America offers an unrivalled range of multi-centre holidays, and the Capital Region USA is a great place to combine city living and the great outdoors, says Ella Buchan.
The US weaves cultural experiences with the great outdoors like nowhere else, and one of the best areas to combine the two is the Capital Region USA.
Washington, D.C. has the monuments, museums and Michelin-starred chefs, while its immediate neighbours, Maryland and Virginia, are abundant with natural beauty, National Parks, farm-to-table dining, cosmopolitan capitals and towns brimming with charm and character.
Visitors can come for the culture and stay for the adventure with a trip bringing together the best of both worlds.
Jessie Manzi, team leader at USAirtours, said: “Washington, D.C. and Virginia are the perfect twin-centre option. Washington, D.C. is a place unlike any other – enjoy a few nights exploring monuments and memorials and eclectic neighbourhoods to discover the true local flavour.
“Then you can explore spectacular walking trails, the famous Blue Ridge Mountains and breathtaking National Parks in Virginia, a state which is rich in history, culture and adventure.”
Few places pack in more history and culture per square mile than Washington, D.C.. Visitors can gaze at the sky-piercing Washington Monument and snap selfies with Abe at the Lincoln Memorial, both within the National Mall. The grassy strip is also home to the Capitol Building, the White House and Smithsonian museums, so crammed with unmissable exhibits that tickets often allow a return visit the next day.
The newest addition is the hugely popular Museum of African American History and Culture, which transports visitors through US history from an African-American perspective. The bold bronze building just celebrated its first birthday, yet the free tickets continue to sell out months in advance.
Beyond the monuments, the capital has a growing reputation for fabulous food and hip nightlife. The city got its first Michelin guide in 2016, and boasts a thriving food-truck scene that is not to be missed.
A cluster of new hotels reflects this dynamic spirit. Opening in late 2017, The Line brings 220 modern rooms and James Beard-recognised chefs to a former church in Adams Morgan. Stylish budget hotel The Pod opened this summer in the vibrant Penn Quarter. Its underground Crimson Whisky Bar and rooftop bar will appeal to savvy travellers looking for style without the price tag.
October 2017 saw the birth of an entire new neighbourhood on a mile-long stretch of shoreline. The Wharf is reviving the waterfront with public piers, a distillery, restaurants, The Anthem entertainment complex and four Capital Bikeshare stations. A trio of hotels – America’s first Canopy by Hilton, a Hyatt House and the Intercontinental Washington D.C. – completes the exciting project.
Just over an hour from Washington, D.C. is Baltimore, which offers a day trip option or a gateway to the Capital Region through its international airport.
Must-visits include the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore Hotel on Fell’s Point Recreation Pier and the Sagamore Spirit Distillery, while The Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail is a new initiative that kicked off this month.
Just a short drive or train ride from D.C., visitors can reach the open spaces, vineyards and mountain towns of Virginia.
Shenandoah National Park is just 75 miles away, so following all that culture with an outdoor adventure is irresistibly easy. With 196,000 thickly-wooded acres roamed by deer and chirruping with birdsong, this is pinch-yourself pretty. There are more than 500 miles of biking and hiking trails, with forest punctuated by rocky outcrops. And now visitors can drink in those views with a beer or three, as the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail connects 12 breweries in the area.
There’s a lot happening in the state capital. The new Richmond Beer Trail links a further 23 craft breweries. Visitors can collect stamps at each brewery, earning a gift at the fifth stop.
The Graduate Richmond opened this July, bringing a dose of chic with its rooftop pool and bar. Out RVA is a new site dedicated to LGBT life in Richmond, offering insider tips on dining, nightlife and culture and connecting visitors with locals.
Construction is set to begin later this year on the $30 million American Civil War Museum. The Richmond building will combine artefacts from the Museum of the Confederacy with the waterfront location at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, creating a new 39,000-square-foot space of exhibitions and experiential theatre.
For a day trip from D.C., historic Alexandria is just eight miles away. But this cute and compact town, once home to George Washington and Jim Morrison, offers plenty of reasons to stay awhile. Tree-lined streets with boutiques and highly-rated restaurants stretch down to a marina which has recently been revived with new restaurants and an increased water taxi service, connecting Alexandria to D.C.’s National Mall and Maryland’s National Harbor. The town’s first waterfront hotel, Hotel Indigo, also opened this year.
USAirtours offers a seven‑night Washington, D.C. and Shenandoah National Park itinerary, including three nights in Washington and four nights in Lynchburg. Prices start from £1,099
for travel between January 1 and March 23, 2018, including British Airways flights from London and based on two sharing.
Find out more:
0800 035 0149
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