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

 


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)


The Omni Homestead Resort – Hot Springs, VA

Founded in 1766, the Omni Homestead rivals the Greenbriar. Remember these were both in Viriginia when founded as West Virginia didn’t become a state until 1861. A little less pretentious and right in the middle of town, we drove through a residential area (reminiscient of the Grove Park Inn) onto the grounds into a parking lot. the massive red-brick, Federal style hotel looked very Thomas Jefferson. The sun glistened on visitors sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch.

img_2977

img_2978

Come sit for a spell on the broad veranda

Inside, a large 2-story, classical lobby, also with palladium windows but not a zillion varieties of chintz, greeted us. At the far end, a more casual restaurant bar with more updated furnishings awaited.

Main Lobby at the Omni Homestead

Main Lobby at the Omni Homestead

img_2982

We veered towards the right past Martha’s (like a Starbuck’s with coffee and pasty counter service) to the George Washington Library. Two women played a game of checkers. Pictures of famous dignitaries who visited the resort flanked the book-lined cases. On the other side, visitors sat on floral lounge chairs in a light-filled sunroom. This is the front of the Tower, which was built in 1929 as an addition to the property.

The George Washington Library

The George Washington Library

 

Solarium

Solarium

Photos of celebrity guests

Photos of celebrity guests

Continuing along, we walked through rooms used for private events. Turning back around, we headed the other direction and walked past the arcade. Outside we saw the golf clubhouse and pool with water slide. A baby in a stroller cried. Kids ran by. The atmosphere seemed less pretenscious.

One of the Homestead dining rooms

One of the Homestead dining rooms

img_2988

The town reminded me almost of a ski town. We wanted to eat at Sam Sneads Tavern but it was closed for Sunday lunch. We settled on ___ and had hamburgers before departing.

Hot Springs, VA

Hot Springs, VA

We had another hour in Virginia and the towns just seemed to be a little bit better maintained. The scenery was beautiful as we were in the George Washington National Forest. For more information, click here.


Covington, VA

Between the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV and the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA lies Covington, VA. The Humpback Bridge is one of the last covered bridges and it is absolutely splendid.

img_2951

Humpback Bridge

The other thing worth seeing in the area is the Falling Spring waterfall, which is right off the side of the road.

Falling Springs Waterfall

Falling Springs Waterfall