Need help planning DC / Philadelphia trip

Aug 22nd, 2004, 10:07 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Need help planning DC / Philadelphia trip

My husband and I are going to to my cousins wedding in North Wales, Pennsylvania this October. Since we have never been to the east coast we have decided to make it a 7-10 day trip. We are planning to go to Philladelphia and Washington D.C. How long should we spend in each city? What are the must dos? We are 26 years old we would like to see a lot of historical but also mix in some other some close by trips to see some country side stuff? Should we consider going to New Hope? Fredrick'sburg? Great Falls? Lancaster? Cape May? Are these close to Philly and DC? I was thinking a night or two in a romantic bed and breakfast might be nice. We will be there in early october so I'm not sure if we should plan to see leave change or stick more to the big cities? Thanks for your input!!!
Azkraem is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2004, 09:51 PM
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If you have never been to the east coast, you may want to add New York City to your itinerary. How will you be traveling-car, plane, train??? If you are staying in North Wales, you can ride the R5 train to central Philly in about an hour. You can see a lot of Philadelphia in 2 or 3 days. Independence National Historical Park has Independence and Carpenter Halls, the Liberty Bell, and the new Constitution Center. You can see all of that in 4 or 5 hours. From there, you can walk to Elfreth's Alley or down to the waterfront, or south to Philly's "hip" shopping area on South Street. Skip the Betsy Ross House, as we now know that her contribution to history is totally fabricated (bad pun...sorry). Phila. has some wonderful museums, including the PHila. Museum of Art and the Rodin museum on the Ben Franklin Parkway. The art museum will have a very rare Vermeer painting on loan during your visit. The Italian Market area, a long walk or short bus ride from the center city area, is a neat outdoor market, a lot like in Italy but with typical Phila. attitude and way more Asian vendors. There are great cheese shops, pasta shops, bakeries, and lots of good, small italian restaurants in the area. If you find Passyunk Ave. and walk up it, you'll come to 2 famous rival cheesesteak places, Genos and Pat's. There are a lot of other neat museums in the city, and wonderful restaurants that are much cheaper than in NYC or DC. Outside of PHilly, there's Valley Forge Historical Park, the incredible Barnes foundation art collection, viewable by advance appointment only. I would not waste time on New Hope (crowded, touristy, and fake-artsy) or Lancaster (crowded, touristy, and most of the AMish have moved to Minnesota where it's less crowded and touristy). From Phila, it's an hour and a half drive to New York, or perhaps drive to north Jersey, park your car, and take the ferry to New York (much cheaper), or drive to Trenton and park (it's less than an hour from North WAles) and take New Jersey Transit train to New York. Do not drive to New York City--parking is too expensive. In New York, see the Empire State Building, walk up 5th Ave., maybe tour Radio City Music Hall, get tickets to a broadway show, see the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim Museum, see Central Park, see the museum of Natural History, walk and shop the streets of Soho or Greenwich Village, take a ferry from south street seaport area out to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (you can do this from the New Jersey side, too). At most, stay one night, if you are on a budget. If not on a budget, stay longer! From Phila, it's an hour and a half drive down to Baltimore. See the inner harbor area and the National Aquarium. Then another hour down to DC. We always stay in Bethesda MD or Silver Spring at a hotel near the metro where we can park free and take the metro downtown. Much cheaper and parking/driving in DC is a real pain. The metro is great. See as many SMithsonian museums as possible--they are free! Don't miss Air and Space, Natural History, Hirschorn, SAckler Gallery, AMerican History. Also, the HOlocaust museum is wonderful but very upsetting, and National Geographic museum is very good. These are not free. You can spend a day on the historic sites: White House, CApitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, plus walk around the Georgetown area. The National Zoo is very good, too. From DC, you can drive to lots of Civil War towns, incl. Fredericksburg, if that interests you. Or go to Williamsburg VA for the recreated Colonial city, plus Jamestown, a recreated Indian village, and Busch Gardens theme park. Or, from Philadelphia, you could head to Cape May (nice B&Bs, cute victorian beach town), take the ferry to Lewes Delaware, go to Chincoteague and Rehoboth beach , or you can head to Annapolis, MD, another historic town with lots of nice inns and B&Bs. Early Oct. is usually too early for leaves to be changing around here. If you want to see that, you need to head north from NYC up to New ENgland (Vermont, Boston area).
lesliec1 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:03 AM
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This is a duplicate posting; Az got a lot of useful replies to the other one, to see it just click on her name above.
Anonymous is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:34 PM
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Excellent advice lesliec1, but I couldn't resist chuckling about the "very rare" Vermeer painting. It must be a one of a kind . . . . like every single other painting in the Philadelphia museum and every other major art museum in the world.
bobludlow is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 11:40 PM
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Well, Bob, I don't know too much about art history, but there was just an article about the Vermeer painting in the newspaper. Because the painting is privately owned, it is seldom seen by the public, so for it to be loaned to the Phila. Art Museum is very unusual. I was astonished to learn from the newspaper article that there are only about 36 Vermeer paintings in the world. (He died at a very young age.) I guess it's not surprising I'm ignorant about such things when my entire knowledge of Vermeer's life comes from "Girl with a Pearl Earring"!
lesliec1 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2004, 02:44 AM
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leslie, I think bob was commenting on your English rather than your art history -- every museum-quality painting is unique, thus the term "very rare" is inappropriate when applied to an individual painting.

He's just being pedantic; it's true that Vermeer paintings, as a general category, are rarer than those of more-prolific artists.
Anonymous is offline  
Aug 24th, 2004, 05:03 AM
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Ever being the gentleman, I will jump to leslie's defense. I read her post and interpreted the "very rare" description to mean "not often seen." Thus, I thought her language was appropriate.

Now, if she had said "very unique," that would have been incorrect, but she didn't.

Yeah, yeah, I know: This is a travel forum.
k_999_9 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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Yes, you are right, I meant "very rarely seen". Look at the time I post my messages--who can think about grammar at that hour!? (Actually, I probably can't be bothered thinking about grammar at most hours.) Anyway, judging from my kids' emails and instant messages, I thought the internet was a grammar-free medium.
lesliec1 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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Early Oct. is beautiful in central PA so don't expect no crowds. A day trip to Gettysburg may be exceptionally pretty. From North Wales, you take the PA Turnpike west & then Rte 15 south.Unfortunately I can never find a hotel to recommend in Gettysburg but several of the chains are new. Come home the next day on Rte 30 east to Lancaster and then take Rte 23 east back to the Turnpike in Morgantown. Another option would be to head south to DC after the nite in Gettysburg.
cheapbutnice is offline  
Aug 24th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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Thank you for the input!
Azkraem is offline  

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