Washington and Virginia

Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 05:47 AM
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Washington and Virginia

Ideas please for 5 day trip - We are flying in from UK to Washington for 5 or 6 days. We would like ideas for what to see and do. Ideas so far are 2 days in Washington then drive the Skyline drive through Shenandoah then to Richmond and Williamsburg.
Not into hiking so happy to drive though the park and take in the scenery. We are looking to arrive mid Oct. Would love any help on what to avoid and whats worth seeing.
Thanks
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:23 AM
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You might have a look at a trip report I filed last year - it was a spring drive rather than autumn, but I'd imagine the autumn would be equally rewarding, maybe even more so, compared to the spring. I can't recommend the Blue Ridge and Charlottesville highly enough.

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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 08:02 AM
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If u r coming in mid October, u should hit pretty near the peak leaf peeping season, so a drive down Skyline Drive should be beautiful. I would try to arrange to go mid week as on weekends traffic can be pretty bad and very slow going. Depending upon how much u like to drive and look at scenery, u may not want to drive the entire Skyline Drive. I like the Charlottesville area and getting off around there would give u several hours on the parkway. If u continue onto the Blue Ridge Pkway it will take u several hours South as fr as u might want to go. It really depends upon how much time you'd like to spend in the car. Richmond is a nice smallish town (as compared to DC). Williamsburg is very popular, but somehow its charm has eluded me. Have a great trip!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 08:42 AM
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If you enjoy art, don't miss the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond. It's got some excellent collections (e.g. Faberge) and it's free! We were there a few weeks ago and had a good lunch at Strawberry Street Cafe, which is within walking distance (6 blocks or so) of the museum.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 09:19 AM
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I recommend adding at least one day for Washington, D.C. itself. There is a great deal to see if you like art and museums, and trotting from one to another is no fun.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:05 AM
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DC can esily take your entire trip since there is so much to see and do. I would decide on your MUST sees there - and how long it will take to get to them - before finalizing how many days where.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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Will you circle back to DC for onward flight, or ditch the car and train to somewhere else from Richmond, or some other plan? By providing this info you might get suggestions better suited to your travel plans.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 12:36 PM
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This area is chock-full of American history. As you are flying from the U.K., how much of that do you want to spend time on? What are your interests?
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 04:45 PM
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We want to spend about 2 full days in washington then hire car and drive down to Virginia for another 3 days. We will then have to head back to Washington for airport.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 04:47 PM
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Sorry meant to add that we are interested in American history and would love to see some great scenery.
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Old Jun 5th, 2012, 04:40 AM
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Virginia is the perfect choice to visit if you want American history at its best and finest.
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Old Jun 5th, 2012, 12:51 PM
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I think you are taking on too much driving and not enough sightseeing and relaxation in this time frame for this itinerary. Driving at a very good clip down non-scenic I-95, the drive from Washington to Williamsburg is a solid 3.5 hours without traffic. Northern Virginia traffic is notoriously bad, especially on any route that would take you from and to the airports. Perhaps instead you could spend 2 days in DC, day 3 get a rental car and drive the Skyline drive from west of DC to Charlottesville, spend a night or two in Charlottesville and see the sights in that area (Monticello is a must see), circle back through Fredericksburg and its Civil War battlefields to Old Town Alexandria, see Washington's home at Mount Vernon and enjoy Alexandria's Colonial history and well maintain colonial buildings (rather than the rather staged and much further afield Williamsburg) and return home via DC? There are many interesting colonial and Civil War area sites on this itinerary as well as beautiful scenery depending on your interests. Just a suggestion of course.
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Old Jun 5th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Agree with iregula that Williamsburg is VASTLY overrated (on a good day). Charlottesville and the University are sights to behold in the autumn. A drive on Route 20 out of Charlottesville to Fredericksburg would be scenic at that time of year too.
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Old Jun 6th, 2012, 10:25 AM
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iregula's itinerary suggestion is a good one. I would add Ash Lawn and the University of Virginia to the Charlottesville activities. There are also some wineries in the area that might make for a nice stop.

I am another who isn't enchanted by Colonial Williamsburg because I think it is overpriced. But as a native Virginian, I didn't learn anything new from my visit --someone less familiar with Virginia or early American history might find it interesting and informative.

On the other hand, I think the Jamestown site -Jamestown Settlement, NOT "Historic Jamestown" is very interesting and it's easy to do both in one day and to add Yorktown as well.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 03:57 AM
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I think you might find it interesting that Colonial Williamsburg is just as much a part of British history as American history. Williamsburg was a British colonial capital but never an American capital. It's the British flag that flies over CW for most of the year.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 10:08 AM
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When doing your planning, be aware the the average speed on the Skyline Drive in peak leaf season is less than 20 MPH with some of the more scenic stretches crawling along at less than 10 MPH.
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Old Jun 13th, 2012, 01:47 PM
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Thank you everyone for all your help. Well so far we have booked 4 nights in Washington in the Georgetown area and we hope to get to see the Redskins on our last day there as they are playing. Having never been to a game before, suggestions on best place to sit/buy tickets for the game would be helpful.
On the morning of Day 5 we are going to set off and do the Skyline drive. We then need a base for 3 nights near Richmond but not too far to visit Monticello and Williamsburg. Any suggestions please? On the morning of Day 8 we are flying out of Dulles at 9am so we need to be staying somewhere no more than a 2 hour drive from the airport.
Hope you all can help?
Thanks
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Old Jun 13th, 2012, 02:18 PM
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Usually you can get tickets on game day for the Redskins at FedEx Stadium where they play. In theory all games r sellouts so u can't buy them from a ticket office, but fans will be standing around trying to sell tickets. They have been so bad of late there are always tickets trying to be sold. Of course this year we have RGIII as our brand new quarterback so I imagine interest will be high for the beginning of the season at least as folks check him out. u can look on Craig's list when u arrive or before and c if anyone is selling tickets. the Washington Post used to have tickets being sold in their classifieds, but don't know if that stil goes on. U can also go to sites like GreatSeats.com or StubHub.com.
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Old Jun 13th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Thanks, Where would you suggest the best place to sit is, we don't want to pay too much for the tickets but would like good viewing?
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Old Jun 13th, 2012, 02:48 PM
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Its a huge stadium, http://www.redskins.com/fedexfield/ with seating for about 80,000 or thereabouts. Do u realize the stadiums not in DC? It's in Prince George's County and the metro is by far the best way to get there. Good seats will not be inexpensive. Not sure what "pay too much" is in terms of dollars. Most people like sitting on the 50 yard line, but u will pay a lot ($100's) for those. There are huge jumbotrons that show the plays on large screens so u do see what is going on pretty much from wherever u sit. I've sat behind the end zones and while its hard to see down the other end, it sure is exciting when the play is down near your end zone. Some of the seats are up VERY high and I really don't like it up there. Very steep to walk up and you're just too far away. Take a look at the websites and check out ticket prices, generally they r pretty expensive for most seat. Also take a look at the seating chart on the fed ex field site. Hopefully someone else can recommends sections to sit in -- I've never had what I would call great seats at Fed Ex - actually really dislike the stadium. But the games can be good fun, when they r wining which has been very rare the last years.
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