Driving into the small town of Clifton VA you expect to find ladies in long skirts shielding their faces with parasols and you might during historic Clifton Day but the rest of the time you find a great place to live, eat and shop. With only 200 residents within the town boundaries it is smaller than most planned communities in Fairfax County.
As with most of Northern Virginia, Clifton was the scene of numerous battles during the civil war and due to the railroad was a strategic location for the Union Army to set up camp. After the civil war the town survived, where others did not, with the ingenuity of the citizens who took advantage of the railway location and opened hotels, salons and restaurants. Over the years the town "grew" and eventually in 1925 Clifton became the first town in Fairfax County to have electricity.
Today the Town of Clifton has its own Mayor and town council and boasts one of the best collections of historic homes in the area. Even though Clifton "proper" is only one quarter mile in size the main street has numerous sites to see. The Homestead built in 1771, the Harris House built in 1850, the Mayhugh Tavern built in 1870, and the Clifton Baptist Church built in 1876 are all still in use today.
A few times a year Clifton is over-run by tourists for the Spring Garden Tour (April), the Clifton Wine Festival (September), Clifton Day (October), and Holiday Candlelight Tour (December). The rest of the year anyone who knows the area or discovers it by accident, finds a peaceful town with a General Store, antique shops and one of the best local restaurants around, the Heart and Hand.
If you are looking to get off the beaten path in Fairfax County then take the winding drive down Clifton Road and see what you will discover in the Town of Clifton. A word of warning though, don't come to Clifton on Halloween night or you could become the next victim of the "bunny man."
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