Friday, June 1, 2012

Things to Do, Off the Beaten Path

Most people who live in the Washington Area quickly become familiar with the well known sites in the downtown area, of cultural and historical significance.  However, there is an abundance of interesting, enjoyable things to do off the beaten path you can consider.
Here are three to that might inspire your curiosity:
Mount Vernon Estate: Colonial Times Meets 21st Century Technology 
If you haven’t visited in the last several years, you probably have not seen the Ford Educational Center at Mount Vernon Estate, where you can experience some very effective displays and videos which utilize current technology to enhance your learning experience about George Washington and the colonial period.  You can feel the canon blasts during the siege of Boston, and feel the snow falling as Washington’s troops cross the Delaware River.  Don’t miss the display about George’s wooden teeth, and the hologram of George “following you” across the room.  Honestly, you will like the traditional part of the Estate – the Mansion, the Farm, the Garden, 8 sided Barn, etc., but the educational center is a delightful experience with something for visitors of all ages.

Old Town Alexandria: For Lunch or Dinner or Browsing
While you are in this part of the Washington area, you might as well plan a meal or a stroll in the historic area of Alexandria City.   Some great little shops and restaurants, and at the end of King St, on the Potomac you will find the Torpedo Factory, which today is home to a fine arts gallery and shops with resident artists and crafters.  The building has some historical significance as the former site of a torpedo factory from World War II, which has been converted into a commercial and residential area.

For Walkers or Bikers:  The Mt. Vernon Trail
This trail parallels the George Washington Parkway has a bike/walking trail which starts (or ends) at the Mt. Vernon Estate, the Historic Home of George and Martha Washington, and connects with other trails which can take you as far as Harper’s Ferry West Virginia.  Whether you want to walk or ride a short distance or a long way, the path along the Potomac River can be both refreshing and breathtaking, and the sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular.  There are places to park along the trail, so you can usually find a starting point of your choice.

These are a few of my favorite experiences “off the beaten path”.  What would you recommend?

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