Only eight miles from downtown Washington, D.C., with easy access to I-395, West End is Alexandria's largest and fastest-growing neighborhood. Along with the restaurants, shops and hotels, in the West End can be found the best preserved of the few remaining Union encampments, a prominent center for religious education and green space in the middle of a metropolis. Fort Ward was built in 1861 to protect Washington during the Civil War and is now a place where visitors can envision the life of soldiers stationed around the Federal capital during this pivotal time period. On an eighty acre campus, the Virginia Theological Seminary, founded in 1823, is one of only eleven accredited Seminaries of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Walkers, bicyclists and dogs are all welcome to traverse the paths throughout the three acres of the densely wooded Holmes Run Park winding around a stream of the same name.
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