- - Thursday, October 18, 2012

Visitors to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate — if they can escape the crowds of tourists and explore the outer reaches of the grounds — often marvel at the serenity found so close to Old Town Alexandria and downtown Washington. The original estate was even larger, surrounded by undeveloped land.

Today, the tree-shaded George Washington Parkway meanders along the Potomac River past Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Old Town Alexandria, marinas, parks, Mount Vernon and the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm, once part of Washington’s five-farm estate. While plenty of residential development has occurred west of the parkway, only a handful of homes have been built to the east of the parkway, between the road and the river. One of those homes, at 900 Clifton Drive, is on the market for $1,497,000.

Residents of this home, built on land that Washington once owned, are eligible for membership in Neighborhood Friends of Mount Vernon, which includes invitations to members-only Mount Vernon events.

The Clifton Drive property, within walking distance of the Mount Vernon Trail for walking and biking along the Potomac River, also is within walking distance of shops and restaurants. The Huntington Avenue Metro station is nearby for easy commuting into Old Town or the District.

The Colonial-style home rests on a site of more than a half-acre with lawns, professional landscaping and pastoral wooded views. Built in 1976, this pale blue-gray home has cedar-shingle siding and hinged wood shutters. A brick walk leads from the driveway to the front door, which has a covered brick stoop.

The back of the house features walls of oversized windows framing wooded views and an expansive two-level wood deck with Chippendale-style railings. Both the front- and backyards have sprinkler systems to keep the lawn and plants green.

The owners have renovated their home over the years, including adding a gourmet kitchen with an oversized center island. The large kitchen and rear deck both provide the perfect space for entertaining a handful of friends, close family members or the entire neighborhood. Four wood-burning fireplaces offer winter warmth.

Guests can be welcomed in the inviting foyer, which has hardwood flooring and double doors that open into the formal living room. The living room has hardwood flooring, crown molding, tall double-hung windows and a wood-burning fireplace with a marble hearth.

The formal dining room has French doors that open onto the deck, allowing cool breezes to fill the room on pleasant evenings. This room has hardwood flooring and crown and chair-rail molding.

At the back of the house, the kitchen, breakfast area and great room overlook the backyard. The kitchen has an abundance of custom-designed light-walnut kitchen cabinets, including some with glass fronts, and undercabinet lighting. The granite-topped center island accommodates multiple guest chefs or observers.

The kitchen includes three sinks with disposals, a five-burner cooktop, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Miele dishwasher and Dacor double ovens, plus recessed lighting and hardwood flooring. The adjacent breakfast area features a wall of windows and a glass door to the deck.

The great room includes a wall of built-in bookcases and another wall of windows framing a view of the landscaped back garden and the woods. The great room opens into a family room with a wood-burning fireplace with a brick hearth. Nearby are a library with walls of built-in bookcases and cabinets. The main level also has a powder room with hardwood flooring and a pedestal sink.

The main-level rooms flow easily from one to another so that large parties can be accommodated easily indoors as well as outside on the deck.

Upstairs, the master-bedroom suite has hardwood flooring in the bedroom and in the adjacent sitting room, which has a wood-burning fireplace with a marble hearth. The suite also has two walk-in closets.

The luxurious master bath includes marble floors, double vanities, a Jacuzzi whirlpool tub and a separate glass-enclosed shower.

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