berryville 0.3 m. on a lane to the entrance (L) Of SOLDIER's REST, a long frame T, painted white, on stone foundations. About 1762 Daniel Morgan, the spectacular Revolutionary figure, married lovely Abigail Bailey and began construction of his house here. After 1781 he lived for a time at Saratoga near by but returned to Soldier's Rest, where he remained until 18oo.
On this farm is so-called WASHINGTON SPRING (R), gushing from rocks at the foot of an old elm. According to a tradition, Washington used a log cabin that once stood near by as an office while surveying adjacent lands.
3. Right from Berryville 3.8 m. on US 340 to FAIRFIELD (R), a gray stone mansion among trees on a knoll. The mid-section, two stories beneath a hip roof with dormers and stone chimneys, is extended by lower wings. The house was apparently built about 1770 by Warner Washington, who had settled here with his second wife, Hannah Fairfax, about 1765. The vast barn of brick and stone and other outbuildings date from Warner Washington's time.
ROSEMONT (L), 61.4 m., a modern, rambling, stuccoed frame structure with an eight-columned veranda across the front, is the home of Harry Flood Byrd, Governor of Virginia (1926-30), United States Senator since 1933. In his career Senator Byrd has emphasized efficiency and economy in government.
From this point west to Winchester the highway has an excellent macadam surface and passes through orchards, crossing a patch of rocky land and, between Opequon Creek and the city, a strip of shale that extends down the valley from the Potomac to Staunton.