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This series of trails runs in Arlington and Alexandria along both sides of Four Mile Run. The parallel trails start in Crystal City (Arlington) and Potomac Yard (Alexandria) and run about two miles to the W&OD trailhead in Shirlington (Arlington). There are numerous planes where trail users can cross Four Mile Run because of the various vehicle bridges over the wide stream bed.
In Alexandria the park is much more scenic with a variety of sports fields, nature preserves, and other tree-lined areas. On the Arlington side of the stream you will find more apartment complexes and even one of the city's sewage treatment plants.
Written Jun 24, 2009
The W&OD Trail follows the old Washington and Old Dominion rail grade from Shirlington 45 miles west to rural Purcellville, VA. Along the way it passes through Falls Church, Leesburg, Reston, Herndon, Vienna Sterling and Ashburn. The popular trail is entirely paved and nine feet wide with a yellow line in the center.
The W&OD Railroad traces its roots back to the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad which started in Alexandria in 1860. The railroad was never very successful, and it stopped passenger trains in 1951 then ceased operations in 1968. After the railroad's closure, Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO -- later Virginia Power, and now Dominion Power) bought the right of way, then in 1977 Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority purchased the entire right of way for use as a public park and trail.
While the current trailhead is in Shirlington, Arlington, the original railroad began in Old Town Alexandria at Princess and North Fairfax, then extended to Potomac Yard, through Del Rey, and to Shirlington. This portion of the old W&OD forms a trail called the Mt Jefferson Greenway, but it is not directly connected to the rest of the W&OD.
Updated Jun 24, 2009
The busy outdoor dining area and interesting inside decor drew us to Ping. We went straight to the brightly lit, red bar that had few other customers on this night. We grabbed two of their perhaps 15 funky little stools at the end of the long bar in front of one of their nice flat-screen TVs showing hilarious Japanese gameshows. We glanced at the menu, and I decided on a "33" beer from Vietnam, but they were out, so I settled for a Korean Hite beer (a cheap $5), and Lhenne1 had a sweet strawberry-orange-raspberry mixed drink called a red velvet ($9). We were doing an appetizer tour of Shirlington, so we scanned the menu and decided on the "Shiny Slippery Shrimp" from their small plates menu ($10). This tasty dish featured crunchy tempura-like shrimp with garlic, tossed with a vinegar-sriracha sauce that’s interestingly sweet and spicy at the same time.
Overall, Ping has a great, modern Asian interior similar to trendy places I've visited in Korea, Japan, and Singapore. The contrast of the bright reds and blacks, along with ultra modern metal furnishings makes the place unique. The food was very tasty and interesting, while the staff seemed a bit on the inexperienced side.
Charlie Chiangs is a Northern Virginia original, opening the first restaurant in Alexandria in the 1970s, and expanding to 13 restaurants in the DC area, and one in Naples, Florida.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: 4060 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA
Phone: (703) 671-4900
The Bungalow is a sports bar and pool hall in the Shirlington Village shopping area. This small chain opened in 1997 in Chantilly and has two other locations: Potomac Falls and near the Springfield Mall.
We arrived late, maybe 11:30pm and it was very busy. The bar was packed, all of the pull tables were full, and most of the tables were occupied. We grabbed one of the few remaining tables near the front door. Our witress arrived quickly: I ordered a black and tan beer ($5.75), and LHenne1 just had water. We also decided to get a snack, so we chose the "Wild Wings" ($8). The wings were well-seasoned and very tasty; marinated not breaded and not too hot.
Updated Jun 21, 2009
Address: 2766 South Arlington Mill Drive Arlington, Virgini
Carlyle Restaurant, like many of the other dining options in Shirlington, is a small local chain with a good following. The owners, Great American Restaurants, also owned Best Buns Bread Company across the street, and about 10 other restaurants in Northern Virginia with names like Coastal Flats, Sweetwater Tavern, and Silverado. Great American Restaurants began in Fairfax, Virginia in the mid 1970s, and has remained here in the area.
Carlyle is a cornerstone of the Shirlington shopping area, and one of the highest rated restaurants in this community. During our visit, we just sat at the bar and had a few drinks. I tried the Carlyle Lager and Lhenne1 had wine. The area was nice, upscale and well-decorated. There is just one TV at the bar, which was showing the Washington Nationals, a good game, tied at 3 in the 11th inning. Suddenly a few new patrons arrive and ask for the TV to be turned to WWF or something. The manager instantly complied, and when a few other customer complained, the the manager ust yelled across the room, "Someone asked me to change it!" Kind of rude, and he didn't apologize. The guy who was watching the game soon left, and so did we.
Written Jun 21, 2009
Guapo's is a local, family owned Mexican restaurant chain with 8 (soon to be 9) locations in Northern Virgina, Maryland, and DC. On a recent visit to Shirlington, we tried Guapo's for the first time. Unfortunately, we had just eaten nearby at Ping, so we headed straight for the bar for a few drinks. We only stuck around for 30 or 45 minutes, but the service was good, the large restaurant was very busy, and it was well-decorated exactly as you'd expect a higher-end Mexican place to be. After we had just visited the modern Asian Ping Restaurant, entering Guapo's was like stepping into another world. Here, rather than huge flat screens showing Japanese game shows, we watched futbol, just as you'd expect!
For drinks, Lhenne1 had the blended Tropico daiquiri margarita and I tried the Carta Blanca beer from Monterrey, Mexico. The tropico daiquiri margarita had piña colada and strawberry daiquiri blended together for a fair $6.50. My beer was tasty and $4.75.
Written Jun 21, 2009
Address: 4036 Campbell Ave Arlington, VA 22206
Phone: (703) 671-1701
Busboys and Poets is a new DC-area restaurant, cafe, and bookstore with three locations: two in the city (U Street & Mount Vernon Square) and this one in the Shirlington area of Arlington. The restaurant's name is said to be a tribute to poet Langston Hughes who, while working as a busboy at a DC restaurant in the 1930s, spotted a famous poet named Vachel Lindsay; Hughes handed Lindsay a few of his poems, and the next day Hughes wrote about this "Negro busboy poet."
We came in one evening and grabbed a seat at the bar. We started with a few organic beers called Peak Pale Ale from Portland, Maine ($7 each). We then decided to have a small appetizer, so we chose their bruschetta ($6). While waiting, we noticed the odd hippy art behind the bar and discussed the menu with its ton of "vegan" dishes; I discovered that I still don't know what that religion is all about. I also had a bottle of another organic beer called Loose Cannon ($7), a very hoppy and smooth beer from Baltimore. When our bruschetta arrived, I was impressed; rather than pieces of hard Italian bread, it was served on a thin pizza crust. It was delicious, but oddly lacking cheese, an important bruschetta ingredient.
Overall, the beer selection here is good, the food was tasty and inexpensive, and the staff good, but the bookstore was kind of small and out of place, and the atmosphere too trendy-hippie for me. Does trendy-hippie really exist? Yes, at places like this where the restaurant was built in the middle of $500,000 condos.
Updated Jun 21, 2009
Address: 4251 South Campbell Ave Arlington, VA 22206
Phone: (703) 379-9757
Shirlington is accessed by buses, but late at night when the bars close, taxi might be your only option to get home. Since this is a relatively small and isolated area of Arlington, it is kind of off the beaten path for taxis and you won't see too many just cruising through here late at night; it's not like being in the city o rOld Town Alexandria. Furthermore, the busiest intersection is next to the Carlyle restaurant... if someone sees you waiting there, they just walk farther down the street so the taxis see them first.
From Shirlington to Old Town Alexandria
Arlington Taxi Rates:
$2.75 — Includes loading and first 1/5th mile
$ .40 — Each additional 1/5th mile or part.
$ .40 — Each 64 seconds waiting time and/or traffic delay.
$1.00 — Each additional passenger over six years of age.
$ .50 — Each suitcase in excess of two if handled by the driver.
$2.00 — Each footlocker or smaller sized case if handled by the driver.
$1.75 — Surcharge for each trip ORIGINATING at the Reagan National Airport Taxi Stand.
Updated Jun 29, 2009
The Quincy Street garage at the ANSER building is marked on Shirlington's website as available for public parking. When you pull up the sign at the entrance says "PERMIT PARKING; TOWING AT OWNERS EXPENSE," but just inside of that is a blue sign that says retail and office parking; "Office parking by permit only 6am to 6pm Mon-Fri." That tells me that I can park here after on weekends until 6am Monday morning, right?
NO! There is a small, hidden sign on one of the columns that says no parking 3am to 6am!
So, we parked here Saturday night, not seeing the tiny little hidden sign about no 3am to 6am parking. Since we had a few drinks, we take a taxi home, doing the right thing. Sunday morning I come back and my car is gone. Towed. $115 dollars later I have my car back. This is ridiculous. So they want me to drive home drunk next time to avoid the towing?
This makes me want to avoid doing business in Shirlington.
Written Jun 24, 2009
This community magazine features over 50 Shirlington Events each month as well as coupons for Shirlington restaurants. View the latest issue of the monthly magazine online at http://yourshirlington.com .
Updated Aug 9, 2010