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Gravelly Point Park Arlington, Virginia

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Since childhood I have been fascinated by airplanes. Not in a mechanical or engineering sense, but for the possibility of exploration and human observation. To me airplanes represent freedom, innovation and emotion. On any given flight every human emotion is present. People anxious and excited to see loved ones, meet an important client, close a business deal or arrive at some exotic locale. Conversely, there are sad people leaving family or loved ones, tired business travelers and rude, grouchy people. If you look closely it is sometimes easy to see into which category a particular passenger falls.

There is an interesting and unique park called "Gravelly Point," which is located off the George Washington Parkway in Arlington, Virginia. The park is not accessible by metro and I doubt many foreign visitors even know of its existence. However, it is worth a visit because there is probably nowhere else in the United States where you can be so close to an airplane in flight. The park sits only a few hundred feet away from a runway at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, and even in the post-September 11 world it is completely accessible to the public.

I frequently visit the park and at all times there are people waiting to view the planes.

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Now on to the main attraction. The runway in front of the park is both for landing and taking off, depending on the direction of the winds. Of all the times I've been here I've only seen planes land. As you can see, standing on the ground the belly of the plane is about one hundred feet above you. You feel the roar and power of the engines and the ground vibrates as the plane flies directly overhead.


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Here you can see how close park visitors get to the runway at Reagan National.

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The main draw of the park is planespotting. However, on weekends people play sports such as soccer, softball and lacrosse. Very nice scenery with the Washington Monument and other DC landmarks in the background.

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The Mount Vernon Trail, a very popular cycling, running and walking trail, also runs directly through the park. Always there will be people riding bikes and families walking or having picnics, etc.

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When I'm anxious or stressed I bring a blanket to the park, sit on a bank or rock ledge and admire the beautiful scenery. On this particular day the sky was fantastic with a mix of both white, fluffy clouds and gray, ominous ones. A very dramatic and peaceful landscape. Of course I got caught in a torrential rain running back to my car but it was worth it!!

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If you are ever in the DC area please take time to visit this park. You can Google it by name and find images much more stunning than my photographs. The park is open at night and a very romantic date spot in my opinion. Bring a blanket, some wine or other beverage, and simply marvel as the lights of the planes approach and fly directly over you in the night sky.

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Safe journeys forward!


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2013 11:11 am (UTC)
It is very interesting to look at the ordinary people at your photos.
Frankly speaking, here in Russia exist the opinion that almost EVERYBODY in USA is fat (sorry for this. I don't want to offend you). It is spoken by our TV-pograms, blogs, papers and so on.
But now I see nothing extraordinary on your photos.
I think that is some sort of russian propaganda (like your funny idea about us that we all drink vodka and about bears roaming along our streets).
Mar. 15th, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
Well, Americans we do like to eat and our food portions are huge compared to other parts of the world. However, not all Americans are fat and I've seen plenty of fat people in every country I've visited (including Russia). I think you're right - this is simply Russian propaganda. Ordinary American people, I will try to start to show more in my blog since Russian people seem interested in average American lifestyle.
Mar. 15th, 2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
I like that you're open.
And as I can see you're can say what you think.
Rare thing in people. In Russia - too much fat people (and now I start thinking that our propoganda is targeted to close our eyes at our inner problems)
By the way if you really try to stude russian I can help you a bit.
I can write you in English and you can answer to me in russian. I'll check & correct you.
It's just, an offer.
Mar. 16th, 2013 12:31 am (UTC)
Yes, I'm an open person and easily express myself. I've been this way my whole life. Unfortunately, I cannot write comments in Russian. I'm not that fluent in the language yet as I only know the Cyrillic alphabet, basic Russian words and phrases and lots of dirty words. :)
Aug. 29th, 2016 05:17 am (UTC)
Never saw any serious talk about almost EVERYONE fat or dumb in US. But in Russia everyone wants to correct your bad Russian, that's for sure.
May. 25th, 2013 09:07 am (UTC)
That's awesome! I didn't know that such a place is near Washington.
Do you know about Maho Beach? Please, take a look. I think you might like it!
May. 25th, 2013 12:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've read about Maho Beach. I really like watching planes. Sometimes I sit on my balcony and watch them land. I can see the runway for Reagan National Airport in DC from my apartment.
Jun. 28th, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
What an exciting place!!! I'd love to visit it some day! You know, I have never flown on airplanes and I have a mixed feeling of ecstasy and fear towards them. But I like to look them landing and taking off. We live not far from Saint-Petersburg's airport so I often see flying airplanes but not from such short distance, of course.
> On this particular day the sky was fantastic with a mix of both white, fluffy clouds and gray, ominous ones.
I like such mixed sky very much!!! When there are blue, white and grey colours there. Your photo with the Washington Monument and this sky in the background is superb!
Jun. 29th, 2013 01:03 am (UTC)
I love dramatic skies in photos. I have a wonderful view of the Washington Monument from my apartment window and watch many beautiful sunrises from my bed or couch. I've flown a lot and really like it. Don't be scared! :)
Feb. 27th, 2015 02:24 pm (UTC)
Ностальгия по самолётикам... Nostalgia for airplanes
User anna_sollanna referenced to your post from Ностальгия по самолётикам... Nostalgia for airplanes saying: [...] (которое я надеюсь когда-нибудь мне доведётся таки посетить) можно почитать и посмотреть здесь [...]
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:19 am (UTC)
С Днём Рождения! Блогу 4 года
User unknownrussia referenced to your post from С Днём Рождения! Блогу 4 года saying: [...] сделан peacetraveler22 в парке Gravelly Point http://peacetraveler22.livejournal.com/3696.html [...]
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