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Author Topic: 2016 Phoenix Rally - Washington DC  (Read 155 times)
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« on: June 29, 2016, 10:51:26 am »

I have been remiss. I was asked to post info for travelers coming into the DC area for the annual rally of the Intevec-Phoenix Travel Club in September. I am now giving it a shot. I included some ideas and links because there is way too much to cover here. I encourage others to post here with suggestions.

Washington DC bound

There are so many things to see and do in the DC area, you could spend months here and just scratch the surface. Civil War sites abound (http://www.civilwartraveler.com/) as well as monuments and museums and natural spaces. You can drive from the cool splendor of the Appalachian Mountains, across the rolling hills of the Piedmont with wineries, farms and gardens, to the beautiful Chesapeake Bay with all its wild and wonderful estuaries, then on across the bay bridge to our flat and sandy Eastern Shore with more farms and more history then roll on until you reach the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean and you can drive all that in under 5 hours.

There are beautiful campsites all around, but few really close to DC. If you plan to wander DC, stay at Cherry Hill so you DO NOT have to drive in DC or around the beltway. Traffic here is evil and many people drive aggressively. Metro is safe and clean and gets you around quickly with little fuss. They have a trip planner so you know how to get from point to point http://www.wmata.com/ and the Metro map can be printed online or picked up at the stations. http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm  NOTE: on Metro escalators the unwritten rule is walk left, stand right. This means you stand on the right side so those in a hurry can race up the escalator past you on the left side. There are lots of people in a hurry in DC. Also, NO food or drink on Metro this includes water. You may carry it closed but dont eat or drink on the trains or in the stations. You will get a ticket.

Finding your way around the highways: John rolls his eyes on this but the way I describe the area above DC is this: Think of DC as the head of an alien. The beltway around DC is the aliens head. It has two antennae: One goes north-east and is I-95 with Baltimore at the top of the antenna. One goes North-west and is I-270 with Frederick at the top of the antenna. The two antennae are connected east/west by I-70, thus forming a triangle. Item to note: there are no tolls traveling east to west on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge or the bridges over the Susquehanna River (northeast MD). Youll pay $8-24 going west to east depending on number of axles.

We are on the Atlantic Flyway so birders can find numerous spots to watch the migrating flocks http://www.visitmaryland.org/list/top-spots-nature-watching-and-birding; http://dnr2.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/plants_wildlife/birdingmd.aspx. If you are into bald eagles, we recently stayed at Elk Neck State Park and hiked Turkey Point (1.5 miles round trip, easy walking on gravel road). We had 20 eagles in the sky overhead at one time. We then drove over to their boat ramp (Rouges Landing) to check out an Osprey nest just 12 or so feet over our heads on a light post on the sidewalk with three little chicks watching us over the edge and one parent watching us even more closely. We had a beautiful campsite there with full hookups and the sunsets looking across the bay from the swim beach were spectacular.

Dinosaurs once walked this land. A real dino dig is going on not far from DC in Laurel MD. http://history.pgparks.com/sites_and_museums/Dinosaur_Park.htm The park is free and open daily with interpretive signs but paleontologists demo their work on the first and third Saturdays of each month (just in case you are arriving early or staying after the rally since the rally aligns wit the SECOND Saturday of the month). The public helps hunt for dino bones during these open houses.

For a nature day trip try Patuxent Wildlife Research Center https://www.fws.gov/refuge/patuxent/ with a tram ride (check days and times), visitor center, and lots of nature to see.

Washington, DC far too many things to list so Ill just put in a few links so people can browse: https://washington.org/things-do-washington-dc; https://washington.org/topics/free-attractions; https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g28970-Activities-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html; https://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/United_States_of_America/Washington_DC/Things_To_Do-Washington_DC-TG-C-1.html; NOTE: references to the DC beltway are inner loop and outer loop this refers to the two parts of the same highway(s). The inner loop is the half going clockwise around DC. The outer loop travels counter-clockwise. Rush hour starts before 5:30 am and doesnt really end until after 7:00 pm. Depending on where you are, there is a slight let up between morning rush and lunch rush (maybe 9-10:30), then again between lunch rush and evening rush (maybe 2-3) but still busy. Government gets out at 3:30 and the rush is truly on.

Arlington, Georgetown and Alexandria all good places to see while in DC

Baltimore, MD beautiful harbor, science center, aquarium, street performers, shops, and more. Check out Little Italy (lots of Italian restaurants AND Vaccaros Italian Pastry Shop), visit the Taverns and Shops in Fells Point, wander the Inner Harbor (MD Science Center, National Aquarium, Phillips Seafood, McCormick Shop, USS Constellation, Pirate Cruises), get some history at Fort McHenry (where Francis Scott Key penned the Star Spangled Banner), and so much more. The circulator buses are free so you can park then tour http://www.charmcitycirculator.com/. http://baltimore.org/events

Frederick, MD used to be known as a hick town but now a vibrant city with free concerts and events throughout the summer and fall. Beautiful Baker Park runs through the City with Carroll Creek Park lined with benches and trees and fountains for a beautiful walk right down town. City center has historic buildings and lots of lots of great shops and restaurants. Frederick has a very walkable downtown and your four legged friends are welcomed at many venues.  http://www.visitfrederick.org/

Gettysburg, Antietam, Harpers Ferry All great stop overs on the way in to DC from the north.

Williamsburg, VA Colonial Williamsburg is definitely worth a few days if coming or going in that direction. Besides the living history in the colonial area itself, there are numerous other things to see and do: Merchants Square, Yorktown Victory Center, Jamestown Settlement, Busch Gardens (European Village Theme, including a beer garden) http://www.williamsburgva.gov/Index.aspx?page=5; http://www.visitwilliamsburg.com/;   There are also tons of outlets up Rte 60 all the way to Lightfoot, VA.

Virginia Beach popular destination with ocean beaches, a long paved boardwalk, shops, resorts  http://www.visitvirginiabeach.com/visitors/things-to-do/

Norfolk, VA Naval Station. There is usually a ship in harbor open to tour as well as the base tour. http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrma/installations/ns_norfolk/about/installation_guide/visitor_information.html http://www.norfolkvisitor.com/norfolknavy/

Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, Monticello, Fredericksburg all great stop overs on the way to DC from the south or southwest.

Annapolis Maryland state capitol, Naval Academy, boats, historic shops and more. Good place to book a tour on the Chesapeake. http://www.annapolis.gov/visitors; https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g29494-s409/Annapolis:Maryland:First.Time.Visitors.html; http://www.visitannapolis.org/; http://www.usnabsd.com/for-visitors/

Chesapeake Beach, MD fishing charters on the bay. While Im sure they have them in Annapolis also, this is where the locals go to book a fishing trip. http://www.chesapeakefishingcharters.com/  Trophy bass (rockfish) season is in the spring so the fall limits are 2 per day, minimum 20, only one can be over 28. You can also go out on head boats here and fish for spot or other smaller fish.
 

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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2016, 09:38:46 am »


Great info, Holly!

When we visited the area we stayed at Cherry Hill RV Park in College Park.  We asked to reserve premium site 935 when we booked and were surprised when we showed up that they had actually managed to hold it for us.  The site was fairly roomy and shady with nice outdoor furniture and in close walking distance to a large dog run area, swimming pool, sauna, spa, laundry room, cafe and outdoor theater.  Cherry Hill is a huge place with many different types of areas to stay, some more rustic than others, and many amenities and services you don't often see at other campgrounds (like dog walking services). Public transportation (bus) stops at the campground and goes right into DC or to the Metro Station.  As Holly said, the Metro is quick and clean and we used it many times (only a five minute drive from the campground, with ample parking) There are also DC bus tour companies that leave right from the campground. We did the "DC At Night" Grayline tour, which was interesting but there was not nearly enough time to see things at many of the stops. There is a hop-on, hop-off Big Bus option around the mall area which seems like a great way of seeing many of the sites.  We did that in NYC and it was very convenient.

    - Mike
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2016, 09:56:38 am »

Great write up Holly. ThumbsUp

I would suggest that if you are coming from the west on I-70 east you pass by the Washington exit (I-270) exit in Frederick and stay on I-70 to Baltimore. About 20 miles later you want to take Maryland 32 south toward West Freindship. Stay on it until you get to I-95 south toward Washington DC. Go to Md 212 exit. 5 or 6 exits. Follow signs to campground. This way you will bypass all the heavy traffic on I-270 and I-495 the Capital beltway. I-95 maybe heavy but not as bad.

When you are on Md-32 and you get to the first overpass, wave to the right as I live about a mile in from there. I won't be home but have fun waving anyway.
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2016, 11:49:44 am »

What are the rally dates and who do I contact for info?
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2016, 02:51:36 pm »

Go to Phoenixusarv.com (the home page for Phoenix). Down near the bottom is the words Phoenix owners club, click on them.
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