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Day 1: Washington, DC
A crossroads of politics and culture, history and style, Washington, DC delights and inspires like no other destination. Fashioned after Paris by the city designer Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the capital city grew up along the banks of the Potomac River, in a location chosen by George Washington. The city’s most famous landmarks, including the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, are clustered around the National Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol. DC’s inspiring memorials and powerful landmarks are complimented by a fascinating collection of hip and historic neighborhoods that delight visitors with walking tours, trendy restaurants, sidewalk cafes and quaint boutiques. Self-guided heritage trails relate the history of some of DC’s most fascinating neighborhoods, from Southwest to U Street. As you explore DC, plug into the power of a city that makes history every day. It’s here where you can see the original Declaration of Independence, sit in on a Supreme Court hearing or catch a jazz set in Duke Ellington’s boyhood neighborhood. DC’s powerful moments are yours to discover.
Day 2: Washington, DC
Spend a day exploring the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the free collection of Smithsonian Museums, including the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum. Then pick a neighborhood and go exploring. Georgetown is a perennial favorite - with its high end shopping and dining, quaint 18th century rowhouses and bustling Potomac River waterfront.
Day 3: Washington, DC – Baltimore (40 m / 64 km)
Baltimore is Maryland's largest city - known for its beautiful harbor, distinct neighborhoods and unique museums. The Inner Harbor, now surrounded by shops, restaurants and attractions, made Baltimore a hub for tobacco trade with England in its earliest days. When the British tried to cripple America's efforts to become ruler of the seas, America responded by declaring war in 1812. Historic Fort McHenry, where troops successfully defended Baltimore's beloved harbor, remains a popular attraction. While in “Charm City” be sure to visit the Maryland Science Center and National Aquarium, the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, American Visionary Art Museum, B&O Railroad Museum and Geppi's Entertainment Museum - a journey through 250 years of American pop culture. Trendy neighborhoods for dining and late night fun include Fells Point, Harbor East and Little Italy.
Day 4: Baltimore - Annapolis (30 m / 48 km)
Come “Sail Away” to Annapolis, an 18th-century seaport town and America's Sailing Capital. Best known for the Chesapeake Bay, the U.S. Naval Academy and tasty steamed crabs and crab cakes, Annapolis offers the perfect balance of small town charm and big city sophistication. Discover a treasure trove of historic attractions in Annapolis, where Colonial-era buildings abound. Stroll the beautiful U.S. Naval Academy campus and experience the awesome sight of 4,000 midshipmen in formation. Explore 500 miles of magnificent shoreline and historic Chesapeake Bay light houses and discover a way of life indelibly linked to the Bay.
Day 5: Annapolis – Virginia Beach (220 m / 354 km)
Cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Maryland’s Eastern Shore and enter the “land of pleasant living.” This special landscape has a stunning diversity of experiences, from long, sandy beaches to birdwatching, lighthouse tours, boating and exploring charming and historic waterside villages. Continue south down the “Delmarva” peninsula, crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to Virginia Beach, a vibrant oceanside city offering visitors all the excitement of a large metropolitan area, nestled in the mild climate of a rich coastal environment. Virginia Beach’s most famous landmark, the nearly three-mile oceanfront boardwalk, is a popular thoroughfare for walking, running, biking, and strolling in the sun. A visit to Virginia Beach is rife with decisions to be made, should you first go kayaking with dolphins, jump on a jet ski, embark on a sport fishing adventure, hike through a wildlife refuge - or perhaps just lay on the sun-drenched beach all day long? The chic and elegant mingle at Virginia Beach’s newest downtown area, Town Center, spanning 17 city blocks of upscale retail, exciting outdoor cafes, restaurants and nightlife.
Day 6: Virginia Beach - Williamsburg (60 m / 97 km)
Fueled by the riches of the tobacco industry, Williamsburg became an opulent 18th century city until Richmond took over as Virginia' capital in 1780. While several buildings were still in existence in the 1920's, it was out of the deep pockets of oil baron John Rockefeller that a gigantic restoration and reconstruction program was funded, resulting in what is now Colonial Williamsburg. One can easily spend a few days exploring all the houses, buildings, exhibitions, gift shops, staged court scenes and militia parades in period uniform. It is best to purchase a Day Pass at the Visitors Center, providing admission to all major attractions including nearby Carter's Grove Plantation. Williamsburg is part of Virginia’s Historic Triangle which includes Jamestown and Yorktown. Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in north America. The ideas of revolution were fanned at Williamsburg. Independence was won in the final victory at Yorktown. Experience the past along with modern attractions such as Busch Gardens Williamsburg, named the world’s “Most Beautiful Theme Park”. Busch Gardens boasts more than 50 rides and attractions including the world’s tallest floorless dive roller coaster. Don’t miss the world-class golf and outlet and specialty shopping while in Williamsburg.
Day 7: Williamsburg - Richmond (60 m / 97 km)
Richmond enjoys 400 years of history and has something for everyone, whether you are passionate about history, the arts, gardens, architecture, theme parks, whitewater rafting, golf, shopping, museums or sports. Visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Shop the “mile of style” in Carytown, Richmond’s boutique shopping district. Walk the 1.25 mile canal walk along the James River and Kanawha and Haxall canal or take the canal cruise. Learn Richmond’s Civil War history at the Museum of the Confederacy or the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar Ironworks. Drive along Richmond’s famous Monument Avenue, one of America's most beautiful boulevards.
Day 8: Richmond - Charlottesville (70 m / 113 km)
Charlottesville is a college town with a sophisticated vibe, but it’s the legacy left by Thomas Jefferson that makes it so special. Visit his mountaintop home, Monticello and the historic grounds of the University of Virginia – both of which he designed and which today appear on the prestigious World Heritage List. The surrounding area is famous for wine trails that wind through the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Virginia is home to more than 190 vineyards and is one of the top five wine producing states in the USA.
Day 9: Charlottesville - Shenandoah National Park (50 m / 80 km)
View some of the most scenic vistas in the eastern United States on the Skyline Drive, a national scenic byway, as you soar along the crest of Virginia’s famed Blue Ridge Mountains. You will pass through the protected setting of the Shenandoah National Park, where seventy five scenic overlooks offer stunning views and the chance to enjoy the local flora and fauna. Hiking, horseback riding and Park Ranger-led special programs are favorite activities. Don’t miss a stop at Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah Valley, the largest caverns in eastern America.
Day 10: Shenandoah National Park – Washington, DC (100
m / 160 km)
Return to Washington for additional nights, or to continue to the airport for your return flight home.
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