Weekend Adventures in America: June 2011

I have found that taking occasional weekend trips is, in some ways, more gratifying than taking a long excursion. With short 3-4 day trips, there are opportunities to go away more often and therefore more things to look forward to during the year. It also presents a good opportunity to explore different areas in short sittings, or revisit a favorite area.

So far this year, Steve and I went to Atlantic City for a long weekend back in February, Boston/New England area to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in March, and Virginia/Washington D.C. last weekend to celebrate his cousin’s graduation. The last trip to Virginia in particular sparked another idea for another reoccurring theme here at F-R: I thought it would be fun to keep track of the details of these trips via blogging, since they can sometimes be overlooked when we try to cram in as much as possible. This also might be a good resource for others who might like to take a similar trip in the future!

Starting point: Easton, PA
To: Tysons Corner, VA

We stayed at the Marriott and got a great rate of $89/night by booking for Thursday and Friday earlier in the week on hotels.com. This hotel has 15 floors with a Shula’s Steakhouse and bar in the lobby. A swimming pool, whirlpool jacuzzi and fitness center are located on the 2nd floor, all of which were empty when we were there.

Our first night, we made a reservation with Opentable.com for a restaurant called Hearth at the Hilton, a short drive away from our hotel although traffic and construction made it a little longer of a drive than expected. It opened about a month or two ago and has gorgeous decor: lovely, buttery soft white leather seats and alluring fires burned in strategically placed contained glass enclosures. A nice cold glass of Chandon brut and the mushroom flatbread is highly recommended.

There are a lot of shopping opportunities at Tyson’s Corner, thanks to two gigantic malls that are relatively close to one another. We went to one of them, but were unable to walk around the whole mall because it was so huge. I used part of a gift card I had for Talbots to buy a summery cardigan in a bright melon color, and also went to Lush to buy some handmade bath stuff.

In addition to shopping, several large businesses are located in the area along with nice day spas (didn’t get to go to one, but would have liked to), hotels and restaurants. Washington DC is approximately a half hour away, depending on traffic.

From: Tysons Corner, VA
To: Washington, D.C.

On Friday we went to D.C. for the day, although we didn’t last long outside because of the heat. On previous trips, we visited museums and monuments at The Mall, so this trip was more of a “let’s walk around the city just to have something to do” visit. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (it was okay, nothing to write home about since they were super busy… a lot of schools were taking their end of the year trips this weekend, we found) and visited the International Spy Museum, Steve’s first visit and my second, which was fun but definitely catered more towards kids and young adults.

As mentioned, we couldn’t take the heat so we returned to the hotel and went shopping at one of the Tyson’s Corner malls later in the day before dinner at Shula’s in the hotel. I recommend the crab cakes and lobster mash potatoes, both were delicious.

From: Tysons Corner, VA
To: Strasburg, VA and Winchester, VA

Woke up early, left the hotel and headed to the graduation party on Saturday afternoon. We had a nice time here and visited with Steve’s relatives.

On our trip to Boston back in March, we stayed at the Aloft in Lexington, MA and had a great time taking in the cool decorations and the great amenities the hotel had to offer, including: an indoor swimming pool, a free pool table and comfy seating in the lobby, a hotel bar, and a very nice fitness center. Upon walking into the hotel, there was also a very pleasant smell that I can only describe as the satsuma fragrance from The Body Shop; a fresh, sweet, orangey-citrus smell that must be a signature air freshener. When I saw that there was an Aloft in nearby Winchester, VA that recently opened only a year or so ago, I didn’t have to think twice about booking a room for the evening. It lived up to our previous experience and I would definitely stay here again.

From: Winchester, VA
To: Frederick, MD and Home

On our way home on Sunday, we stopped in Frederick, MD for lunch at a nice Thai restaurant (Thai iced tea… yummmmm…..) and to see the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Fun fact I learned there: Approximately 10,000 to 40,000 bodies were embalmed during the Civil War and the cost of embalming was extremely cheap, ranging from $25 for captains/officers of various kinds to $50 for regular soldiers and $100 for civilians.

We also passed through Gettysburg, PA on the way home and saw a glimpse at the military park and some of the battlefields. We didn’t stop anywhere, but it was cool to see.

Forgot to bring a camera so, unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from this trip… :frown: