Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia?

Jun 13th, 2003, 06:56 AM
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Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia?


I am planning a holiday for next October. I have 10 days - will arrive in Baltimore and rent a car, but from there I am not sure where to go. Really only in the planning stages at the moment, but I'd love to know what are the things that I shouldn't miss. Single woman on my own, so I'm not interested in romantic inns and candlelit dinners! I love forests and mountains, so I thought of heading to the Skyline drive and Shenandoah but I'm sure there is lots to see apart from those. I like history but am not a history buff. I like shopping and quaint towns too - any ideas? Would like to see Washington DC, but I think staying there will be too expensive, so I'm happy to leave that for another time.

Thanks guys, Laura
Lauradublin is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 08:40 AM
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I forgot to ask - can anyone give me an idea of what the weather will be like?

Lauradublin is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 08:44 AM
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Please look at the map-- West Virginia is quite far from DC, and in spite of its great natural beauty, it's not worth the long drive. You'll find much of the same beauty in Virginia itself (I used to live out east).

October out east is usually pretty pleasant, but temperatures can fluctuate, and don't count out a good ol' rain here and there. You should catch the leaves changing color-- in the mountains, it's a spectacular sight.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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RJW, I have looked at a map - I know that West Virginia is a reasonable distance, but I don't mind driving, especially if it is to spectacular scenery! My last trip to the US took me from Atlanta - Nashville - Asheville - Charleston - Savannah - Atlanta, so as you can seen, distance isn't a problem!

On the other hand, I have been doing a lot of surfing and Maryland is looking like a place where there is tons to see, so maybe I won't get as far as West Virginia!

Lauradublin is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 08:54 AM
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The reason I say it's not worth the drive is that it is beautiful but crushingly dull. Its cultural life is non-existent-- and I speak from personal experience, my parents and my sister used to live there (and hated every minute of it). That's not to say that some people live there and love it-- and the Greenbriar is a stunning resort for visitors to stay at-- but for my family, who are big on nightlife and restaurants and that whole "city life" thing, WV was not their cup of tea.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 08:56 AM
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Oops-- Need to rephrase that. Some people live there and love it-- I don't mean that everyone thinks it's Hell on Earth. And it sure is pretty. But once you stop and look for something to do....
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 09:23 AM
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Laura: October is a beautiful time to see mountainous western Maryland and West Virginia.
Especially scenic areas of WVA are around the Canaan Valley and along the route south from there. So if scenery, hiking and wandering around interest you, several days in that area would be worth the drive -- even the drive to get there is beautiful once you get past the Balto-Wash exurbs.
In south-central WVa there's the spectacular New River Gorge. Though it is farther away, the drive is not much longer than that to Canaan because you can make it mostly on interstates.
With a week or more for the trip, you can fit in both the serenity of WVa and some city excitment. Enjoy!
kayd is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 10:27 AM
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Annapolis is a must see. Baltimore's Inner Harbor area is nice. The Delaware beaches are fun, but maybe not in October. Williamsburg, VA is a must see. Definitely do Skyline drive and Luray caverns. If you're interested in shopping bargains try to stop at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbrige.

That said, I think you should spend at least 3 days in Washington DC. There's more to see packed in that city than you could imagine. It can be expensive, but remember that most of the museums and monuments are free!

Weather can vary from warm to chilly.

jnn1964 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 11:40 AM
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If you like walking / light hiking, and you enjoy history, check out the C&O Canal. There are many different places ?to pick? up the trail in DC, Virginia and Maryland.

Driving you could start at Great Falls National Park, incredible Potomac River waterfall, great park to walk and hike, see rock climbers and kayakers. From Great Falls you could drive the George Washington Memorial Parkway into DC with some amazing Potomac River Views. Drive into Georgetown, where the C&O Canal begins, it?s a very cool part of the trail, with houses right along the path. Georgetown itself is also a nice place to walk around, great homes, restaurants, shops, etc., then head into DC to see the sights. With a car I like starting at Arlington Cemetery, then working my way across the bridge and down The Mall. There is paid parking at Arlington and a Metro stop.

I think DC is well worth a visit, at one full day just to see the monuments. If you cannot get a good hotel rate in the DC try checking out the hotels in around Rockville or Gaithersburg Maryland that will be close to the Metro (train), very easy to navigate, and brings you into the heart of what you want to see in DC. Via the Metro I would recommend starting at Arlington Cemetery, where there is a Metro stop, if its nice weather walk across the bridge to the Lincoln Memorial, down the Mall to enjoy the other monuments, Smithsonian Museums, head up Capital Hill, visit Union Station and take the Metro train back to your hotel from there.

I live between Potomac and Frederick Maryland in Montgomery County, which is just a little over an hour from BWI via I-70, less then 90 minutes to Gettysburg, about 45 minutes to Harpers Ferry, 30-40 minutes to Great Falls, VA via the Beltway, and about 30-40 minutes to downtown DC, so there is a lot to see and enjoy.

From the Montgomery County area could head into Harper?s Ferry, WV easily, very historic, very quaint, incredible views. The Appalachian Trail goes through there; you might enjoy walking parts of it. There is also a great walk that goes through Harper?s Ferry, passed an old church down the cliffs to the river, short and enjoyable. From here you could work you way to Skyline Drive.

I also enjoy walking the battlefields at Gettysburg, in October that could be really nice. Gettysburg is an amazing town, with many walking tours; The Ghost tour is pretty good.

If you stay in Montgomery County take Rte 28 to Rte 107 and cross the Potomac River via car ferry at the White?s Ferry crossing point, also a stop for the C&O Canal. Then take Rte 15 into Virginia.

If you work you way through Virginia countryside, Travel Rte 15 to visit Waterford and Leesburg both have nice historic downtown areas. Then take Rte 15 to Rte 50 to visit Middleburg, the ultimate in country living, very posh, nice vineyards to walk around, Piedmont is probably one of the nicer vineyards to walk in the fall. From there you can continue heading south towards the National Parks.

You may find Luray Caverns interesting.

Baltimore is great, and the Inner Harbor is where it?s at. The Aquarium is a must, and the Science Museum is cool. Check out the Visionary Arts Museum its on the Science Museum side of the Inner Harbor. Don?t forget to try the Water Taxi to Fells Point.
Alicia is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 11:52 AM
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West Virginia, scenery wise is heads and tails over anything in Virginia and Maryland. It is beautiful. And such a change from the Washington area, more like visiting America from the 1950s.

They have a great State Park program with cabins, lodges and great golf. Some parts of West Virginia is only an hour from Washington DC.

(I do not live in West Virginia but really enjoy the trips out there!)
bunchargum is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 01:07 PM
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Wow, thanks for all the great replies. You have all given me loads of food for thought!

Lauradublin is offline  
Jun 13th, 2003, 04:53 PM
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Shenendoah is great. At least 3 nights. Lots of great hiking and the leaves should be beautiful in Oct. I love Williamsburg also two to three nights. Annapolis is also worth a few days and I'm sure you can find a place in D.C. for one or two nights that's not too expensive.
AaronM is offline  
Jun 14th, 2003, 01:14 PM
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Hi again,

Any ideas on where to stay in Shenendoah?

Thanks, Laura
Lauradublin is offline  
Jun 14th, 2003, 02:24 PM
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Jordan Hollow Farm in Luray is a nice B&B. If you do come to Williamsburg there are some nice hikes in York River State Park. My favorite runs along the marshes in the creek.
Birdie is offline  
Jun 14th, 2003, 07:04 PM
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If you make it to Front Royal and Skyline Drive, take the drive south to the route 211 east exit to Luray and visit the caverns there. Then take 211 west back over the mountains to New Market and visit the New Market Civil War Battlefied. Then take route 11, a Virginia byway in the area, north to Strasburg. On the way stop in Woodstock, founded in 1852, and visit the old courthouse which is the oldest courthouse still in use west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In Strasburg, stay over at the charming Strasburg Hotel (built in 1902 as a hospital) and enjoy a delicious meal there.

Strasburg is 1 1/2 miles south of the I-66/I-81 merge so you would be in a good location to continue your trip in any direction.
ronkala is offline  
Jun 15th, 2003, 03:34 AM
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In Shenendoa there are a few lodging choices in the park on Skyline drive - Big Meadows Lodge and Skyland Resort.
AaronM is offline  
Jul 31st, 2003, 11:12 AM
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Rocky Gap Lodge and State Park in Maryland, and the Deep Creek Lake area including the state parks gives you some more ideas. These areas have some of the prettiest views, fall foliage and waterfall hikes of any of the other mountain areas mentioned. Swallow Falls State park is one of my favorites.

Rocky Gap Lodge has a website, it's a beautiful mountain lodge on a lake.
abbynoxious is offline  
Aug 1st, 2003, 10:18 PM
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Lots of great advice..
When I went to DC, I did so after I had gone to some Civil War Battlefields: Gettysburg, Antietam and Manassas. I went back to BWI turned in my car , got the Amtrak shuttle from the airport and went to DC on Amtrak. It was so convenient AND I felt having a car in DC was a "pain" I stayed in Silver Springs at Holiday Inn(cheaper than downtown hotels) which was close to the Metro station..this took me into Union Sta. where i found various tours that took me to all the sites I had time for.
When time to go home, I took Amtrak to BWI. (be aware more "trains" available on weekdays because of the commuters)
The B & O Canal suggestion is a good one to consider AND WV scenery.
Wish i could make that trip again!!!
traveler24 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 11:38 PM
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I am a single woman who lives in Baltimore currently, grew up in West Virginia, and am an avid local traveler. I disagree with the posters who said that West Virginia is not worth the drive. The scenery and outdoor experience that can be had there far exceeds Virginia and Maryland. I just returned from a stay at a cabin at Blackwater Falls State Park, had the time of my life, and for all eight people, we spent approx $650. That included the 2 night cabin (fully stocked), groceries, pontoon boat rental (Stonewall Jackson Lake), horseback riding, and mountain bike rentals for eight people. That doesn't even include the no charge fun we had including indoor pool/hot tub/fitness center at the lodge, the best hiking in the world, magnificent views of the falls and canyon, sport fishing, interacting with about 50 different species of wildlife, and toasting marshmallows over a campfire with loved ones (just to name a few things). It just depends on what your looking for in a vacation. Some people like adventure travel, some are sightsee-ers, some like to feel the rush of the cities. If you want a nice mix of all three I recently put together a plan for some college friends of mine from CA. It starts in Annapolis and ends in Ashville, NC (near the Blue Ridge Parkway). I would be glad to email it to you, if you're still checking this post. And if you use a site like priceline, an inexpensive but nice hotel can be had just about anywhere, even D.C.

[email protected]
michellecur is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 09:08 AM
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I think WV, or even western VA is worth a drive, and a beautiful time to do it. I also like the shore, and Williamsburg.

Since you will have a car, don't rule out DC. You could stay up in MD, like near Laurel, and drive to a Metro station (eg: Greenbelt) and take the train in. I've stayed in MD suburbs for as little as $42 while visiting DC, and Greenbelt Metro ALWAYS seems to have parking spaces. Enjoy your vacation!
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