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Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Alexandria...good day trip from DC

Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Alexandria...good day trip from DC

Old Nov 17th, 2005, 07:35 PM
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Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Alexandria...good day trip from DC

What historical sites, areas did you like best going outsitde Washington DC and how long is the drive. Also, based on your preferences...can you provide inns, b&b
s that might be of interest and, possibly romantic?
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Old Nov 17th, 2005, 07:36 PM
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Besides Mount Vernon we very much liked the nearby Woodlawn Planation and, a little farther along, Gunston Hall, a fine 18th-century estate with lovely gardens. The whole trip is about 2 hours of driving time.
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Old Nov 18th, 2005, 05:41 AM
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Monticello is my favorite of the historic homes, but it is 120 miles from DC (2 to 3 hours drive depending on traffic). The others are in the greater DC metro area, so better suited to a less-than-all-day trip.
If you decide on Monticello, there are enough other worthy sites in the Charlottesville area to justify an overnight stay in that area.
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Old Nov 18th, 2005, 05:46 PM
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You are getting good advice. As fine as Monticello and the surrounding areas are, they are a big bite for a trip down and back in one day, particularly this time of year.

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Old Nov 18th, 2005, 07:03 PM
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Monticello is beautiful. We lived in DC for a year and truly loved and still remember our visit. If possible, a one night stay there would be great. We stayed at the Doubletree in Charlottesville and it was really nice. The UVA campus and downtown is also very nice to visit. Monticello is definitly worth seeing.
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Old Nov 18th, 2005, 07:28 PM
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You can visit Old Town Alexandria and Mt. Vernon on a sightseeing boat that leaves from Georgetown. Both in a day trip.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 02:29 PM
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I recently visited both Mt. Vernon and Monticello. I loved both homes. Each experience is unique.

Are you going to have a car in DC? I do not recommend a car in DC, but you will probably need one if you leave town.

The drive to Mt. Vernon is breathtaking! What time of year will you be there? It was all I could do to keep my eyes on the road on that drive. The road is along the Potomac River. I was there in late October on a sunny day.

Visiting Mt. Vernon can take most of the day. The mansion tour itself is under an hour, but you can easily spend hours tourning the grounds. I just wanted to sit on the back porch and watch the river all day long.

Monticello was also beautiful, but in a different way. The views there are mountainous, and just as breathtaking as at Mt. Vernon. Jefferson's house is fascinating. There is not as much to do on the grounds as Mt. Vernon, but it can still easily take up much of a day.

If you decide to go to Monticello in Charlottesville (as previously mentioned, it is a two hour drive, sans traffic), check out the other presidential homes in the area. I think you can purchase a tickets to all three homes at once and get a discount.

Ashlawn, home of James Monroe, is just a couple miles down the road from Monticello. It is a shorter experience, but the tour of the home is interesting and certainly worth doing. About a half hour from Charlottesville, on the scenic route back to DC, is Montpelier, the home of James Madison. I did not have time to visit here, but I wish I had. The house is currently under construction, but may be finished by the time you are there (depending, of course, on when that is).

If you have the time, these places are fascinating. Oh, and if you do go to Charlottesville, tour the University of Virginia if you have time. It was designed by Jefferson and is a fitting addition to the tour of his home.

If would like to read the details of my personal trip to these two places, read the entries for October 23 and 24 on my trip blog: www.lostinfounders.blogspot.com.

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 02:34 PM
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Harper's Ferry WVa too far? About an hour if I recall correctly....6-8 hrs by bike along the C&O Canal.
I've seen some nice little B&Bs there too...but we're not B&Bers and the park is gorgeous.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:01 PM
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If you do get to Woodlawn Plantation, be sure to catch the Pope Leighey House, which is on the grounds.

It's one of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian houses. It's not very big, but worth checking-out. I'm not sure about accessing the inside, but you can find more information at http://www.popeleighey1940.org/ .
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:09 PM
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I really liked Monticello, but loved Mt. Vernon (made several trips to Mt. Vernon). I agree with mrwunrfl....Alexandria and Mt. Vernon!

Have fun!
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 05:09 AM
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Since you're willing to pay for an overnight stay, you might also want to consider Baltimore MD with its wonderful harbor area including historic Fort McHenry or Richmond VA, capital of the Confederacy. Although I'm a big Thomas Jefferson fan and have been to Monticello on several occasions, I'd wait on that until you have more time so that you could also stop in historic Lexington before driving up the Shenandoah Valley with stops at Staunton, Dayton, New Market, Winchester, Harper's Ferry WVa, and Frederick MD.
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Old Nov 28th, 2005, 05:21 PM
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My favorite place to visit in the greater DC area is Old Town Alexandria. As it is only a twenty minute metro ride from most places in DC, then either a pleasant mile walk or a free shuttle to most of the attractions, this doesn't have to be a day trip - you could just make an afternoon of it. I just love the architecture - there is a historical walking tour. You would not want to miss the Old Torpedo Factory - it has been converted into artists' studios.

If you do decide to visit Charlottesville I'd recommend visiting Montpelier and Univ of VA's Rotunda (library designed by Jefferson) in addition to Monticello. Montpelier is being restored to be the way it was in Madison's day. I went in April. Back then it was stripped down to the base boards with tarps protecting walls and I'm not sure how far they have come since then. My tour guide was amazing and it was archaeologically fascinating - he pointed out different features they had discovered and was an expert in Madison's history. I plan to go back every few months to see how it is progressing and wish I'd gone when they first began so I could see it each step of the way. You really do need to use your imagination if you visit, but if you have any interest in archaeology I highly recommend it.

Monticello is the gem of the area - it is the way it was in Jefferson's day and, of course, architectually fascinating. I found Ashlawn disappointing as it is nothing like it was in Monroe's day.
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