Clifton is a hidden treasure surrounded by woods and fields, tucked away in a corner of Fairfax County. It enjoys a remarkable history and is the epitome of a small American town. While Clifton has certainly developed into the modern era, the townspeople over the years have worked tirelessly to retain its rich history and turn-of-the-century appearance and rhythm. Clifton’s rich history is evidenced by its many landmarks on the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places. George Washington and Lord Fairfax often rode together in Clifton which was the favorite location of their hunts.
Clifton was also the favorite country retreat to several U.S. Presidents including Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester Arthur and Theodore Roosevelt. They stayed at The Clifton Hotel, which has been restored into an elegant award-winning restaurant—Trummer’s Restaurant. First Lady Nancy Reagan’s chosen lunch spot was the Heart In Hand restaurant, which was later completely renovated to the now Trattoria Villagio.
Clifton is a cohesive community. Many homes have been restored and expanded to accommodate today’s modern lifestyle, while still holding true to the town’s historic charm and architecture. Greater Clifton is known for its larger homes, estates, farms and horse country. The city protects the downtown area from any adjacent development due to the minimum zoning parcels (usually 5 acres).
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Clifton is an incorporated town located in southwestern Fairfax County. It’s only one of three towns in the county. Clifton is located approximately 6 miles southeast of Centreville and 7 miles southwest of Fairfax. It is bordered by Manassas to the west, Fairfax Station to the east, and touches Lee Highway to the north and extends through Henderson Road and close to Davis Ford Road to the south. This community is located less than 30 miles from Washington DC.
Downtown Clifton is known for quaint homes that are characteristic of the period such as Colonial, Victorian and Farm House. Some home sites have been completely re-built into Craftsman styles. Properties here are iconic in their architecture and vibrant colors. Home prices generally range from $500,000 to $800,000 in town with some properties pressing the $1 million range. Estate homes with acreage in the greater Clifton area can be in a similar price range with many well into the $1 to 2 million range, or even more for larger estate homes. There are other detached homes and townhome subdivisions in a more customary home price range which are within the Clifton zip code, but technically not in downtown or greater Clifton proper areas. Browse the newest real estate listings in Clifton, VA.
Fairfax County is ranked fifth in the nation for public schools. The school system is divided into five regions with each region organized into geographically based pyramids. Clifton is zoned for Union Mill Elementary School, Liberty Middle School and both Centreville and Robinson High Schools. Find homes in Clifton by school district.
Connecting to points outside Clifton is easy. The Lee Highway and Fairfax County Parkway intersection (Fairfax) and Routes 28 and 66 (Centreville) is less than a 15 minutes drive. There is no metro or metro bus options near downtown Clifton. While the VRE does go through town, it does not stop in town. The closest VRE stop is about a 15 minutes drive to Burke Centre.
Clifton began to be settled in the early 1700’s predominantly by European settlers composed of Scottish merchants who first settled in a nearby port area close to the present-day Dumfries-Triangle area. During the Civil War, the United States Military Railroad Construction Corps built a railroad in Clifton (Devereux Station—later renamed Clifton Station). This station was part of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad used to supply the Union Army with timber for railroad ties, bridge trusses, and firewood. Clifton was later incorporated by the Virginia General Assembly in 1902.
Clifton is literally immersed in history with the town being home to many historical landmarks whose signage is prominently on display around town. It is also home to two of the DC area’s top restaurants—Trummer’s Restaurant and Trattoria Villagio. Trummer’s is a complete dining experience with creative American cuisine, innovatively crafted cocktails and the largest wine cellar in the Mid-Atlantic. Trattoria Villagio is renowned for its extensive wine selection, Italian meats and cheeses and hand-crafted pasta dishes. Trattoria Villagio also offers a beautiful outdoor dining experience in its fantastically appointed courtyard which feels like dining in Tuscany. The General Store offers a more causal pub feel dining experience. Located about two miles southwest of town is Paradise Springs Winery—a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. A visit to Clifton is not complete without a stop by Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot.
Since 1968, the single most ambitious Clifton Betterment Association activity has been the annual Clifton Day, a town-wide festival held each year on the second Sunday of October. The association also hosts the 5K Caboose Run each year in May. In addition, Clifton easily boasts the best Halloween Parade and incredible decorations at the town’s homes. The parade is followed by simply the best “Trick-or-Treat” experience for children and adults on Halloween night. It’s truly an unforgettable wholesome community experience. It’s so popular that it attracts many visitors outside Clifton.
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