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A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

Lewes, United...
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A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

We have in total 18 full days for the trip. We arrive at IAD (Washington, Dulles International) in the evening of March 27 and depart from same airport the evening of April 14, 2014.

We already have an idea of what we wish to do, and thanks to lots of research and previous knowledge, have a fair idea of what is possible. However, I thought it might be beneficial to invite suggestions and would very much welcome ideas to add to our existing thoughts, and thus will say nothing of our current plans to avoid prejudicing contributions.

We will spend about 5 full days (which might be 5 or 6 nights) at the start or end of the trip in DC itself without a car, but otherwise we will have a rental car and will be road tripping. We haven’t decided for sure when we will be in DC as this may depend on our friends’ availability and we cannot contact them as they seem to be enjoying a world cruise right now! We are also aware that cherry blossom season can affect prices and availability, but cannot work out how to manage that as the peak blossom date is very much weather dependent and so unpredictable. Thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

Other things to say at this stage is that we plan to spend most if not all our time exploring DE, MD, WV, VA and PA in the main as they are the obvious states in the region, and also happen to be states we’ve not yet explored (although I’ve been to DC as a kid, briefly).

For info, we don’t usually do long driving days, and avoid Interstates when possible. We are happy to do several one-night stop runs before we put down roots for a few nights, and then we move on, mixing urban and rural pleasures. We are interested in history and architecture, wildlife and scenery and much, much more. We hope to have a few days of mainly hiking in the mix, but prefer to have a waterfall, viewpoint or other such reason to head somewhere rather than just for the exercise!

Another area of great interest is food, local food. We’re fans of US TV food programs such as DDD, but we would very much welcome personal recommendations for local food locations where home cooked meals are served.

(For information, this topic has already been posted on the Road Trips forum and that covers multi state trips well for general planning, and will be also posted on the forums for the other states that encircle the whole Chesapeake Bay area for more local input.)

Over to you, guys, with thanks!

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1. Re: A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

If you are interested in colonial Virginia history, or Civil War history, I would recommend heading south from DC via route 17.

You could also approach this area from Maryland, if you went from DC to Baltimore, then head south and cross the Potomac River on route 301.

this intersects in Virginia with route 3 which is called Kings Highway in Westmoreland County. You could go by Westmoreland State Park, and them to Stratford Hall Plantation, birthplace of Robert E Lee. Www.stratfordhall.org they even have guest houses you could stay there.

for an off the beaten path head to Reedville Virginia and take a tour boat to Tangier Island for a neat day trip. The website for Reedville Fishermen s Museum is www.rfmuseum.org

Go to www.tangiercruise.com for info on the day trip to Tangier, Virginia.

Lewes, United...
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2. Re: A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

Hi Joy

Thanks for all your links. Now to go and check them all out and do more research. I'll revert with more questions later, if you don't mind!

SWT

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3. Re: A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

Be sure to include a visit and hike along the rim of Great Falls National Park on Northern VA-MD border. On the MD side is a unique trail called Billy Goat, pick an off time to avoid super crowded conditions. Here is my favorite hiking reference, check out the "About" page then go to "Trail Index" for list of trails with detailed descriptions and photos.

http://virginiatrailguide.com/about/

Have a great trip.

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4. Re: A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

You might be backtracking if you head to DC first.

It may be worth considering a loop--from IAD (Dulles airport) head west to West Virginia--Harper's Ferry is only about an hour away from the airport. Up to you if you want to have a rest before driving.

www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery.htm…

From there, you could move north to Pennsylvania, perhaps visiting Gettysburg (if you have interest in the civil war). Actually, if it were me, I would go to Falling Water, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece.

http://www.fallingwater.org/

I would strongly encourage you to get tickets in advance, as spring is a popular time to visit.

Hiking: there is so much good hiking, and the best website for this that I can direct you to is the following...

http://www.midatlantichikes.com/

click on the state, scroll down, and you can see how many miles, and the difficulty each hike is.

From Pennsylvania (and this is a big state, with a lot to offer) I would head to Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and end your trip in DC.

I could write a short novel about the places you might consider, but someone has already beaten me to it

You may want to pick up the following book from Amazon, which covers a myriad of day trips in the mid-Atlantic region.

amazon.com/Carpe-Weekend-Trips-Adventures-Wa…

Although they are all "day trips and adventures near Washington DC," they are all done by car, and cover wineries, breweries, restaurants, food, hiking, music, and hotels.

Edited: 1:01 pm, December 07, 2013
Lewes, United...
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5. Re: A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

Hi Laura

Great to find you on this forum, offering this terrific advice! ;-)

What do you mean by 'we'd be backtracking' if we do DC first, as that's where we start and leave from? We either pick up a car at the airport and drop it early to do DC at the end, or pick up the car after DC. We won't need and won't rent a car during our time in DC.

SWT

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6. Re: A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

Dulles airport is about 30 miles west of DC. If you go in to DC, you'd head back out west to see West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania.

I would think about ending your trip in DC. There is a shuttle you can catch to the airport.

www.metwashairports.com/dulles/5933.htm

To put it into local perspective, I guess it would be similar to someone flying into Gatwick, heading into London, then back out to Lewes, Brighton, etc.

A lot of this is personal choice, though.

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7. Re: A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

OK, thanks, Laura, now I understand your point. I hadn't appreciated that you meant in the context of location and distance of IAD to DC.

The fact is that car rentals for foreigners is likely to be cheapest for pick up and drop off at IAD, so whether we visit DC at the start or end of the trip, we will be shuttling into and out of the city centre by public transport with our luggage one way or another and doing the driving from well west of DC. In terms of the overall miles, I don't think that will make much difference.

We're still weighing up the pros and cons of starting in DC or doing that at the end, and really trying to figure out if a week or so really makes any significant difference to the weather for when we head to the more remote, rural areas. It's rather against our instincts, and we'd be missing out on a lot, but somebody did point out we could get ourselves from DC to Baltimore to Philly by train before needing to pick up a car.

SWT

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8. Re: A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

I don't know how your trip will ultimately wrap up, but it may also be possible for you to rent a car at IAD (Dulles) drive around, and return it to DCA (Reagan National Airport).

Most major car rentals have a location at both airports. DCA is only 7 miles from DC, so you could either take the metro, or take a cab.

I have only ever driven to Baltimore and Philly. I know you can take the train there, but it would be worth posting in those forums to see what the public transport is like from Amtrak to the places you want to visit.

Baltimore's Inner Harbor is really nice, and I also think the Cone sisters collection at the Baltimore Museum of Modern Art is not to be missed, if you have any interest in art.

www.artbma.org/collection/overview/cone.html

Here's a food tour in Baltimore that you may be interested in...

http://www.baltimorefoodtours.com/index.htm

I almost did a similar one in New York, with my daughter, but it was sold out.

9. Re: A Chesapeake Bay loop from Washington, DC in 18 days

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