Being a non US citizen i found it very facinating to bike through a lot of the small towns that you find along the canal.
The US mail boxes outside the houses and the flags hanging from the poches is as small town America as it gets in my eyes.
Along the canal you have several tunnels.
They generally have a good bikepath running through them and if they are long then they are lit aswell.
In some parts of the world tunnels are a bikers nightmare because of the traffic, but here they are pure pleasure as you have no cars in them.
Part of the trip you bike along the old railway lines where they have constructed a very good bikepath.
As you can see on the photo they have extended the railway bridges to make space for hikers and bikers so they can cross safely.
The entrance to the Chesapeake and Ohio canal national park is in a DC suburb called Georgetown.
It's a short bikeride from downtown DC and a very pleasant neighbourhood with quite a few cafes where you can have breakfast before setting off on your bike.
Favorite thing: When the leaves fall from the trees the forest is bare, and the trees reach up with their branches in an almost spiritual manner. This is the advent of winter; although winter solstice is not until late December, winter begins here in mid-November after the last leaves have fallen. From December to February, it will occassionally snow here; on a regular year, over the course of a year there will between 6-12 inches of snowfall, though during winter 2003, the Washington DC area did record at least 20 inches of snow over the entire year. If you visit the are not long after it snows, the trails may be icy, but the serene landscape is beautiful.
By far the best season to visit the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is in Autumn. Starting in early-mid October, the leaves in the area slowly begin changing color. Slowly the color of the foliage fades from green to yellows, reds, oranges, and browns. Usually at the end of October or in early November, the leaves will reach their peak color (This photo was taken on Nov. 4). Then the leaves begin to dim in color into dry, withered forms of what they once were and fall to the ground, leading to winter.
Even the most commonplace will be spectacular at peak autumn foliage.
Along the biketrail you have mile stones all the way so you can see how far you have made it and Check how far away the next town or campsite is.
A very practical thing indeed.
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