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June 2, 2013

Travel tips for Washington DC area?

Filed under: General — Nate @ 8:38 am

I am planning on being in the Washington DC area next week to visit a a friend I haven’t seen in a couple of years. I have another friend that I know that is in that area and will visit them too.

I’ve never been there before, so if anyone knows something/place cool to visit please send a note my way! Doesn’t have to be in DC – but within say a 2 or maybe even 3 hour drive is fine.

I arrive at 10 AM on Saturday and can’t check in till 3PM so my first thought to kill some time is to drive to Philadelphia to grab one of those famous original Cheese steak sandwiches at either one of Geno’s Steaks or Pat’s King of Steaks (which are apparently right across the street from each other).

Five hours round trip is a long ways to drive but in the grand scheme of life, who knows if I’ll ever be in the area again, so I figure it’s worth it. If I could find some place else to visit and take some pictures(preferably with a nice view, my camera has a 42X zoom). I’m not much for historical stuff or museums (though I may make some exceptions on this trip).

I browsed ~250 potential places on Trip Advisor in Philadelphia but sadly did not see anything that really interested me(except maybe this). Given the sheer number of ideas on that site I figure it may be difficult to find things on other sites that aren’t just repeats.

One day during the week(perhaps Sunday the 9th) I plan to visit Norfolk, VA – a full six hours round trip. But it looks like it will be worth it too — mainly to see the military stuff there. Of the three major locations it’s the one I am most looking forward to.

Possibilities in Norfolk include

One day hit Baltimore up for their Blue Crab, possibilities for this trip include

Then the rest of the time in DC, most of these places to visit just so I can say I visited them, really not excited about any of them (specifically avoided any places that don’t allow pictures like the Mint) –

Hopefully I can easily hit all the above sites in less than one day.

  • Sweetwater Tavern – local friend says there is good food there
  • Ted’s Montana Grill – enjoyed this place when I was in Atlanta – it was the first time I had Buffalo (that I can recall).
  • Tilted Kilt would be nice but is ~70 miles away so probably will wait till I’m in Atlanta next to hit that place up.


I’ll likely be working remotely for a couple days while there, not sure yet.


  1. Here are some places I would visit if I were able to a take a trip back to my old East Coast haunts – you’ll have to decide if they appeal to you:
    Captain Billy’s Crabhouse near La Plata, MD. It’s out in the middle of no where, but I really enjoyed eating there – and it’s a pretty drive. You should try Maryland-style crab somewhere.
    Nifty Fifty’s. Philadelphia area. Best burgers and milkshakes I’ve ever had (but I haven’t been there for a long time – I hope it’s still good since they expanded).
    — Consider driving off the interstate; for example, go up from MD/DC to Philly and come in on the Route 30. Or take a different detour via Chadd’s Ford and visit the Brandywine River Museum (mostly Wyeth artwork; I enjoyed my visit a lot)

    Comment by Tony — June 3, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

  2. Thanks Tony! I will check out billy’s crabhouse, I was for sure not settled on any special crab place yet (I had one in mind that I saw on a travel show at one point but could not remember the name nor track it down). Nifty fifty’s I’m not sure if I’ll be able to hit since I only plan to be in Phili once. But maybe I can go there for a milkshake after the cheese steak! 🙂

    Probably won’t need dinner after that!

    yes any driving tips would be awesome, I will check that route 30 out – anything specific that it offers? more scenery ? I’m thinking I may bring my dash cam too in the event I see something that I can’t easily take a picture of while driving. I’m gonna be loaded with electronics on this trip. I just have to carry them all on the plane, I don’t trust those bag handlers. Thought about shipping a bunch of stuff in advance via mail/UPS or something but probably won’t do that this time round.

    Comment by Nate — June 3, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

  3. I’m hesitant to give a lot of driving tips, since it’s been about 20 years since I’ve lived on the East Coast & 10 years since I last visited. Some of my favorite drives (Palisades Parkway / Rt 9W along west side of the Hudson River; Taconic Parkway) aren’t close enough.

    I’d say pretty much of the middle Atlantic states is beautiful, especially once you get inland, into the mountains. It’s also a lot more fun (but slower) to drive highways through small towns than to zoom along the interstate. I typically like to take the slow route going to somewhere and the interstate back.

    Route 30 is a beautiful drive, but not super special; it’s a little more special to me because it comes in on the Main Line (which is kind of like Atherton or Palo Alto, except the mansions are much older and cooler), where I used to live (NOT in a mansion). The biggest tourist attraction along the way is Lancaster (Amish central); Gettysburg is bit to the west of Lancaster, and of course you get to go through Paradise (PA).

    I’ve also driven from DC to Philly through some back roads close to I-95 — looking at the map, it was along US1 because I remember going through Conowingo. That drive is about as pretty, and probably a little quicker than going say I-83 then Rt 30.

    Don’t forget to bring money for tolls; there are tunnels tolls (e.g. Baltimore), bridge tolls, and tolls just for the heck of it.

    Also, many East Coast cities (including Philly, NY, DC, Newark, and Baltimore) have areas that make EPA and Oakland look good….

    Comment by Tony — June 4, 2013 @ 9:45 am

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