Arlington County is dotted with neighborhood parks, some large with hiking trails and picnic facilities and others that serve as green spaces in neighborhoods. Many seem to have been centered around feeder streams to the Potomac, such as Four Mile Run and Donaldson Run. There are also streams in Potomac Overlook Park, and really, what is a nature center without an intriguing water source?
My friend Muriel lives in the Westover neighborhood and has developed a brisk walk that takes in parts of Four Mile Run park and the Bon Air rose garden, with opportunities to veer off into Bluemont Park or the W&OD Trail. She usually takes the walk around 7:00 am, but we recently took it a little after 9:00.
We started in Westover at the Arax Cafe for iced coffee and a little pastry then wended through the neighborhoods, crossing I-66, and descending into Four Mile Run at 11th and Ohio Street.
This is a great path with a lot of runners and walkers, and bikers who seem unusually mellow. There are playing fields and children’s playgrounds along with picnic areas. In Bon Air, there is a tennis court as well.
As you head into Bon Air, you can visit the roses, which are labeled nicely, and there are also two non-rose demonstration gardens. Planted and maintained by the Arlington County Master gardeners, one is for bright sun and one is for shade. Both of these would be good spots to visit for planting ideas—and the shade garden is an ideal spot for watching chipmunks.
There are some nice public bathrooms next to some of the playing fields and playgrounds that come in handy if you’ve carried coffee along.
The walk is a couple miles and offers plenty in the way of plant and animal life as well as a nice level trail to walk on. It can take half an hour if you’re brisk and concentrated, or more if you linger with the roses, the demonstration gardens, or the wildlife along Four Mile Run.
No matter how long it takes, it’s a nice escape, and depending on where you live, there may be one like it near you. Check out the Parks and Recreation web site to find out.