Manassas National Battlefield Park – Great walking


It’s time to get out of town and back into the fresh air and maybe on a trail. There are lots of opportunities to walk in Washington but most of it is on pavement. So we pulled our car out of the lot for the first time in four days and headed for Manassas National Battlefield Park.

This is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and every battlefield, every site that is remotely connected to the Civil War is gearing up for this. Only 32 miles from Washington D.C. Manassas was the site of two battles – First Manassas and Second Manassas.

First Manassas is the battle that most talk about. Maybe it’s because both sides were still innocent and thought that one battle would settle the conflict. Maybe because it’s the first real battle between North and South.

The two sides met for the first time on July 16, 1861 on the property of Judith Henry – the only civilian casualty of the battle. Her house is shown above.

The 45-minute film makes a great deal of fuss over Judith, a sick, elderly widow. The South won this one and Union soldiers marched back to Washington defeated.

The Battle of Second Manassas (or Second Bull Run) was part of a larger campaign. Again the South won that battle and General Lee then attacked the north for the first time.

Manassas-StonebridgeBut enough of battles.

Manassas is also a beautiful setting for several trails on undulating hills. We walked the First Manassas loop, which took us past the Stone Bridge over Bull Run.

Manassas-Bluebells The area was overtaken by blue bells, flowers that we don’t see in Southern Appalachia. We also saw Dutchmen’s britches and daffodils, indicating a home site. The trail was muddy but well-maintained.

Manassas-LennyonboardwalkHere’s Lenny on a long boardwalk.

The National Parks Service in cooperation with its sponsors has discovered that small parks can be the source of great walking. They call it the Healthy Parks-Healthy Living program. The result is that the trails are well-maintained and signposted.

And as long as the sponsors display their logos on brochures and not on the trails themselves, let them keep sponsoring.



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