Gravelly Point Park

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Airplane taking off, as seen from Gravelly Point. It is beginning a left turn to avoid restricted airspace over Washington, D.C.
A couple watches airplanes land at Reagan National Airport from Gravelly Point Park in Arlington, Virginia.

Gravelly Point Park is a park in Arlington, Virginia, United States, pronounced "gravel-ly" by most. It is located north of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, along the George Washington Memorial Parkway[1], and across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. It is a part of the National Park Service. A paved path links it to the Mount Vernon Trail.[2]

Airplane landing at Reagan National Airport, over Gravelly Point Park, Arlington, Virginia, USA

Today, the park is a primary intersection on weekends of boaters, cyclists, and airplane-spotters. Its unique location just a few hundred feet from the north end of National's runway 1/19 makes it one of the best spots in the United States for airplane-spotting. It also has a boat launch.[3]

Originally, the area known as Gravelly Point was where Captain John Alexander built a home called Abingdon in 1746. Abingdon was purchased in 1778 by John Parke Custis, the adopted stepson of President George Washington. It was the birthplace of Washington’s beloved granddaughter, Eleanor Parke Custis. Abingdon was destroyed by fire in 1930 and the ruins stabilized. In 1938, the bureau of public roads started construction on the site, which Senators considered a flight hazzard.[1] In 1998, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority preserved the site and created an exhibit of artifacts found there in the Exhibit Hall, located in Terminal A of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "McCarran Sees Death Peril in Local Airport: Says Major Disaster Has Been Prevented Here Only by Luck.". The Washington Post. 13 May 1938. 

Coordinates: 38°51′54″N 77°02′21″W / 38.8651°N 77.0391°W / 38.8651; -77.0391