The Mystery Date
A few months ago, Mollie started saying “I have a surprise date I want to take you on." But being the loving wife that she is, she wouldn’t budge and tell me what the idea was. Around the middle of every week, she would look at the weather for the upcoming weekend and say “Bummer, guess the weather won’t be good enough to take you on that surprise date this weekend.” I kept trying to get her to tell me what it was, but she’s tougher than Fort Knox on some days. But then one day, she finally said the words I'd been waiting for--“This weekend is looking perfect to go on that date I planned 2 months ago.”
Gravelly Point Park and Airplanes!
She took me to Gravelly Point Park to watch airplanes! Gravelly Point is a park is on the north side of National Airport, and it's literally right next to the runway. It has a big field with soccer goals, but the majority of people go there to picnic and watch planes take off and land. We also discovered that ice cream food trucks love hanging out there, which is totally a plus!
Depending on what direction you’re coming from, it can kind of a pain to get to--if you’re coming from DC or most of Northern Virginia, you have to go through the airport to get on the proper side of the road to go into the park. One you pull into the park, there’s a pretty nice parking lot and it’s pretty self-explanatory of where to go--the big open field next to the runway!
So, we parked and walked over, and boy-oh-boy did I start feeling like a little kid. There’s just something about planes that make me feel youthful again. It could also be that my dad is a commercial airline pilot, so I have lots of little memories attached to planes. Mollie delivered on the picnic front--we had a full spread of food, sunscreen and the smell of jet fuel. It’s really an incredible place, because you're literally right under the planes that are taking off and landing. Whenever a plane goes over, your entire body rumbles and you can hear the wing tip vortices. This was truly an amazing date and the beauty of this place is its simplicity, accessibility and the great free entertainment.
Key Take-Aways and Tips
- Bring sunscreen! The park is mostly just a field, so it's lacking shaded areas. If you're going to stay a while, I'd recommend a beach umbrella or small tent. A picnic blanket is also a must!
- Picnic! This date isn't the same without food. Take your favorite picnic items. We recommend trying out our Chipotle Turkey and Ham Rolls Ups--they're super easy, portable, and delicious!
- Maybe you're like, "But Michael, I really prefer boats instead of planes." Well, you're in luck. This park sits right on the Potomac River, and has its own boat launch (perfect for kayaks if you have them!). We saw several beautiful sailboats during our visit.
- They have porta-potties that were very well maintained while we were there.
- The Mount Vernon trail runs alongside the park--if you're in to biking, bring your bike along too and make a day out of it! Do keep an eye out for bikers when you walk across the trail into the park--we saw a few people almost get hit.