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Philadelphia - Gettysburg - Staunton - Washington in 5 days

Canberra
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Philadelphia - Gettysburg - Staunton - Washington in 5 days

Hi all. Looking for itinerary tips and suggestions for five days of travelling from Philadelphia to Washington DC from 23 Nov to 27 Nov (we have an extra 4 days in Washington DC, flying out of IAD on 1 Dec).

We arrive in Philadelphia on the morning of 23 Nov by train and plan to spend one night there. The plan is then to spend two nights in Gettysburg, one in Staunton and then arrive in Washington in the afternoon of 27 Nov. It will be three of us - my wife, daughter (5 year old) and myself. We will be travelling by car.

My wife and I have a passing interest in America's civil war (hence the Gettysburg visit) and my daughter wants to see the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River (thanks John Denver!). It's part of a 5 week trip all over the states. Accommodation and flights are booked either side, so there's no chance of extending beyond the five days.

So - does the itinerary sound about right? Any trips on the route?

Thanks all!

Mark (Canberra, Australia)

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1. Re: Philadelphia - Gettysburg - Staunton - Washington in 5 days

From Gettysburg, you can either drive Rt 15 south which is scenic that is just to the east of Shenandoah or you can head over to Skyline drive which is the ridge of the mountains. You will be past foliage but still worth doing. Skyline has a much lower speed limit and is meant for touring. This is a day trip either way which leaves you time to visit Staunton or Charlottesville.

On the way south, lunch in Frederick would be nice and you are a short distance from Harper's Ferry.

Edited: 21 August 2014, 18:37
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2. Re: Philadelphia - Gettysburg - Staunton - Washington in 5 days

I second the suggestion of adding Harpers Ferry on the way--the confluence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah is pretty neat to see.

http://www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm

I think the events of Harpers Ferry, its role in the Civil War, and its industrial importance are very well-interpreted at the park.

Good luck with your planning!

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3. Re: Philadelphia - Gettysburg - Staunton - Washington in 5 days

Traffic and train travel will be very heavy that week, building towards Thursday (Thanksgiving), with the heaviest being on Wednesday. Allow extra time for driving, and don't be surprised if the train is very crowded. You don't say where you are arriving from, but if it is in the northeast corridor (Boston to Washington), the train will be loaded with students and their laundry bags (apparently the don't do laundry until taking it home at Thanksgiving for mom to do). And be sure to have purchased your tickets well in advance, as trains on the northeast corridor can sell out that week. Thursday, the roads will be deserted- a great day to travel. Friday will have heavy traffic near the shopping malls. Sunday will be worse than Wednesday, as that is the one day everyone who traveled the previous week goes home. Nothing to panic about, just be prepared for slow going in spots.

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4. Re: Philadelphia - Gettysburg - Staunton - Washington in 5 days

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