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Notes from
the Road

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Washington, DC
Weekend Vacation Getaway

Destination Overview

Washington has been the backdrop for some of the country’s proudest and saddest moments; John Kennedy’s inauguration, the Cuban missile crisis, the Civil Rights movement, the Kennedy and Reagan funerals, Watergate, the Iraq wars, the Clinton sex scandal, the man on the moon, the Mideast Peace Agreement, the fall of communism and so much more. I was actually in Washington the day Martin Luther King was assassinated and had to flee the City as the rioting started.

Seeing the nation’s capital on TV is one thing, to see it in person is quite something else. No city evokes such feelings of pride and patriotism. To see our seat of government and its majestic buildings and monuments, particularly at night, is to inspire even the most jaded. I have been to Washington many times over the years and actually lived in Northern Virginia for a time. To this day I still get shivers down my spine at the site of the White House and Capitol and Jefferson Memorial. Watching people who have lost loved ones, some they never knew, at the Vietnam Memorial, is to understand in some small way the sacrifices people have made for this great country.

Loads of activities, great restaurants and wonderful places just to stroll along make this an outstanding choice for a weekend getaway. Unique to many major cities, the “country” is a short distance from the heart of the city, opening up other possibilities for sightseeing and dining. There is much history to the Virginia and Maryland countryside and two of our favorite restaurants are in the “country.”

Click picture to enlargeBreakfast at AquarelleView from SequoiaSequoia Lunch

Making Your Travel Plans

To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

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Click picture to enlargeTabard Inn BarMendocino GrillOld Ebbitt Grill

Getting There

Washington can be reached by air from anywhere in the country. Reagan Airport is virtually in the City on the Potomac while Dulles is about an hour outside in the Virginia countryside. Washington is a 4 hour drive from New York and 3 from Philadelphia. Amtrak services Washington from most major eastern cities and is about a 3 1/2 hour trip from New York and 2 from Philadelphia. It is really a delightful way to travel to DC.

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When To Go

Washington is a great place to visit any time of year with the possible exception of July/August when it can be very humid and crowded with tourists. Spring, with the cherry blossoms in bloom, may be the most beautiful time of the year.

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Getting Around

Public transportation is excellent and taxis are plentiful. You will not need a car unless you want to visit our “Hall of Fame” property and restaurant and another of our restaurant recommendations, both in the Virginia countryside. For those trips, a rental car or car service is easily obtained.

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Accommodations/Dining

There’s no longer any need to roll the dice on where you stay or to settle and stay at a “safe” national chain. BestWeekends Travel Advance Team takes the worry out of where to stay when you go away.

The BestWeekends Travel Advance Team does all the work for you. We research each destination by scouring the guidebooks, articles, blogs, reviews and rating systems. Then we visit the destination and stay in the properties. Finally, we talk to the locals to be sure we didn’t miss anything. The result: we post on our site only the best of what we experienced. You can book with confidence knowing that “we’ve been there” and that no one pays us for a review. Inside see our Featured Properties.

When you are away on vacation, there’s few things worse than a bad dining experience. We agree, so we follow the same process for identifying restaurants as we do for accommodations, but with an extra step. We believe that the best dining experience has the strongest combination of food, ambiance and service. Good food is a given in our recommendations, but the best food in the world just doesn’t taste as good in a poor setting and the best setting with poor service just doesn’t cut it for us. The BestWeekends Travel Advance Team only presents those restaurants that meet our strict criteria. Mangia….enjoy! See our Favorite Restaurants.

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Things To Do

No visit to Washington is complete without a tour of the monuments; Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, Vietnam War and others. While it is nearly impossible to see inside the White House these days, a walk or drive-by is a must, particularly at night when it is all lit up. A visit to Arlington Cemetery and the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier isn’t to be missed; a moving experience when you realize how many people have given their lives for our country. There are two tours not to miss and our Destination Profile will tell you what they are.

Washington is a big museum town with a museum for almost any interest. Holocaust, dinosaurs, international spies, space, medical, historical documents are just some of the topics. We’ll share with you the best ones to see during your limited visit.

Other favorite stops include the National Arboretum, 446 acres of flowers, trees and bushes from all over the world, the DC zoo and the National Cathedral, There are wonderful walking and biking opportunities in a delightful park or along canal towpaths, places to rent boats and kayaks, world class art galleries, specialty shops and boutiques and maybe the best flea market we have ever seen.

We understand that you can only do so much on a weekend getaway, so we don’t overwhelm you with choices. Our complete Destination Profiles highlight only the “best” and not the rest. If you like museums, we tell you the 1or 2 not to miss. Fishing your thing? We tell you what charter to use. Golf your passion? We know the best local course. Too many choices confuse the situation and since we have “been there and done that” we are in a unique position to steer you in the right direction. Here's the complete list of Things To Do.

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BestWeekend' s Exclusives

After selecting our favorite places to stay and eat, we sat down and made a list of all the other things that would save you time and make your stay more enjoyable. The result is “Special Things” and “Good To Know, Good To Go,” BestWeekends Exclusives.

Special Things identifies unique, fun and romantic things for couples to do together in a particular destination. Good to Know is our list of the “best” of everything from breakfast to burgers, cocktails to after dinner fun and much, much more. Why stumble around trying to find the “best”….we’ve already done it for you!

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Don't Miss

  • Eastern Market Flea Market on Saturdays, 7th and C Street SW
  • Georgetown Flea Market on Sundays, Wisconsin and S Street NW.
  • Old Town, Alexandria
  • The Kennedy Center free 6pm concert
  • The monuments
  • Library of Congress
  • Mt. Vernon
  • Georgetown
  • C& O Canal
  • National Zoo
  • Piano Bar at the Morrison
  • Drinks at the Sky Terrace
  • Dinner at 1789
See my Photo Scrapbook.

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News and Resources

The legendary Washington Post  (remember Watergate?)is the town's primary newspaper, although conservatives prefer the Washington Times. Washingtonian is the leading magazine and the source for "best of" info and all events.

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