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18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

Lewes, United...
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18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

We have in total 18 full days for the trip. We arrive at IAD (Washington, Dulles International) in the evening of March 27 and depart from same airport the evening of April 14, 2014.

We already have an idea of what we wish to do, and thanks to lots of research and previous knowledge, have a fair idea of what is possible. However, I thought it might be beneficial to invite suggestions and would very much welcome ideas to add to our existing thoughts, and thus will say nothing of our current plans to avoid prejudicing contributions.

We will spend about 5 full days (which might be 5 or 6 nights) at the start or end of the trip in DC itself without a car, but otherwise we will have a rental car and will be road tripping. We haven’t decided for sure when we will be in DC as this may depend on our friends’ availability and we cannot contact them as they seem to be enjoying a world cruise right now! We are also aware that cherry blossom season can affect prices and availability, but cannot work out how to manage that as the peak blossom date is very much weather dependent and so unpredictable. Thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

Other things to say at this stage is that we plan to spend most if not all our time exploring DE, MD, WV, VA and PA in the main as they are the obvious states in the region, and also happen to be states we’ve not yet explored (although I’ve been to DC as a kid, briefly).

For info, we don’t usually do long driving days, and avoid Interstates when possible. We are happy to do several one-night stop runs before we put down roots for a few nights, and then we move on, mixing urban and rural pleasures. We are interested in history and architecture, wildlife and scenery and much, much more. We hope to have a few days of mainly hiking in the mix, but prefer to have a waterfall, viewpoint or other such reason to head somewhere rather than just for the exercise!

Another area of great interest is food, local food. We’re fans of US TV food programs such as DDD, but we would very much welcome personal recommendations for local food locations where home cooked meals are served.

(For information, this topic has already been posted on the Road Trips forum and that covers multi state trips well for general planning, and will be also posted on the forums for the other states that encircle the whole Chesapeake Bay area for more local input.)

Over to you, guys, with thanks!

scw
Bear, Delaware
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1. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

I've jotted a few items down for each state you've mentioned and hope others will contribute ideas, too. Virginia offers up both Civil War and Revolutionary War battle sites and museums. A real war buff could spend the entire 18 days just visiting those. I would recommend Monticello, Mt Vernon and Colonial Williamsburg as not to miss sites. Maryland's Eastern Shore is a beautiful area. You must visit Baltimore and Annapolis while there. Although small, my state of Delaware offers history from top to bottom. Northern DE offers you museums and estates once owned by the duPont family of Nemours France. Nearby in PA is Longwood Gardens and PA Dutch Country, home to the Amish. You didn't mention New Jersey, but you must see the grand architecture of Cape May, maybe even ride the ferry over to Lewes, DE.

Wilmington, DE
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2. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

For hiking...suggest looking at the area in VA known as the Skyline Drive and Shanandoah Natl Park. It could be combined with VA Civil War battle sites like Fredrericksburg and maybe Monticello. Colonial Williamsburg area would include Yorktown. In another direction, Gettysburg could be doable with a swing east to do Lancaster Amish area or down to DE (I'm another native). Rehoboth Beach offers a nice beach resort venue with excellent dining.

Lewes, United...
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3. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

Thanks, guys, for the input.

I'm getting lots of advice, with both common ground and differing ideas, from the several forums I have posted on.

I need to read all these posts much more carefully, check out the links and map out the locations. I will then revert with further questions, if I have any.

Thanks again.

SWT

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

This site should be very helpful: http://www.baygateways.net

On the Western Shore, Baltimore is a must. Visit Ft McHenry and enjoy a meal in the Fells Point neighborhood. Annapolis is a beautiful small city. Further south in VA, you will find lots to explore in Jamestown and Williamsburg, and Norfolk will offer a bit of an an urban break.

On the Eastern Shore, check out Chincoteauge, VA. In Delaware, Lewes is charming town and Rehoboth a great old style beach resort, offering a more relaxed style than nearby honky-tonk Ocean City, MD. In Maryland, you can make a day trip to remote Smith Island out of Crisfield. Some nice towns to visit include Cambridge, Easton, St Michaels, Chestertown and Chesapeake City. All of these, particularly the first four, offer nice B&Bs. There is not a lot to do in any of these Eastern Shore towns. The charm comes in making relaxing strolls and stopping for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

Lewes, United...
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5. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

Thanks again for yet more contributions to my posts.

The same names keep cropping up. That's really good news. First, it means I don't have yet another place to consider, but, secondly and more importantly, it means lots of you all thing those same places are worthy of my consideration to visit.

Still working on reading up links, other posts and general background info. Will revert, if I have a query.

SWT

Wilmington, Delaware
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6. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

Places to visit while in Delaware -

Historic New Castle - highly recommended stops include the Old New Castle Courthouse, seat of Delaware’s colonial and state government until 1777, the Delaware Historical Society’s Read House and Gardens, and the three museums operated by the New Castle Historical Society. Amazing town!

Dover - Go to First State Heritage Park for a hands on interactive historical experience of Delaware. Historical interpreters and tour guides in period clothing bring it to life...this is the spot to gain a greater understanding of our founding fathers. If you're into history - you will truly enjoy Dover!

Lewes - A trip to Lewes will offer you both martime historical fun, beaches and shopping PLUS dining! Places to explore - Cape Henlopen State Park (great hiking and scenic views), Second St. (shopping/dining) and the Lewes Historical Society.

I could go on and on..... great wildlife viewing spots to check out include Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Delaware Seashore State Park.

Lewes, United...
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7. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

Thanks for yet more info, all very much appreciated.

SWT

Philadelphia...
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8. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

My earlier suggestions centered quite close to the Bay. Given everything is pretty close in this region, Philadelphia is only an hour away from the Chesapeake. Since no one has mentioned it, I will. It is the birthplace of the US and filled with history, culture and charm. Although I am a proud Delawarean by birth, if I were forced to make a choice between spending time in sleepy Dover and New Castle or Philadelphia, it would be an easy decision. So, so much to do here. Add Philly to your research and see if it interests you: http://www.visitphilly.com.

Enjoy planning and hope you have a great visit to the area.

Rehoboth Beach...
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9. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

While I love Delaware, I wouldn't include it in your trip. We are three hours from DC, and at that time of year, I don't think it's worth your time. I would confine your travels west of Annapolis & south of Baltimore. There is so much to see. Harper's Ferry is really neat & over near the quaint town of Frederick (about 45 min northwest of DC). Be sure to let us know your plans! We are curious what you decide.

10. Re: 18 day loop of the Chesapeake Bay area from Washington, DC

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