hey Folks ,
I'm planning to go down to Virginia in the XMas for three days. Any ideas for a day or two long trips around Northern Virginia (I'll be in Fairfax county near to DC).. I'm looking for more of non touristish things.. I lived in Baltimore for a while so have been to DC a lot and also some parts of Virginia like Luray Caverns, great falls , skyline drive etc
I'll appreciate any suggestions from people who know the area
thanks a lot
I used to live in Baltimore--so I've travelled around the area a little bit.
One possibility is to visit Civil War sites. The main places to visit would be Harpers Ferry, Virginia; Fredericksburg and just west a little ways, Chancellorsville, Virginia; also Gettysburg up in southern Pennsylvania (the largest battle of them all) and Antietam battlesite (largest one-day battle of the war) in western Maryland.
Out near Frederick, Maryland is a winery--I think its called Berrywine/Linganore that features all kinds of fruit wines--but it's probably closed in the wintertime.
But some of the best places to go is out east of Richmond, Virginia on the peninsula where there is Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Jamestown. Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in North America. They've been digging up the area to find out exactly where all the houses were and have uncovered a lot of great stuff. Williamsburg is the first capital of Virginia--and is still maintained exactly as it was back in 1790 or so. They have lots of people walking around in the summer pretending they are people who lived there in the 1700s when the country first broke off from the English. And Yorktown is the site where the English general Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington, essentially ending the Revolutionary War and gaining independence for the United States.
And the other good places to go would be Mount Vernon--George Washington's old home, and Monticello--Thomas Jefferson's old home--both great to visit.
If you want to go a ways farther, go down to Ashville, North Carolina and visit the Vanderbilt estate--or go to Nashville and visit the Grand Old Opry, Opryland, The Hermitage, and the country western music recording centers. Probably too far to go over 3 days, though.
Lexington, Virginia is a wondeful small town set in the beautiful Virginia countryside. It will be lovely at Christmastime. Also, Charlottesville and its surrounding areas is a great place to see. C-ville is home to UVa, founded by Thomas Jefferson and near to the University is his home with many of his cool inventions (the dumb waiter, the first copy machine, a clock that also knows what day of the week it is). Charlottesville is a much bigger town than Lexington and you will be able to find some things to do at night. Lexington and Charlottesville are about an hour from each other, and you could drive between them taking the scenic skyline drive. There is also lots of hiking in the area, but I think its going to be really cold this week!
I have travelled all over the world, and I have many favorite places, but I never realized how wonderful the blue ridge and alleghanies are in southwestern Virginia, until I have been away from it for so long. I have fond memories of driving there from Washington, DC, an easy and enjoyable trip, especially if you take 66 to 81 an head south.
I hope you enjoy your trip wherever you go!