Feel the wind in your hair this fall

3 September 2009

Whether it's on your bike, by foot or by bus, the dramatic fall foliage of Washington DC’s parks, gardens and open spaces provides a fantastic backdrop from which to enjoy this stunning city.

On October 17th, Bike DC is encouraging as many people as possible to take to their bikes for some serious pedal power around the city. Visit its website for registration information, a route map and other details see bikedc.net.

Take in the fresh autumn air and colourful foliage with a walking tour lead by Washington Walks. Explore some of the quaint neighbourhoods of the city as well as the famous landmarks that put Washington, DC on the map. Visit one of DC’s most famous neighbourhoods, Georgetown which is also home to Dumbarton Oaks a remarkable heritage garden or the architecturally exquisite Embassy Row one of Washington DC’s grandest boulevards.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary there is also a special one-off Georgetown Waterfront Walk on October 17th. This walk will take visitors past the C & O Canal, allow them to take in panoramic views at the edge of the Potomac River as well as sneaking a peek inside what was once Georgetown’s public market. Walking tours start from $10 per person. For more information please visit washingtonwalks.com.

If you’d rather do something a little ‘speedier’, then hop on a pedal bike for a Capital Sites Tour. Learn about the major sites on and around the National Mall and Capitol Hill including the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument and other landmark sites. Prices start from $40 per adult and $30 per child (12 and under) and includes bike rental, helmet, bottled water and snack. For more information visit bikethesites.com.

Really get the wind in your hair with an Open Top Sight Seeing Tour of the city. The hop-on-hop-off tour goes past some of the key sights including Dupont Circle, Lincoln Memorial, the White House and the National Gallery of Art and is a great way to stop and see the sights. Two days unlimited Open Top Site Seeing Tours cost $35 per adult and $18 per child (4 – 12 year olds). For more information visit opentopsightseeing.com.

If that all sounds too much like hard work then head to Rock Creek Park. With more than 1,800 acres of parkland in the heart of the city you’re sure to be stunned by the colours that come with fall. Relax and take in the fresh air, magnificent trees, the wildlife and the calming flow of Rock Creek. For more information visit nps.gov/rocr.

Fantastic foliage, fast-paced activities and fabulous wines make Virginia a great fall destination.

With more than 15 million acres of foliage bursting into a spectacular canvas of fiery yellows, oranges and reds, Virginia really comes to life in the fall. Whether you decide to explore Virginia by taking in the scenic byways, getting the adrenaline pumping with a ‘trike’ flight high above the treetops or by adding a splash of red and white with a visit to one of the many wineries in the region - there simply isn’t a better time to visit.

Explore Virginia in the traditional way along the 2,500 miles of scenic drives including two of America’s best, The Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. Devise an itinerary exploring these classic All American drives and experience the natural beauty of the fall colour, the small, unique towns, wine trails and plentiful historic sites. To make planning a trip in fall easy visit fallinvirginia.org.

Never been a traditionalist but fancy exploring Virginia? Fear not there are plenty of activities to get an adrenaline rush. Why not see the breathtaking fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Parkway as you glide through the air on a flying motorcycle! Make yourself comfortable aboard a two-seater ‘trike’ which is similar in size to a motorbike with a propeller and canopy wing attached.

Relax as your own personal pilot navigates whilst you enjoy the surroundings from 500 feet above the ground. Or why not try and take it all in as quickly as you can on the zip line at Bryce Resort in the Shenandoah Valley. Travel along over 3,000 feet of cable over the ski slopes and through woods reaching speeds up to 40 miles per hour. For a more gentle approach head to the Wintergreen Resort that make good use of its ski lifts by offering fall foliage viewing rides.

October is Virginia Wine Month, a busy month with over 140 wineries in the region. This has become a celebrated tradition, drawing in visitors who share the love of wine and a passion for travel. There are 13 wine trails that stretch across the state from the Appalachian Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay. Each wine trail has a unique theme, from history to music to regional interests, complete with wineries, local restaurants and great places to stay. To plan a visit for Virginia’s Wine Month visit Virginia.org/wine.

Epicureans who are keen to free-wheel from one delicious meal and winery tour to the next will love the cycling tours offered by Tour d’Epicure, featuring lodging, five-star dining and winery tours in the beauty of the Shenandoah National Park and beyond. The choice of two and four-night short breaks run until November 15th. Tourdepicure.com

There are great travel deals in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Virginia is for Lovers with more than 200 hotels and attractions offering great savings. Stay 3 nights and get the 4th night free at Hotel Floyd along Virginia’s Crooked Road in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Hotel Floyd is a must for lovers of music, art and wineries, with 14 themed rooms. Visit Sunday to Thursday until 31 December to take advantage of this great offer. For a complete list of 40 anniversary deals visit virginia.org/40off.

Fall in love with history in Baltimore
With so much going on this fall in Baltimore you’ll be hard pressed deciding what to do. Scare yourself by tracing back Edgar Allan Poe’s ghost stories on a tour of Baltimore, mingle with 1812 war re-enactors or indulge your sweet tooth in Lexington Market. What ever interests you, Maryland is sure to have it all.

Allan Poe was one of America’s best known writers and poets, known for his tales of mystery and the macabre. He wrote many of his famous horror stories in Baltimore and in celebration of Poe’s 200th birthday there are many exciting events taking place in the city throughout September. Take the Edgar Allan Poe Tell-Tale Tour of Baltimore or explore many of the fascinating museums, attractions and tours offered by the Greater Baltimore History Society Alliance.

Head to a performance of his famous controversial horror story Berenice or an exhibition at Baltimore’s Museum of Art entitled Edgar Allan Poe: A Baltimore Icon. This dramatic exhibition showcases works by some of the greatest artists of the 19th and 20th centuries who were inspired by Poe’s chilling and unforgettable tales. For more information visit nevermore2009.com.

For military buffs make sure you’re in town for Defenders Day taking place September 11th -13th. This three-day extravaganza sees over 100 War of 1812 re-enactors, parades, military bands, concerts, fireworks and a symbolic ship-to-shore bombardment and much more! Defenders Day commemorates Baltimore’s successful defence against the British invaders in the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. The bombardment of Fort McHenry during the battle inspired the words for the ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, America’s National Anthem.

Keep sweet this fall and head to Lexington Market, which has been in existence since 1782. During October, Lexington Market turns it to a chocoholics idea of heaven. Baltimore’s finest bakers and chocolatiers showcase their produce, from truffles to fudge, cookies, pies and cakes. For those who think they can handle it there are also a number of eating contests.

Visitors to Lexington during the month of October can also enjoy live music, good food, children’s entertainment and cooking demonstrations. For more information about this very sweet event visit lexingtonmarket.com.

Kimpton’s latest ‘Grand Adventure’, the Hotel Monaco Baltimore
Opening on July 30th, Kimpton Hotels’ latest stylish offering is the four-star boutique Hotel Monaco Baltimore, which has been created within the former headquarters of the B&O Railroad. This celebrated Baltimore landmark building combines original architectural elements with bold, contemporary colours and designs.

The 202-room hotel is located on the corner of Charles and Baltimore Streets, close to the hustle and bustle of the Inner Harbour, Baltimore Convention Centre and renowned attractions, such as the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Centre, making it perfect location as a base to explore the city.

The Hotel Monaco features Tall Rooms, for people who have height on their side. The rooms feature extra long 96-inch king-sized beds, extra long giraffe-print robes, high ceilings and raised showerheads. Solo travellers can even have a companion goldfish to keep them company!

Special introductory rates of $109 per room, per night are offered through until October 31, 2009, inclusive of free daily continental breakfast or a cocktail at its B&O American Brasserie.

Adjacent to the hotel is B&O American Brasserie, the new restaurant which also features a bustling car with a selection of classic hand-crafted cocktails and an exhibition kitchen with a pizza oven and counter seating. See kimptonhotels.com for more information.

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