- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 13, 2004

WHEN YOU GO:

LOCATION: Gunston Hall Plantation is located at 10709 Gunston Road on Mason Neck.

Directions: Gunston Hall is about 20 miles south of the District. Take Interstate 95 south and get off at Exit 163. Turn left onto Lorton Road. Turn right onto Armistead Road. At the light, turn right onto Route 1 south. At the third light, turn left onto Gunston Road (State Road 242). The Gunston Hall entrance drive is about 3.5 miles on the left.

Hours: Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for children six and older and free for children age 5 and younger.

Parking: On site

Note: Wear good, sturdy walking shoes. The plantation consists of 550 acres of formal gardens, a farmyard and meadows in addition to the historic buildings. There is a one-mile path from the mansion to the Potomac River for those who want a short scenic hike. Strollers are allowed on the grounds but not in the mansion.

Information: 703/550-9220 or click on the Web site (www.gunstonhall.org).

Family activitiesat Gunston Hall

mGunston Hall’s annual kite festival, Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.

This popular annual event welcomes families to fly their own kites in Gunston Hall’s meadows.

The event also features plenty of hands-on activities. Families are invited to bring a picnic, but on-site barbecue will be available for purchase.

Admission, which includes access to the mansion and grounds: $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children ages 5 and younger.

• Weekender focus tours, held the third and fourth Saturdays of the month from April through October at noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m.

Behind the Scenes in the Farmyard is the theme on the third Saturday of each month.

Visitors are introduced to rare 18th-century breeds of sheep, turkeys, guinea fowl and a pair of hogs with a taste for apple bobbing.

The fourth Saturday of each month is devoted to Hidden History Archaeology, a tour that introduces families to archaeology on the plantation. Visitors will get a look at the remnants of George Mason’s original garden. Hands-on examination is encouraged.

These events are included in the general cost of admission: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for students ages 6 to 18 and free for children 5 and younger.

• Mother’s Day Luncheon Tea & Tours, May 9 at noon and 3 p.m.

At this event, guests are invited to enjoy an 18th-century fashion show while sampling a wide variety of sandwiches, desserts, scones and teas. The luncheon also includes general admission to the historic site. Reservations are required.

Admission: $25.95 for adults and children 11 and older, $12.50 for children ages 6 to 10, free for children younger than 6. Reservations: 703/339-0460.

• Plantation Sleuth, Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Children are invited to investigate a mystery at Gunston Hall. Young detectives and their parents are invited to complete a Sleuth Score Card as they look for important clues to solve an 18th-century mystery.

A guided mansion tour is included in the cost: $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, free for children age 5 and younger.

• Camp Gunston Hall, July 12 through 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Youngsters ages 8 to 12 are invited to explore what life was like in Virginia more than 200 years ago at this interactive camp. Archaeology, garden projects, games and storytelling are some of the featured history-related pastimes. Reservations are required.

Fee: $150. Price includes T-shirt, snacks, disposable camera, writing journal and Friday luncheon. Information: 703/550-9220.

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