On the western border of Washington D.C, Fairfax is one of the nation’s hottest growth regions. Once a rural farming area, Fairfax is now a thriving business center, home to about 9700,000 people, with a huge technology industry and one of the largest commercial office markets in the county. The county hasn’t forgotten its rural roots though. Over three-hundred parks and several huge national and state wilderness areas are protected from development and the western part of the county is still wine and horse country, with many superb vineyards and equestrian centers.
Fairfax has one of the highest ranking public school systems in the nation, and with D.C. just minutes away, students have some of the best colleges in the country to attend when they graduate. D.C. also has a world-class arts scene, fine dining, superb shopping, and rich history. Washington’s Dulles International Airport is in Fairfax County, as is the National Air and Space Museum/Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and Mount Vernon, home of the nation’s first president.
Location -Fairfax County is in Northern Virginia, with Washington D.C. on its eastern border. Prince William County is directly west and Loudoun County directly north-west.
Geography/Terrain -At a higher elevation than the nation’s capital, Fairfax is known for its rolling hills and scenic outlooks. The Occocuan River stands between Fairfax and Prince William Counties and the Potomac River travels up its eastern edge; Chesapeake Bay is a short distance east. Distance to 3 closest major cities Fairfax County has Washington D.C. on its eastern border. Baltimore is about 40 miles north of D.C. and Fredericksburg is about 50 miles south.
Jobs-One of the nation’s fastest growing regions, Fairfax County is an economic powerhouse for Northern Virginia. There are over half a million jobs in the county, many in high-paying sectors like information technology, law, and government, and the local workforce tends to be highly skilled and educated. Fairfax County residents have one of the highest median family incomes in the country.
Fairfax County’s close proximity to Washington D.C. draws many company headquarters to relocate here, including the Public Broadcasting Service, TRW, AT&T, the American Diabetes Association, Technology Applications, Capitol Publications, Fokker Aircraft USA, Softec, and the American Society for Training and Development. Fairfax County has one of the largest commercial office markets in the nation and one of the biggest technology industries. The county also hosts government contractors, trade and professional associations, retail firms, wholesale distributors, and business and financial services. Real estate is another thriving industry, as more and more people relocate to this job rich region.
While the majority of businesses in the county are locally owned and hire less than a hundred employees, there are several Fortune 500 companies here, including Federal Home Mortgage Loan Corporation (Freddie Mac), General Dynamics, Capital One Financial, Nextel Communications, Sallie Mae, NVR and Gannett Company. Fairfax County offers a great deal of support to new or relocating businesses. The Economic Development Authority helps companies gain state and local investment incentives, including a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit (a tax credit of 1,000 per qualifying employee) and a Workforce Services Program (which grants consulting, hiring and training assistance to qualifying companies).
Housing– Thanks to the thriving local economy, real estate is doing extremely well in Fairfax County and remains an excellent investment. Prices rose sharply over the last seven years or so before stabilizing in 2005; now the market benefits both buyers and sellers. Buyers have more to choose from and sellers still enjoy increases on their real estate investments.
Buyers will find a wide range of choice in housing in Fairfax County, where an extended period of growth has meant that there are plenty of modern single family homes, apartment and condominiums alongside period homes. In this historic county, homes may date back as far the eighteen-hundreds.
Parks/Sports/Recreation/Golf -Affluent Fairfax County has well resourced town park and recreation departments and over 30,000 acres of parkland. Towns are well landscaped and have ample parks and ball fields, and quality recreational centers. Golf is top-notch in the county, and there are several lakes and two large rivers for water sports. Wilderness areas are found throughout the county and many are of historic importance to the nation.
The Fairfax County Park Authority maintains seven golf courses in the county and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has one. There are also several private and semi-private courses in the county, including Fairfax National, near Bull Run Regional Park, which is a classic nineteen-fifties course with quick undulating greens, and Fair Oaks Golf Park in Fairfax. Other courses include Penderbrook Golf Club, also in Fairfax, Pleasant Valley in Chantilly, Westfield at Clifton, Reston National at Reston, Herndon Centennial at Herndon, and Pohick Bay Regional Park Golf Course at Lorton.
Some of the nicest places for swimming, boating and fishing in Fairfax County are Bull Run Regional Park, Burke Lake, Lake Fairfax Park, Fountainhead Regional Park, Lake Accotink, Riverbend Park, Bull Run Marina, and Pohick Bay Regional Park; most of these picturesque spots also have good campgrounds. The Occocuan and Potomac rivers also run through Fairfax County and are lovely spots to go boating and fishing, as of course is the Chesapeake Bay, a short car trip east from D.C. The local Blu Gnu Kayak Company runs popular sea kayak trips on rivers and into the Bay, and Great Falls National Park, on the Potomac is one of the best kayaking spots in the country.
While parks and wilderness areas are simply too numerous to list in full here, some of Fairfax County’s most beautiful are Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Huntley Meadows in Alexandria, Fort Hunt on the Potomac, Great Falls National Park in Great Falls, Mason Neck State Park in Woodbridge, and Meadowlark Gardens Regional Park in Vienna. The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park stretches the length of the county and is an absolutely fantastic place to go bike or horseback riding, and Virginia’s horse country lies just to the west of Fairfax County.
Special Attractions/Events- Located just minutes from the nation’s capital, Fairfax County has a stable and thriving economy and is rich in both history and culture. Rolling hills grant scenic views and widespread parks and wilderness areas keep this county beautiful. Two rivers and several lakes and streams further enhance this pretty green county.
Fairfax County is rich in history, especially from the Revolutionary and Civil War periods, and some historic buildings have been maintained as museums and parks. Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls and Sully Plantation in Chantilly are both enjoyable and educational places to visit as is beautiful Mt Vernon, George Washington’s home when he was the nation’s first president.
Residents of Fairfax County benefit from the nearness of D.C. and the world-class music, theatre, dance and arts found in this great city, but the county has cultural treasures of its own, like the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna. The nation’s only national park for the arts, Wolf Trap has the open-air Filene Centre and The Barns, two superb venues that play host to a number of top acts, including the National Symphony Orchestra, which plays its summer season there. George Mason University has the Patriot Center performing arts and sporting venue and the Center for the Arts at Fairfax.
D.C. is known for the excellence of its museums, and one of the best, the National Air and Space Museum is just over the Fairfax County border in Loudoun County. The museum has over eighty aircraft on display and exciting space artifacts, including the space-shuttle Enterprise.
Not surprisingly for a county as dynamic as Fairfax, there’s always something happening, from farmers markets to seasonal festivals, arts festivals to community get-togethers.
Interesting Facts/Historic Buildings and Places– Established in the mid-seventeen-hundreds, Fairfax County is one of the country’s oldest settled areas, home to nation builders like George Washington and George Mason, whose historic homesteads of Mt Vernon and Gunston Hall can still be visited here today. Washington and Mason’s legacy of democracy lives on and the nation’s capital continues to stimulate the region’s growth.
Numerous additional historic sites still stand in Fairfax County, notably Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls and Sully Plantation in Chantilly. Colvin Run Mill was built in the early nineteenth-century and is still in operation. Exhibits on the milling process and Colvin Run’s original inhabitants are found in the old miller’s house and the adjacent dairy barn has exhibits on the history of the Great Falls community. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mill can be toured daily and special events, outdoor concerts, and educational programs for children are often held there. Visitors enjoy buying the fresh ground cornmeal and wheat flour in the mill shop, and children like the old time penny candy. Another landmark on the National Register, the Sully Plantation was built in 1794 by Richard Bland Lee, Northern Virginia’s first representative to congress. The main house is a museum furnished in the
federal style and educational programs, craft demonstrations, and living history events are offered throughout the year.
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