Arlington Memorial Bridge

Sunday, July 11, 2010 |

If you're looking for a manageable walk over a beautiful bridge with a lot of history on both sides, the Arlington Memorial Bridge is a perfect choice. The bridge, which was completed in 1932, crosses the Potomac River and essentially connects Arlington National Cemetery on the Virginia side with the Lincoln Memorial on the Washington, D.C. side. There are wide, 15 foot sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, very accommodating to walkers; there are even seats built into the marble railings. It's not a long bridge, coming in at around 0.4 miles. And it's a rather low bridge, yet with a nice view of the surrounding area.

The railings on this bridge are about as solid as they come, a very important attribute. They are made of thick stone, and reach to about shoulder level. That seems to be just about the perfect combination to allow good viewing and yet provide a sense of security to the wary walker. This is the first bridge I've walked across where it almost seemed better to be near the edge -- there is no barrier whatsoever between the road and the sidewalk. Nonetheless, it is an urban bridge with relatively slow traffic.

For July in Washington, the weather was great for today's trek over the bridge, with a break in the recent east coast heat wave. We walked from the Virginia side to the D.C. side, with a the Lincoln Memorial in front of us. And turning around, we could see the Lee Mansion in the cemetery sticking out of the hills. They say the bridge is symbolic in that it connects the old North and South; apparently Robert E. Lee wrote his letter resigning from the U.S. Army in April 1841 from the family mansion.

The following link from the National Park Service web site provides some interesting notes about the bridge.

After crossing the river, we could get nice views of the bridge from the side, above the roadway below that runs between the river and the Lincoln Memorial. So, it was a very enjoyable, and not at all scary walk. On the scary rating, a 2 for height, 2 for width, and 2 for length. That adds up to 6, the lowest rating yet given. I guess they can't all be scary.