a VirtualTourist member from Dal
I'll be on a businesstrip to Ashburn May 6.-May 12. I'll have a Hotel room in Ashburn and a car. I will do a little bit of working, but most of the time, I'll be on my own with no plans.
- Go to Washington DC and be a tourist?
- See how many states I can manage to visit in 5 days? by car? by greyhound?
- Experience Ashburn life?
Not much to do in Ashburn, although there are some nice places to eat. As it is one big suburb, there isn't really any night life...you need to go to Washington DC for that or in the very least to Reston or Herndon. That said, Ashburn is a very slow and laid back area with nice homes and quite streets. From there, by car, you are with less than 2 hours drive from 3 other states...all with their unique identity. There are farmer's markets, wineries, parks, all sorts of things to do nearby. Of course you can also go into Washington and see the monuments, museums, etc. What are your interests?
Thanks for your reply!
I'll probably spend at least one day just driving around. Seeing what there is to see. Do you have any suggestions for a place to see in each of the nearby states that will give me an impression of the difference between those states?
Visiting a winery would be nice as well, but I guess it will be more interesting to visit without a car?
I'll probably go to DC as well. To see the most important sights... But museums are not really my thing.
I see you are from Norway, but have you driven in the US before? If you have driven in Rome or on the autostrada, you should be prepared for driving here. As far as I know, there aren't any organized tours of the wineries so you will have to drive yourself to them. However, I think there is a shopping tour to the Leesburg area, but don't know if the same company includes a winery on the tour. Also, I know you said museums aren't your thing, but the Smithsonian Complex of museums are some of the best in the world...and they are free to visit. As fare as what to see in each state...again that depends on your interests. For instance you could drive up to Baltimore, Maryland...check out the inner harbor or maybe go to Annapolis. For Pennsylvania, you could go to the Harrisburg area or the Lancaster and check out Amish areas. Or you can see if you can get in some white water rafting over in West Virgina. There is just too much available with so short of a time available to you. Don't use the Greyhound.
If you've never been to DC before, definitely get a guide book and explore the national monuments, museums and memorials. If it's a federal museum, there will be no charge to get in. The national zoo is also free. But be careful that some museums (like the Corcoran Gallery of Art) are privately run and charge an entrance fee.
If you get tired of playing tourist in DC, here's a website I use frequently to come up with something to get my hubby and I out of the house on a weekend.
Looking through their calender during your time period, there is a Texas Hold'em poker night, a singles party cruise, a nightclub tour in DuPont Circle (DC neighborhood), archery lesson, whitewater rafting tour (I was going to second Old Dude's recommendation for this anyway), and others. Signing up for one these could be a little less intimidating than trying to drum up something fun to do on your own, and you have a great chance to meet new people. Btw, it's not only for singles (other than their singles parties). I'm married as I said earlier and I see lots of couples signing up for the activities, but on the other hand don't think that if you're single you'll feel like the odd man out. The groups tend to be nicely mixed.
Three different "events" on Saturday 10th that catch my liking.
- Whitewater Rafting
I am 75% sure I'll try to attend that rafting trip! (Anybody else here going? :-)
We're leaving in a week for Amsterdam and Italy (an odd pairing, but we're odd people), but I hope you enjoy your stay here!
Tou could drive over to the East Coast and try for a ferry to Tangier Island-interesting place- or take a trip to Charles Town, W VA for the horse races- head west to the Skyline Drive and take a hike on the Appalachian Trail-go for a couple of days down to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, where America was founded. I'll be in VA Beach that weekend for a steel drum festival and competition- the water will be cold, but people will still be out enjoying the beaches.
May is a great time to visit D.C.- before the heat and humidity get so bad. There are all sorts of places including the Holocaust Museum, all the monuments around the Mall, and I think the big shopping mall mentioned earlier is probably in Dale City, VA. (Potomac Mills Mall)
Potomac Mills is another outlet mall, but Old Dude was probably talking about the Leesburg Outlet Mall in Leesburg, VA which is (much) closer to Ashburn. Out of the two, Leesburg is my favorite. I just don't enjoy the parking hassles and crowds at Potomac Mills.
I know you said that museums weren't your thing but just in case olddude convinced you to check out the Smithsonian museums on the Mall, be aware that the Museum of American History is closed for renovations. I recently went to the Museum of the American Indian and it was great!
I'd definitely go for the drive down Skyline Drive beginning in Front Royal. Beautiful countryside throughout the drive.
Thanks to care 824 for the info on the Leesburg Mall- I haven't been there, but may check it out next time I'm in that area. I forgot to mention the Luray Caverns located in Luray, VA, near Skyline Drive and Wolf Trap has many concerts and performances.
Thanks. Lots of good suggestions.
A more direct question.. do you know of anyone who arranges SCUBA diving in the area? Just for a quick dive. I am certified but have no buddy.
I'm not a diver, but as far as I know, there are quite a few dive clubs in the area. Just google "dive locations Washington DC" to start your search for a club to get in touch with.
I've tried this already, but I was a little more lucky today. Most sites only advertise diving holidays. My googling today told me that North Carlina has a lot of companies organising local diving, but I found one in Virginia as well http://www.divequarters.com/
I think I now have the plans for the week more or less planned.
Tuesday: Get up at 05:00 CET, bus to Oslo Airport, Flight to Dulles via Munich.
Hire car, go to hotel in Ashburn. Eat out in Ashburn area. If jetlag permits, go to DC for a look around or Smithsonean at Dulles.
Wednesday: Work work work
Thursday: Work in the morning, drive colleague to airport and have look around Smithsonean at Dulles, or drive to DC to have a look around or maybe a Segway test-drive.
Friday: Unplanned. Work if necessary, maybe drive to Annapolis or Baltimore or Delaware or New Jersey.
Saturday: Drive to Harpers Ferry for some whitewater rafting in the morning. Depending on state of jetlag and bruises, drive the Skyline Drive and/or a trip to Pensylvania. Evening unplanned
Sunday: Maybe a little work, Smithsonean in DC, Smithsonean at Dulles, flight home. Arrive in munich at 5 in the morning and 4 hour wait there for my flight back home to Oslo where wife&kids will be picking me up.
Hope you have a great time, with only blue skies and friendly people in the forecast!
Just a quick summary of the trip.
- A lot of working
- Visited Smithsonian Air&Space both at Dulles and in Washington DC.
- Saw the Washington Monument
- Went to a Winery (By car)
- Had a walk around and a coffee in Annapolis
- Whitewater rafting in Harpers Ferry
- Lunch in Charles Town WV
- Visited Luray Caverns
- Crossed the Shenandoah national park and skyline drive by Highway 211. (To tired to drive the "high road" that evening)
- Had a walk on some beach in New Jersey
- Drove to White Clay Creek Preserve in Pensylvania and had a midnight stroll
Thanks all of you for your tips! I managed 6 states + DC and drove alltogether 709 miles. most of this was done in two afternoon/Evenings and one whole day!
I can't believe you did all that in 2 days! Great trip, Jan!
You go, guy! Talk about power traveling- hope you had a great time. Now, go home and get some rest!
Glad the tips helped and glad you enjoyed your trip. However, I only count 5 states + DC. So should we assume you also went to Delaware (on your way to New Jersey)? I guess you just forgot to list that one. Anyway, what you did is quite doable if one doesn't want to just sit around their hotel room when they are here. Most of what you did is within a 2 to 3 hour drive of where you were staying. If you had another day, you could have even taken a run at New York at the rate you were going. Awesome use of time dude....can't wait to read your tips!