Washington DC & Virginia Itinerary

In 2013, our vacation plans called for a week-long trip to Washington DC and Virginia as soon as school ended in May. In retrospect, we should have waited a few days. After picking up our kids directly from school on their last day, we stopped in Charlotte to have dinner with some friends and then drove as far as Durham, NC that night. Colonial Williamsburg was crowded when we arrived around 11:30 the next day (which also happened to  be the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend). By the time we got to DC on Sunday afternoon, everyone was tired and cranky. We learned a very valuable lesson – give our kids at least a day or two to unwind from the school year before going on a week-long trip!

Thankfully a good dinner restored us on Sunday night and we were refreshed by Monday morning. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve pushed everything back by two days, avoiding most of the holiday weekend. Other than that, the trip met our expectations and then some!

Friday

Drive to Durham, NC

Saturday

Colonial Williamsburg

Duke University campus

Colonial Williamsburg – including lunch at Chowning’s Tavern, tours of Rudolf House, Rockefeller House, Tea Room, Magazine, House of Burgesses

Dinner Blue Talon Bistro

Sunday

More Colonial Williamsburg – Governor’s House

Lunch at Trellis

drive to DC

Old Town and Alexandria waterfront

Stayed at Hotel Monaco, now the Alexandrian, Autograph Collection

Monday

Newseum

Dinner at Taverna Cretekou

The U.S. Capitol

Tuesday

The Smithsonian Museums – American History Museum, National Gallery  with one child, Museum of Natural Science – spouse and other child

US Capitol Tour

Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Hotel Washington Bar with friend

Wednesday

Spy Museum

Ate at Pi Pizzeria

Annapolis, MD ferry tour

Mt. Vernon

Thursday

Mt. Vernon

Shenandoah National Park

Skyline Drive to Charlottesville, VA

Dinner – Continental Divide

Friday

Monticello

Home

 


Boston/Maine Itinerary

This is the trip that started it all for our family. My spouse and I had enjoyed travelling, but with the birth of our children we did a lot of trips to visit family and an annual trip to the beach. We decided it was time for the 4 of us to go on a true vacation.

There are many styles of travel. In my family (and maybe because I grew up in a city of about 150,000) we tended to take city trips – New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, Montreal. On these vacations, I wasn’t allowed to do things I could do at home – like see a movie. We pounded the pavement to see everything there was to see – museums, walking around, eating local cuisines — definitely no sleeping in or hanging out.

Other people like to go to one place – maybe for an entire week. These trips are meant for relaxation, but after a while I tend to get bored. It was time to do the type of vacation I had grown up doing and to show our children the world. It was fun, exhilarating and now we’ve tried to incorporate at least one trip like this per year. This was our itinerary from June 2011.

Thursday

Fly into Boston Logan airport, stayed at Omni Parker House

Lunch at Ye Olde Union Oyster House in Faneuil Hall

Boston Common, Boston Children’s Museum

Boston Children’s Museum

Friday

Toured the Old State House, took Old Town Trolley Tours seeing the Boston Library, the USS Constitution, the North Church and afternoon cruise.

Lunch at Durgin Park in Faneuil Hall

The Boston Public Library

 

Boston Waterfront

Saturday

Toured Harvard and Harvard Museum of Natural History, lunch at Au Bon Pain across from Harvard

Dinner at Legal Seafood near Boston Common with friends

Harvard – now you know why its called Ivy League!

Sunday

Drive to Maine

Breakfast Becky’s Diner – Portland

Stopped at L L Bean

Lunch in Wiscasset at Red’s

Pemoquid Lighthouse

Camden – stayed at Camden Riverhouse Hotel

Camden at night

Monday 

Windjammer cruise

Drive to Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park

Penobscot Observation Tower

Bar Harbor – stayed at Bar Harbor Motel

Dinner – West Street Cafe

Camden from the windjammer

 

View of Camden from Mount Battie

 

Penobscot Narrows Bridge

Tuesday

Acadia National Park – Thunder Hole, Cadillac, swimming Echo Lake Beach, Jordan Pond House, Cadillac Mountain

Dinner – Cafe This Way

Thunder Hole at Acadia National Park

 

Cadillac Mountain

 

Jordan Pond House

Wednesday

Shopping downtown Bar Harbor – it was cold and bought sweatshirts!

drove through Portland, ate lunch

Prouts Neck to see Black Pointe Inn

Kennebunkport – stayed at Rhumb Line Resort

Ate dinner at Federal Jack’s

Hung out at Kennebunk Beach and drove by the Bush compound

Foggy morning in Bar Harbor

Kennebunkport

Thursday

Hung out at Kennebunk Beach

Drove to Boston

Ate at Boston Logan airport – Legal Seafoods

Flight Home

Kennebunk Beach


Trip Report – West Virginia (and parts of Virginia)

West Virginia is one of the prettiest states. It’s very similar to Arkansas in the fact that the beauty is being outside. There’s no one place to visit in West Virginia as the population is very spread out. The largest city is Charleston with a population of only 51,000 people. We made Beckley, population 15,000, our home base for this Columbus Day weekend trip. To really see the state, prepare to drive around — a lot! But the real beauty is found on the scenic winding roads through coal towns. If you’ve never been, put West Virginia on your bucket list! Please click on the individual links for more pictures and details of the sites we visited.

 

Itinerary for a Weekend in West Virgina 

click here for map

Outside Beckley Miner's Museum, WV

 

Day 1:

Scenic Drive – Abingdon, VA

Exhibition Coal Mine Museum – Beckley

Scenic Drive to Charleston, WV

 

 

Day 2:

The Greenbrier Resort – White Sulphur Springs, WV

The Omni Homestead Resort – Hot Springs, VA

Covington, VA area

Spruce Knob & Seneca Rocks

Blackwater Falls – Davis, WV

 

 

 

Day 3:

New River Gorge Bridge – Fayetteville, WV

Mt. Airy, NC (home of Andy Griffith)


Blackwater Falls State Park – Davis, WV

Just about 20 miles shy of the Maryland border, Blackwater Falls lies in the northern end of West Virginia. Passing the ski resorts of Canaan Valley and Timberline Four Seasons, we drove through Davis and into the state park.

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An easy 1/4- mile trail to the falls

I had read this was one of the top 10 places to visit in West Virginia and we had driven two hours out of the way for this. It did not disappoint. Walking down a 1/4 mile path, we soon heard the rush of the falls. They roared magnificently.

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Blackwater Falls

One last look at Blackwater Falls

With several vantage points, we could see an even higher outlook in the distance. Unfortunately we were out of time to explore any other paths. However, the leaves showed the first signs of Autumn.

Wonder how to get to that view point?

Wonder how to get to that view point?

Leaving, we noticed the state park had a 54-room lodge and several walking trails. For more information, see Blackwater Falls State Park.