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Short scenic car drives from Washington

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Aug 14th, 2013, 10:06 PM
  #1
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Short scenic car drives from Washington

As part of a RTW 50th anniversary trip next year, we've decided to rent a car for the final day of five in Washington DC. It has worked out that we'll have a car from midday one day to return to Dulles at midday the next for our ongoing flight.
We have had a few trips to Washington, and are coming back because we like it, and there is so much to see. Last time we stayed in Anapolis for a few days and liked it too.

I'm wondering how best to use the car in the afternoon and morning of the next day. Our hotel this time is near Reagan airport. Have stayed before in Georgetown, and know how pretty that area is, and also right in the city. Thought about Mt Vernon , which we have not seen, but it may be easier by public transport with no parking worries. Drive to Anapolis would be fine, but maybe there are other areas I don't know about, being an Aussie.

Would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 02:56 AM
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Two historic possibilities; Mount Vernon and Harpers ferry.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 03:56 AM
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A beautiful, scenic ride from DC would.be to go west on K street (rt 29) toCanal street which becomes Clara Bartobn then runs into McArthur Blvd to the C and O canal National Park. The roads run along the canal and the park has walking paths along the canal along the great falls of the Poyomac.

You could then continue on to Harpers Ferry if there is time.

Another option would be to go out to Manassas and tour the battlefield.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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We included Mount Vernon during our trip to D.C. five years ago. We drove in our rental car and had no problem parking at that time. I think the tours were timed so you don't get in as soon as you arrive. Once your are in you can stay until it closes. You can check on times and tickets here:

http://www.mountvernon.org/tickets
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Aug 15th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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You have two smallish blocks of time use on both days. I like all of the suggestions offered so far: Harpers Ferry (maybe add the village of Waterford on the way), Manassas Battlefield, and the C&O Canal Park.

If you are picking your car up at Dulles Airport, Annapolis will not make sense on either day as it is a solid 60 miles away and you are likely to encounter some potentially nightmarish traffic.

Since you are staying near Reagan Airport, Mount Vernon would be a good choice for your morning day. It's an easy drive and a pretty drive down the George Washington Parkway along the Potomac River. Parking is easy and plentiful. Public transport isn't difficult but it will eat up much of your touring time. MV opens at 8am so you could get a sold couple of hours of visit in before having to leave for Dulles for the outgoing flight.

You could take the GW Parkway its entire length from Mount Vernon en route to Dulles.

Your trip sounds like great fun!
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Aug 15th, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Certainly visit Mount Vernon, but continue on to Woodlawn Plantation and Gunston Hall to see a bit of earlier America. The drive down to Mount Vernon is beautiful.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 06:51 PM
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Another vote for Mount Vernon. Such an easy drive and worth it.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 08:19 PM
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What month will this be?

One idea - a couple of hours, but lovely country (especially in the spring) would be to go to Charlottesville VA. The University of Virginia campus (designed by Thomas Jefferson) is one of America's architectural and historic gems. The town itself is lovely, charming, and friendly. Monticello, Jefferson's home, is on the outskirts of the city.

UVA - http://gardyloo.us/20110423_62as.JPG

Former slave's cottage, Montpelier Estate (James Madison) near Charlottesville - http://gardyloo.us/20110423_30as.JPG

Monticello - http://gardyloo.us/20110424_22as.JPG
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Aug 15th, 2013, 09:08 PM
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Thank you everyone, for the suggestions.
Oklacat, Underhill and obxgirl, we could do as you suggest on the morning, and drive to Mt Vernon, then straight to the airport. Perhaps we could just have a look around the grounds, and enjoy the drive there? Shall research Woodlawn & Gunston Hall too.

Gardyloo, The photos are lovely! Thank you. We'll be there early spring. Google says Charlottesville is at least two hours away, so it may be a bit rushed.

emalloy, we drove the route you suggested from Georgetown to Harpers Ferry a couple of years ago, in Autumn. Coming from a Mediterranean climate, I really loved the gorgeous autumn leaves, and the village and surroundings and history were all lovely too. Guess it will be pretty in the spring as well, and a possibility for the afternoon trip. Shall have to research Manassas Battlefield.

Thanks again, best wishes to all from Sunny Downunder, where we have boring politicians who think "No one is the suppository of all wisdom" !

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/spe...-1226695541167
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Aug 16th, 2013, 10:04 AM
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Why not cancel your final night in the Arlington hotel, and spend it in Charlottesville? If you take the most direct route, you'd have the afternoon and evening there, then plenty of time for a leisurely drive to Dulles the next day via the Orange County route.
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Aug 16th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Why not cancel your final night in the Arlington hotel, and spend it in Charlottesville?

I must have missed that they were going back to Arlington that night; my assumption was that they would indeed overnight in Charlottesville.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 09:19 PM
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That seems a good idea, kayd & Gardyloo - thank you.
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Aug 18th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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Charlottesville is a great destination. If you choose it I'd seriously consider renting your car much earlier in the day. Starting out from metro DC at midday and driving 2 hours to Cville may leave you little time to see the things Gardyloo suggested. Tickets to Jefferson's Monticello are timed for the tour of the house though you can visit other parts of the property at your leisure.

The following morning I wouldn't linger too long in the area as you'll be 100 miles from your departure airport. Traffic in the Dulles area is always congested but weekday rush hour begins 2-3 pm.

All great suggestions.
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Aug 19th, 2013, 09:57 PM
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Looks like there will have to be another trip sometime!
Thank you all.
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