Monticello and Charlottesville, VA

Monticello UNESCO Charlottesville

I saw quite a bit of Virginia on this trip; I was tired when I got home. My 9 hour trip included a visit to a wooded Civil War battlefield complete with remnants of trenches, Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello, and his other creation nearby, the University of Virginia. This trip took me and Ollie through huge expanses of farmland and rolling hills on a meandering path through the Virginia wing of America’s Bible Belt. The Wilderness (part of Fredericksburg […]

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Manassas, VA

Manassas Civil War Bull Run

I had a vague idea before my trip to Manassas why this town holds an important place in American history. I knew it was the site of the first major land battle of the Civil War, when the people realized for the first time that a nasty war was ahead. I remember reading somewhere that the fashionable set from Washington DC came out for the day to to watch the battle for entertainment. My first stop was to the city […]

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Fairfax County, VA: Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

Waterfall at the end of Scott's Run

After learning about Scotts Run Nature Preserve on one of my favorite websites, Hiking Upward, I took my dog for a hike down one of its several trails leading from Route 193 to the Potomac River.  Scotts Run has to be one of the most beautiful hikes in the DC area, and it’s is only a 20 minute drive from my apartment.  The turn-off on Route 193 is easy to miss if you’re not paying attention though.  Even on a […]

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Loudon County, VA: Leesburg

Leesburg Loudon

Leesburg, VA Leesburg is a city with about 40,000 people about 35 miles northwest of Washington DC, on the edge of Virginia’s wine country. The city is not named after Robert E. Lee, as I thought, but after Thomas Lee, a political figure from the 1700s. After reading a story in the Washington Post about how the smaller cities around DC, such as Leesburg and Frederick are in the midst of a resurgence after going through an emptying-out of their […]

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Ellicot City, MD and Patapsco Valley State Park

Another great day trip from DC is Ellicot City, MD, a quaint and historic town about 10-15 miles west of Baltimore.  I was planning to go to Richmond or Charlottesville, but did not feel like driving the 2 hours with my dog because he gets antsy in the car on rides over an hour or so. I definitely plan to visit those sites soon, just not this weekend. My plan was was to hit Ellicot City, explore a little bit […]

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DC: Meridian Hill Park

Meridian Hill Park NW DC

I’m fortunate to live only three blocks away from Meridian Hill Park, an intelligently designed, century-old urban park off 16th Street in the U Street-Columbia Heights area of NW Washington DC. The park used to be a no-go area after dark, and I bet it was a no-go area during the day for most of the 80s and 90s during the crime wave, but now it’s a haven for families, joggers, soccer players, and dog walkers like me. I take […]

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Harpers Ferry, WV

Potomac River near Harpers Ferry

I think one of the best day trips from Washington, DC is Harpers Ferry, WV and nearby Sheperdstown, WV. They are only about 1.5 hours away and the route up there doesn’t really have the traffic you see on routes like I95. Not only is Harper’s Ferry a unique site in a geographic sense, it holds a significant place in American history and retains some beautiful–albeit restored–architecture. Sheperdstown is a beautifully preserved 19th century town with a nice main street […]

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Calvert County, MD

Flag Ponds dog

I first visited Calvert County in 2012 on a fossil hunting trip along the western coast of Chesapeake Bay. I had read in a travel guide that Calvert Cliffs State Park is a prime location for finding 50 million year old shark teeth, so I decided to give it a go. I combed the beach for a while, even digging some shallow pits on the beach in the hopes of finding some  specimens but came up with nothing. It was […]

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Virginia Apple Picking and Winery

Virginia vineyard

One of our fall traditions is to go apple picking at Stribling Orchard (Markham, VA), a huge apple and peach orchard right off I66 about 1.5 hours west of Washington, DC. This orchard has about 1 million apples all ready to be picked between September and October. I can’t say enough good things about this place. You can drive you car through the orchard, park where you want, and pick as many apples as you need. Picker poles (just made […]

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Gettysburg, PA

Dog at Little Round Top, Gettysburg

As a history buff and Army veteran, I am interested in Civil War battlefields. There is probably no other city in the country better situated than Washington, DC for touring the battlefields of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Most are within a 2 hour drive away. Having seen Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Antietam, I figured I drive up to Gettysburg, PA to see the big one. Trip Logistics:From DC, Gettysburg is a nice drive up I270 through Frederick, MD and Route 15 […]

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