Woodlawn Stables in Alexandria will close after 50 years

(WJLA) - For the past few months, routine has equaled comfort at Woodlawn Stables in Alexandria.

"it's kind of its own little oasis in the middle of Mt. Vernon," says stable owner Cynthia Mitchell.

But now, in these final days, reality is setting in.

"There's been a lot of tears in the past week," says Mitchell, who for 35 years has served as the owner of Woodlawn – 20 of those years with her mother, Joan.

Mitchell has seen thousands of riders come and go, but the tradition is now coming to an end:

"It's a painful loss -- not just for me, but for all the students that ride here that won't have the opportunity to ride any longer."

The federal government is going forward with a plan to widen Route 1 from two to six lanes that will cut right through the stables. Supporters like Autumn Clayton fought unsuccessfully to relocate away from construction.

The stables sit on land owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which also manages the nearby Woodlawn Plantation once owned by George Washington.