Winter Solstice Celebration

posted Dec 14, 2010, 1:55 PM by Marty Nielsen   [ updated Dec 14, 2010, 1:57 PM ]
Sunday, December 19, 2010 10:00 am-3:00 pm

Travilah Serpentine Barrens

Sponsoring Organizations: Maryland Native Plant Society, Virginia Native Plant Society's
Potowmack Chapter, and the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists.


Exit from the Capital Beltway (495) onto River Road heading west towards the village of Potomac
(junction of Falls Road and River Road).
Continue on River Road westward past this intersection app. 1.7 miles to Piney Meetinghouse
Turn right onto Piney Meetinghouse Road and proceed gradually uphill for app. 2 miles.
Turn left onto Palatine Drive and proceed for about 1 mile to intersection with Greenbriar Road.
Take a right onto Greenbriar Road and proceed app. 1/2 mile to Centurion Way.
Take a right onto Centurion Way and proceed app. 1/3 mile - and when you start seeing the
high-wire powerlines, please begin parking along right side of street first, as space allows.
Centurion Way is only about 1/2 mile long and ends as a cul-de-sac, so we'll have to park along
both sides of the street. This is a residential neighborhood, so please make sure not to block
driveways or easy street access and to take care not to leave ruts or tire tracks in grass along
road shoulder. When right side fills up, please circle around and park on left side of road. After
parking, walk to edge of powerline where we'll meet.
* As you're heading uphill on Piney Meetinghouse Road, look for signs of how the landscape
(geology, soils, and vegetation) changes as the road nears the high ridge of the serpentine
barrens. The Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest below gradually changes to a much more open
woodland of oaks and pines - hence the name Piney Meetinghouse! - and abundant outcrops of
serpentinite. As you head closer to the meeting location - through a rather ghastly display of
McMansion vulgarity and ongoing land desecration - take note of the abundance of Shortleaf Pine
(Pinus echinata), probably the region's single largest occurrence.
Wear sturdy shoes and bring lunch or snacks and water. Most of the walk traverses fairly
open woodland, open glades, and grassy areas over gently rolling uplands, though some trails
may be gravelly to moderately rocky.
Leader: Rod Simmons