It's summer and that means day trips! I compiled a list of some of my favorite places to visit in the NOVA/DC area that I hope will inspire some memorable adventures for my local friends. To learn more about each location, just click on the underlined name to be directed to their website.
So here's the list...
The beautiful and fabulous Hillwood Estate is nestled in a quiet neighborhood in north west DC. Michael and I originally visited this 1920's style mansion for their annual Seer Sucker Social. There's certainly nothing like experiencing a piece of history with the costumes to match. When there isn't an event at the estate, it is open Tuesday through Sunday for visitors to tour the house and the grounds, relax in the backyard, saunter through the gardens, and even enjoy Sunday afternoon tea at the estate cafe. This is quite the city escape. For a moment, you will forget you are in a big, bustling city while you are immersed in chrystal chandeliers, high ceilings, tapestry, and sparkling jewels.
I could go on for pages about what to do in DC proper, but your one stop shop for seeing everything that you absolutely HAVE to see, is the DC Red Bus Tour. It's a "hop on, hop off" experience that follows several different routes around the city, stopping at every notable site along the way.
This has always been a favorite ever since I moved to the DC area in 2007. The downtown area is quaint with beautiful shops, restaurants, and even an authentic soda fountain above the local general store. We also love the new coffee shop Common Grounds as a place to relax and enjoy a beverage after walking around and shopping all day. Middleburg is close to Chrysalis Winery and the tiny village of Aldie is also nearby. There are historic buildings and churches, and so much beauty and history to soak up.
For a Bachelorette Party, a few years ago, I had the opportunity to stay the night at this place and tour the many surrounding wineries for a day. The Inn has an unexpected element. Outside it looks like a quaint, country bed and breakfast, but inside the decor is modern and contemporary. We enjoyed a lovely dinner in the restaurant. They regularly host themed meals with several courses, and often have live music on the grounds when it's warm outside. This is a nice, quiet getaway that isn't a long drive from the city.
There are just so many things to look at in Lucketts Store. This wonderland of antiques and vintage items is nestled just outside of adorable downtown Leesburg. After you sift through lots of beautiful antiques and roam around the yard for precious treasures, you can go next store to the Beekeeper's Cottage for some jewelry and speciality gifts. And if you have some time left over after drooling over vintage goods, you can check out downtown Leesburg. If you go on a Saturday, you can stay for Bluegrass at the local community center in the evening. Oh the down-home goodness!
Do you want to have the most fun day of your adult life? Do you want to relive every summer memory of water parks and giant slides, but in the winter..or...eh...summer? Well, you're in luck. Virginia has a giant indoor water park that guarantees all the childhood summer fun you could possibly have all year long. Yes, you heard me right. This place is open 365!
We spent a delightful weekend camping at Sherando Lake two summers ago. The campsites were a little too close together for my liking, but honestly that paled in comparison to the location, beautiful lake, swimming, grilling area, and hiking. The hills surrounding the lake are picturesque. You can swim from shore to a tiny island in the middle of the lake. After a nice swim, you can picnic or grill out, or pick up a sweet treat from the camp store nearby. We enjoyed a steep, but view-filled hike with a lot of nature to observe along the way. This is perfect for a day trip or even a weekend away!
And if all of these places weren't enough to keep you busy for at least a few weeks, here are some honorable mentions: