Once the northernmost of Washington's five farms, George Washington's River Farm has served as the American Horticultural Society's headquarters since 1973. Located just five miles south of Old Town Alexandria, the farm features an impressive
Once the northernmost of Washington's five farms, George Washington's River Farm has served as the American Horticultural Society's headquarters since 1973. Located just five miles south of Old Town Alexandria, the farm features an impressive 20th-century Estate House, surrounded by 25 acres of both naturalistic and landscaped lawns and gardens.
While Washington never lived on or worked the land on River Farm, instead choosing to rent the land to other farmers after the purchase, he did make his mark throughout the farm's grounds. The River Farm features several Kentucky coffee trees, introduced to Virginia by Washington himself, as well as the immense Osage orange tree, regarded as the largest of its kind in Virginia and the 2nd largest in the United States. Located in the farm's shade garden area, the Osage orange tree is believed to be a gift from Thomas Jefferson, who received such seedlings from the Lewis and Clark Western expedition of 1804 to 1806.
The first floor of the Estate House is open to the public. It features a charming parlor and ballroom, as well as stunning Potomac River views and rotating exhibits by area artists. The Estate House is flanked by a bluestone terrace framed by English boxwood estimated to be nearly 100 years old.
Other notable River Farm features include the gates installed at the White House in 1819, as part of post-War of 1812 restoration, where they stood for 120 years before coming to River Farm. Located on the western side of the four-acre Andre Bluemel Meadow, the sunken brick Ha-Ha Wall is an example of an 18th-century method to keep livestock and wildlife out of manor gardens without installing a fence and spoiling the view. The Children's Gardens feature more than a dozen themed gardens – including the Alphabet, Hide and Seek, Maze, Fairy Tale and Hummingbird gardens – designed to spark interest in plants and nature. The sprawling orchard of apple, pear, cherry, plum and Japanese persimmon trees bloom in the spring and deliver crops in the late summer.
The River Farm offers spectacular private events spaces throughout the gardens as well as inside the Estate House. Its 900-square-foot ballroom hosts up to 80 guests, a cozy parlor overlooking the Potomac River hosts up to 25 guests, and a dining room hosts up to 20 guests. An outdoor patio, covered porches and gardens are also available for functions.