Got cool summer plans? After spending spring break on a bucket-list trip to Thailand, I’ll be keeping it more low key this summer. Below are my favorite weekend getaways that are convenient to DC and perfect for a sunny day or leisurely weekend.
Old Town Alexandria. A mere nine miles away and worth a full day. Take the free trolley or walk the cobblestone streets (for extra steps!) down King Street to the town square where you can take a historic tour of the area by colonial-dressed guides (my ghost tour was interesting yet terrifying). I’m a huge fan of the vintage candy store, olive oil tasting boutique (with really cool flavors like smoky bacon and blood orange), and the mouth-watering cake assortment at Bittersweet bakery.
Georgetown. Georgetown was my stomping grounds during grad school, yet I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of what it has to offer. I love the coffee and pastries at Dean and Deluca (which was my first stop the morning after I permanently moved to DC!), browsing the chic furniture shops and boutiques, and sifting through sales racks of Athleta and Nike. After a day of shopping, the Georgetown Waterfront is perfect for a sunset cruise and dinner and drinks outdoors (my favorite spot is Sequoia).
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. I’m a happy girl when I can be near water. I love the energy of Inner Harbor, with its shops, boats, fun street performers. It reminds me of my days living near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Spend an afternoon at the aquarium or an Orioles game, an evening hopping through taverns and seafood joints in Fell’s Point, or a day taking a boat tour. My favorite morning activity is strolling to Federal Hill Park and setting up a picnic with a view of the beautiful scenery below.
Philadelphia. I love taking the train from Union Station. And Philly is the perfect overnight destination that’s a short and sweet train ride away, and filled with cool art and history sights. If you start early, you can check out the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (where the Constitution was signed) sans long lines. For museum buffs, the Philadelphia Art Museum, Rodin Museum, and UPenn Archaeology Museum are awesome (I enjoyed all three in a weekend, and I’m not a huge museum-goer). And the Philly food scene, from the hundreds of artisan kiosks at Reading Terminal Market to the delicious cheese steaks (which you can get in chicken and vegetarian versions), is worth every bite. The icing on the food scene cake? Philly has hundreds of BYOB, zero corkage fee restaurants. I’ll drink to that!
Harper’s Ferry. Still ranks as the most fun day trip ever. The town is just an hour outside of DC, yet it feels like it’s in a different era with quaint colonial buildings and stretches of gorgeous forest. Tubing down the Shenandoah River will melt away your tensions and worries. A scenic hike through the National Park doubles as a great workout. And if you stumble across the Rolling Smoke BBQ food truck, thank your stars and order the smoked mac and cheese.
If you’re looking for something fun, try one or two! I’ll probably be hitting up all of them this summer. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your shades and camera!