One of the most recognizable towns in Virginia is Arlington. Here is a picture of the Lee Mansion.
During the Civil War, Union Soldiers were buried here and that was the beginning of what is known today as Arlington Cemetery. This is a favorite tourist destination that shouldn't be missed. This was also the site where people from town would gather to watch the battles going on. Can't imagine it as a spectator sport, but they didn't seem to take it seriously at the time.
Reston is a more modern planned community in the state of Virginia. Most of the residents here are employeed in D.C. and comute daily, either by car or subway. A visit to this neat little town will help to round out the view of Virginia.
More information can be seen on my Reston page.
Harper's Ferry became famous because John Brown, an abolitionist, and his rag-tag group of men decided to rob the US Army Asenal located in this small town.
He failed to escape and was later tried in Alexandria and there hanged. The details of this story are found at the Harper's Ferry outdoor museum and well worth a day trip to this fantastically beautiful area of West Virginia.
More information can be found on my West Virginia page.
Driving from Washington D.C. to Shepherdstown and Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, we took the scenic route which offered rustic and breathtaking views.
Shepherdstown, a beautiful arts-rich town, was the oldest town in West Virginia and originally known as Mecklenburg.
The Potomac River and the Shenandoah River run through this area and besides the typical water sports offered along these rivers in various areas, the overwhelming scenery is just a hint of the natural beauty of this state known as "Wild West Virginia!"
Harper's Ferry is a charming town full of history. It is even kept up as a National Historical Park and part of the Civil War Discovery Trail.
Tour guides in authentic costumes tell about the group of small museums in old original buildings all year long.
There are shops with antiques, crafts and Civil War memorabilia along the cobblestone streets winding uphill from the park.
Not only is the N.H.Park interesting, the drive out here is really beautiful!
More information on my West Virginia page.
Annapolis is the capital of Maryland and would be a great location for a day trip from D.C. There are charming old streets to stroll down, great places to eat and some stunning historical sites.
The parts of Annapolis that I traveled through seemed to be the older section of town. The streets were not quite as straight and long as I was used to and there were power liines above head almost every where. The streets were narrower, more like Europe. Maybe this was all an effort to keep the Capitol Building in sight on most streets. I don't really know. It seems that where ever you are in the town, the Maryland State Capitol can be seen.
The Harbor has been developed and now is a great place to visit. Things going on there all the time. They've added a monument to the author, Alex Haley. You can even see the plaque indicating the place where the real Kunta Kinte, of "Roots" fame, first stepped foot on U.S. soil.
More information about Maryland can be found on my Maryland page.
On a day trip to Maryland, take a tour of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. The history is interesting, the campus is beautiful and the views are awesome.
My dad was in the US Navy, so going to the Naval Academy was especially interesting to me from the beginning.
However, I spent part of a day at Annapolis and learned so many new things that might be intertesting to any visitor. What surprised me most was seeing the "boats" used for training!! I've boarded many of the ships my dad was stationed on over the years of his service, including an aircraft carrier, and to think these midshipmen learn about sailing on those huge vessels on such a little sail boat tied up at the harbor just floored me.
This Naval Academy played a part in Tom Clancy's novel, "Patriot Games." I also saw the movie and was very surprised to see and recognize this Gate where Harrison Ford was met by a would be assassin!
More information about this tour can be found on my Annopolis page.
In 1749 large blocks of land were auctioned off near the harbor along the Potomac River and the city of Alexandria was born. George Washington helped to lay out the town at it's conception.
Today you can still see the Historical Old Town with it's Market Square, Brick buildings and cobbled stone streets. In the Old Episcopal Church you'll see small plaques telling where someone, historically famous sat while attending. Also, don't miss Gadsby's Tavern where revolutionary ideas flourished along with the ale !
For more information about this town see my Alexandria page.
A day trip to Maryland, a short drive from Washington DC, offers several interesting and historical sites to visit. One is the Antietam Battlefield Museum. It is an outdoor museum and quite impressive.
The Burnside Bridge in Sharpsburg is part of the outdoor museum of the Antietam Battlefield. The photo shown here is of the towers at Bloody Lane, named so, because when the smoke cleared in this Civil War Battle, the blood of more than 23,000 dead, in a single day, flowed freely along "Sunken Road."
Stop at the Visitor's Center and pick up a brochure that will guide you through the area. Antietam is open every day from 8:30 until 5 or 6 pm, all year long, except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
There are three days that special events take place at Antietam and if you'll be in the area on any of these dates, plan your visit then:
**17 September --the anniversary of the Sharpsburg battle at Antietam.
**Saturday closest to the 4 of July--Commemorating Independence Day.
**First Saturday in December--The Memorial Illumination. 23,000 candles on the battlefield; each representing a casualty from the bloodiest single-day-battle in American History
While in Maryland add a tour to this historic site. More information to be found on my Maryland page.
If you are in downtown area, an easy and inexpensive way to get around is to use the DC Circulator - go-around bright red bus lines operated by Metro.
From Metro web site - "The DC Circulator is a new bus service operating in the heart of Washington DC. Three routes serve the center city; a North/South route travels between the Washington Convention Center and the Southwest Waterfront everyday from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM, an East/West route travels from Union Station to Georgetown everyday from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and a Smithsonian/ National Gallery of Art route makes continuous loops around the National Mall everyday between 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM."
Correction added 12/12/2009 -
(This information will get out of date, so please use it as a starting point only)
"There are 2 loops originating at Union Station and three other loops intersecting them"
Union Station – Navy Yard Metro
Georgetown-Union Station Route
intersecting loop routes -
Woodley Park – Adams Morgan – McPherson Square Metro
Smithsonian/National Gallery of Art Loop
Convention Center-SW Waterfront Route
one of these takes you to Library of Congress and Capitol City, Senate Halls, Supreme Court
one takes you to offices at Lenfant Plaza and across the Washington Mall and the museums
another takes you to Georgetown past several office and commercial buildings , M street.
" Schedule and fares:
DC Circulator buses serve each stop every 5-10 minutes from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
The Circulator fare is $1.
Payment options include exact change, SmartTrip™ card, tickets from a multi-space meter, Metro transfers and passes. "
If you become exhausted from visiting too many museums and monuments in Washington D.C., then take a drive out of the city and into the suburbs to see the countryside. On the way to Frederick, Maryland, you will pass many farms with homes and barns of every design. I found this one to be charming and tranquil.
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