RICHMOND -- Visitors to the George Washington and Robert E. Lee historic sites in Virginia will be treated to birthday celebrations this month and next for the two famous Virginia leaders.

Their birthplaces, home towns and estates will be holding open houses, banquets, a gala ball and other special events.

Settling in Virginia's Northern Neck, the Washington and Lee families intermarried early, probably by the third quarter of the 18th century, historians say.

Visitors to the George Washington National Birthplace, or Pope's Creek, learn that Washington's great-grandfather arrived in the Virginia colony in 1657. Washington's father, Augustine Washington, settled at Pope's Creek, where his son was born Feb. 22, 1732.

Between 1725 and 1730, Thomas Lee built Stratford Hall, also on the Northern Neck. It was home to four generations of Lees.

Robert E. Lee's father, Henry (Light-Horse Harry) Lee, served with Washington during the Revolutionary War and wrote Washington's famous eulogy, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Alexandria was Washington's home town, and during his boyhood there, Lee was influenced by stories of the president's courage, modesty and leadership. Lee grew up in a house that Washington and Lafayette often visited, called the Robert E. Lee Boyhood Home.

The strongest link between the two families came from the marriage of Mary Anne Randolph Custis, Martha Washington's great-granddaughter, and Robert E. Lee in 1831. They moved to the Custis home, Arlington House, and remained there for 60 years.

Scheduled events include: open house at Arlington House and at Stratford Hall tomorrow; parties in Lexington tomorrow through Thursday; birthdays for Lee and father in Alexandria, Jan. 24.; celebration of Washington's birthday in Williamsburg Feb. 13-15, in Alexandria Feb. 13-28 and in Fredericksburg Feb. 15, and open house at Mount Vernon Feb. 15.