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Not so usual things to do

Jacksonville...
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Not so usual things to do

I will be in the DC area from Thanksgiving through the next Friday, so 7 days of actual sightseeing time. Our base will be in Silver Spring at my partners parents' house. We will have a car but can also use the Metro if recommended.

I used to live in Rockville as a teenager and he grew up in Silver Spring so we have done most of the usual tourist destinations many times. What I am looking for are things to see and do that maybe take us off the Mall and the Monuments?

I know it is a bit usual but I do want to go to Mt. Vernon one day. Are there some other places to go in that area that are worth seeing?

If we don't have a plan we will end up sitting in front of the TV all day watching the news or going shopping. So not the way I want to spend my vacation.

I feel like this is a bit vague so feel free to ask for more info if you need it. Thanks!

kajo

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Not so usual things to do

Near Mount Vernon is Woodlawn Plantation. On the grounds of WP is a Frank Lloyd Wright house that was moved there to rescue it from the path of I-66's construction.

http://popeleighey1940.org/

Edited: 07 September 2010, 20:24
Jacksonville...
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2. Re: Not so usual things to do

Thanks jwhiteree that is just the sort of thing I was looking for. Anyone else?

Jacksonville...
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3. Re: Not so usual things to do

Anyone have something else?

Silver Spring...
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4. Re: Not so usual things to do

Have you been to Eastern Market? I like it on a Sunday a.m. I bet the Christmas trees will be there starting that weekend. Expensive trees; free sniffs.

I am not sure what is usual and unusual. I woudl not have thought that Mount Vernon was unusual. It is nice to stop in Old Town Alexandria on the way home.

Silver Spring...
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5. Re: Not so usual things to do

You may find this helpful also:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28970-i40-k323225…

Jacksonville...
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6. Re: Not so usual things to do

Maybe I mean the lesser known things.

We've been to the SI museums and the monuments, the White House, Capitol Building, National Archives, Arlington Cemetary, the Zoo etc. So I am looking for things that are slightly off the beaten track.

Yes, Mt Vernon is quite usual but I haven't been there in a long while so if the weather is nice enough while we are up I would like to go. While still usual I would like also to go to the Library of Congress, since that is one place I have never been.

I haven't ever been to the Eastern Market or even knew there was one. That sounds like fun. I would love sniffing the Christmas Trees, one of my favorite scents. Don't think I would buy one even if they were inexpensive since I wouldn't want to cart it back to FL with us. Where is it located?

Jacksonville...
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7. Re: Not so usual things to do

Oh wow. This is great just the sort of thing I am looking for. More please:-) !

La Plata, Maryland
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8. Re: Not so usual things to do

Brookside Gardens, I think it's called, in Wheaton Regional Park, MD. A beautiful indoor conservatory of tropical flowers and plants. Adjacent childrens nature center.

Great Falls of the Potomac -- accessible separately from either the MD or the VA side. The VA side has 3 platforms that extend out over the rushing rapids, a small museum, and picnic areas, also hiking trails such as the popular, steep hilly "Billy Goat Trail" and "Mather Gorge". The MD side has the 189-mile C&O Canal hike/bike path going past it.

Wheaton metro station escalator - the second longest escalator in the world (the only one bigger is in Moscow, Russia).

Savage Mill - a mall full of craft shops inside a renovated historic Mill factory building, located right beside I-95 in Savage, MD (between Laurel and Columbia, MD). Next to it is the very unusual, artistic antique "Bollman Truss Bridge" (picures of it are on google images, or wikipedia).

Ellicott City, MD (near Columbia) with its very old stone buildings, cafe's, gift shops, and train museum -- it appears almost like a Mountain town as its set in a steep gorge of the Patapsco River.

New Market, MD (east of Frederick) -- full of antique shops

Washington Cathedral - looks like a European Gothic-style cathedral with many stained-glass windows. Also has a "Bishops Garden" and a new parking garage.

National (Catholic) Shrine, in northeast D.C. - All around the rim of the main sanctuary, are dozens of devotional side chapels, each one devoted to a different national ethnic group, each one with stunning, colorful mosaic art work about that ethnic group's patron Saint. Easy parking and free admission, has a cafeteria and large gift shop.

Have you been in any of the newer museums, like the American Indian Museum and its outstanding cafeteria with "native American" style foods. See http://www.si.edu Also the Holocaust Museum - the gigantic "Newseum" which I understand can take all day as it's 4 or 5 stories high -- and the "International Spy Museum" all in D.C.

Medical Museum of the Armed Forces, which I believe is located at Walter Reed Hospital.

Historic downtown Frederick, MD and its many gift shops, cafe's, galleries.

colonial Annapolis, MD and its many art galleries and gift shops, yachts, pubs, cafe's, and Naval Academy Tour.

colonial Old Town Alexandria, VA and its many gift shops, galleries, cafe's and pubs, and "Torpedo Factory" 2-story Arts Studio complex next to the big boardwalk on the River, great for people-watching.

The new, National Museum of the Marine Corps - directly beside I-95 at Quantico, VA, and free admission - has replicated simulations of jungle and desert combat environments.

Bureau of Alcohol. Tobacco. and Firearms museum - or Drug Enforcement museum - in south Arlington, VA.

Edited: 09 September 2010, 01:17
La Plata, Maryland
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9. Re: Not so usual things to do

Further away: the town of Harpers Ferry, WV (accessible even by MARC commuter train from Silver Spring, if you stay there overnight) - located in a scenic gorge beside 2 rivers- full of 19th century stone buildings, preserved by the National Park Service and is full of Civil War re-enactors and exhibits. The Appalachian Trail (whose headquarters office is there) and the C&O Canal towpath, both of them also intersect at Harpers Ferry. The adjacent small college-town of Shepherdstown is very bohemian, artsy, and intellectual (you would need a car for that).

Gettysburg, PA - probably the #1 Civil War site in the USA - always full of costumed military re-enactors - hundreds of monuments over the miles of battlefield - a newly opened Park Service museum - many souvenir shops. Apple orchards in the surrounding area make it delightful in the Fall season.

Edited: 09 September 2010, 04:35
La Plata, Maryland
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10. Re: Not so usual things to do

While at Gettysburg, also tour the Harley-Davidson motorcycle factory, in nearby York, PA.

Tour the Amish farm country just east of Lancaster, PA. At the tourist bureau there, you can even make reservations to join an Amish family for supper in their home, a tour of their farm, and a discussion of their lifestyle.

In Baltimore, visit the National Aquarium, the Harborplace development, and the Visionary Art Museum (primitive, untrained artists). Stroll around the Fells Point neighborhood, and visit one of the several enclosed markets in the city. Also about that time of year, the residents of 34th street in Baltimore should be beginning their extreme, over-the-top, elaborate Christmas lights display (google "Miracle on 34th Street") for details.

Edited: 09 September 2010, 14:33