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Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

Leeds, United...
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Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

My husband and I are in the very early stages of planning next years holiday to America and have got as far as deciding to fly to Washington DC and then all we really know is that we would like to see the Amish County, Blue ridge mountains, Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach area then fly back from Washington to England but not necessarily in that order.

We'll hire a car but only for time away from Washington City and intend to spend around $120/$150 per night on accomodation and will be happy to stay from a few nights to just a quick stopover depending on what there is to see and do.

We love walking (hiking) and generally being outdoors. Not into museums really but enjoy wandering around a city looking at buildings and of course people watching!

We would love some advice and information to help us plan our exact itinerary

Washington, Virginia
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1. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

Sounds lovely, for what you are planning I would plan this trip for the fall, mid Sept to late October.

Leeds, United...
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2. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

Have to keep to school holidays I'm afraid...the joys of looking after our grandchildren (but worth it)

La Plata, Maryland
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3. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

Most attractions in Washington, D.C. are free of charge, including the many Smithsonian Institution museums http://www.si.edu , the Capitol building, White House, National Gallery of Art, various monuments and memorials, National Zoo, Washington Cathedral, and (Catholic) National Shrine. Mount Vernon (George Washington's riverfront plantation home) is also very scenic.

Major highlights of the Blue Ridge Mountains area are the scenic winding road "Skyline Drive" including Skyland Lodge and Big Meadows Lodge there (and "Appalachian Trail" hiking path which parallels Skyline Drive), the 3 or 4 cavern tours (the best one of the lot being "Luray Caverns"), and the Museum of American Frontier Culture in Staunton (with reconstructed farmhouses of the German, Ulster, and English traditions). Charlottesville, a sophisticated university-city, is rated on many lists as one of the finest small cities in USA to live in, or retire to. The major attraction in Ch'ville is Monticello, the restored, mountaintop home of Thomas Jefferson- there are also numerous winery farms nearby.

Virginia Beach is a very popular resort, has a fine, wide boardwalk with cycling paths, and countless excellent tourist facilities.

Colonial Williamsburg is perhaps the world's best example of a living-history restored town. You will probably want to buy tickets (passes) at the visitor center there, although you can actually stroll the town without tickets if you don't enter the historic buildings. Many motels are there. Also in Williamsburg are Busch Gardens, which is rated as USA's prettiest theme park/amusement park - each section represents the architecture and entertainment of a different European country. The reconstructed Jamestown settlement is a few miles away along a scenic road, as is "Water Country USA" splash park.

The Amish country just east of Lancaster is also very popular and has many facilities for tourists. For an authentic educational experience, you can also pay to have dinner (at a table with other tourists) in the homes of certain Amish families if you wish (ask about this at tourist information bureaus there) and see their way of life first-hand.

La Plata, Maryland
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4. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

Annapolis is another very charming city with its narrow streets, many art galleries and gift shops (some with nautical themes), guided tour of the U.S. Naval Academy, yacht harbour, and old historic state capitol building. All these sights are in a compact area easy to stroll in.

Leeds, United...
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5. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

This info is all really useful and welcome..thankyou

6. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

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Leeds, United...
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7. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

Thanks so much I will certainly take it all into consideration. The bike rental sounds just up our street too.

Vienna, Virginia
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8. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

If you enjoy walking and hiking, I highly recommend Great Falls Park. The waterfalls are spectacular and can be viewed from either the Virginia (rougher) or Maryland side. There are also some beautiful trails you can take there. On the Maryland side the C&O Canal trail is very scenic too (also fun to bike). The entrance fee to the park is $5 per car.

Leeds, United...
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9. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

That does sound lovely...I wish we could stay for a month ha ha. Thanks again for all the information. We're booking our flights this week and so will be coming up with an itinery too. The tips you've all given will be really useful.

Alexandria, VA
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10. Re: Advise for trip from England in summer 2010

You didn't say how long you'd be here, but I agree with the Annapolis suggestion and would urge Charlottesville or Williamsburg over Virginia Beach. Think you'd find them more interesting.

Amish country is beautiful Also would schedule some shopping time there, since Lancaster has some of the best outlet malls in the U.S. Good to hit in the evenning when everyone else is at dinner. Very good buys and no tax there on clothing.

Enjoy your planning.