Gravelly Point

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The view of Reagan National Airport terminals B and C and from Gravelly Point.
Airplane taking off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport as seen looking south from the Mount Vernon Trail at Gravelly Point.

Gravelly Point is an area within the National Park Service's George Washington Memorial Parkway in Arlington County, Virginia, in the United States.[1] It is located on the west side of the Potomac River, north of Roaches Run and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.[1]

The paved Mount Vernon Trail travels through the area.[1] A rugby pitch hosts high school rugby matches.[2] The area also has a boat launch[3] and a Capital Bikeshare dock.

Gravelly Point is a popular spot for plane spotters[4][5] and others to watch planes take off and land from Reagan National Airport. Airplanes pass between 100 and 200 feet overhead when landing on Runway 19 or taking off from Runway 1.

A couple at Gravelly Point watching an airplane approach Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport from the north.
Airplane passing over Gravelly Point while approaching Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport from the north.


In 1746, a house and property near Gravelly Point were owned by Gerrard Alexander, whose family were the namesakes of Alexandria, Virginia.[6][7] In 1778, the house was part of a slave-tilled farm named Abingdon, and was purchased by John Parke Custis, the son of Martha Washington and stepson of George Washington.[6] Martha Washington's granddaughter Eleanor Parke Custis was later born on the farm.[6]

In 1930, a house at Abingdon was destroyed by fire and its ruins stabilized.[6]

Proposed renaming[edit]

Since 2016, Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA-10) has introduced four unsuccessful bills in the United States House of Representatives to rename Gravelly Point as Nancy Reagan Memorial Park. H.R. 5457, introduced in 2016, was referred by the House Committee on Natural Resources to a subcommittee and proceeded no further.[8][9][10] H.R. 553, introduced in 2017, received approval from the Natural Resources Committee on January 17, 2018, in a party-line vote but saw no further action.[11][12][13] H.R. 308, introduced in 2019, was referred by the Natural Resources Committee to a subcommittee which took no further action.[14] H.R. 4364, introduced in 2021, was referred by the Natural Resources Committee to a subcommittee and has seen no further action as of October 2022.[15]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Maps". George Washington Memorial Parkway. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  2. ^ "Gonzaga Athletics: Game & Practice Locations". Gonzaga College High School. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  3. ^ "Public Boating Access". Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  4. ^ Ripley, Amanda (2015). "Washington: 10 Things to Do — 9. Gravelly Point". Time. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  5. ^ Ahmad, Zach (October 10, 2005). "Plane-spotting: At Gravelly Point park, people stop to spot". The GW Hatchet. Hatchet Publications, Inc. Archived from the original on October 13, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d Rose, C.B., Jr. (1976). Arlington County, Virginia: A History. Arlington Historical Society, Inc. pp. 26–32.
  7. ^ "The Alexander Family Historical Marker". The Historical Marker Database. June 17, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  8. ^ H.R.5457 - 114th Congress (2015-2016) at Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  9. ^ "Bill Introduced to Rename Gravelly Point After Nancy Reagan". Arlington, Virginia: Local News Now LLC. June 14, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  10. ^ Allen, Mike; Lippman, Daniel (June 17, 2016). "Clintonites Join DNC". Politico. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  11. ^ H.R.553 - 115th Congress (2017-2018) at Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  12. ^ Teale, Chris (January 17, 2018). "Beyer Blasts Bill Renaming Gravelly Point Park for Nancy Reagan". Arlington, Virginia: Local News Now LLC. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  13. ^ Simmons-Duffin, Selena (January 18, 2018). "Ronald Reagan Got An Airport. Should Nancy Reagan Get Gravelly Point?". WAMU. Washington, D.C.: American University. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  14. ^ H.R.308 - 116th Congress (2019-2020) at Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  15. ^ H.R.4364 - 117th Congress (2021-2022) at Retrieved October 8, 2022.

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