On June 28, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:While nearby Washington, D.C. might get the most attention as a hotbed of cultural activity, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover the rich history and charm of what lies in Northern Virginia. Easily accessible via Washington-Dulles International Airport, the area is home to hundreds of American historical gems, scattered throughout quaint small towns that still maintain the architecture and ambience of life decades ago.
Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you rent a car and head to Northern Virginia’s Loudon County. Though it’s just 30 minutes from the nation’s capital, Loudoun County feels worlds away from the congestion and commotion of city life. You’ll enjoy scenic drives along winding country roads or stopping in historic Leesburg, Virginia, for an afternoon of antique shopping like you won’t experience anywhere else. A popular retreat for wine lovers, Loudoun County is also home to some of the nation’s most beloved vineyards, clustered into five areas. To make the most of your wine experience and the area’s award-winning destination restaurants, we recommend extending your trip into a long weekend — you’ll be glad you did.
No visit to Northern Virginia is complete without a visit to Alexandria. Boasting more than 250 years of history, this Norman Rockwell-esque town is the epitome of Americana, located just six miles northeast of Washington, D.C. In addition to being home to droves of centuries-old historical attractions and events, Alexandria is also known for its charming downtown area, known as “Old Town.” As the third-oldest historic district in the nation, Old Town Alexandria is dotted with 18th- and 19th-century buildings that house unique boutiques, restaurants, theaters and antique shops.
On June 28, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:As the most populated part of the Washington Metropolitan Area and the state of Virginia itself, Northern Virginia has a diverse cultural scene. You’ll find a unique blend of quaint and historic small towns and villages not far from the bustling and international nation’s capital with museums, nightlife and cultural outings. After you’ve gotten your fix on snapping pictures in front of the White House and Washington Monument, be sure to check out staple attractions such as the Kennedy Center, the iconic Smithsonian (where you could get lost for days), the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, or the National Air and Space Museum — just to name a few.
Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you pay a visit to one of Northern Virginia’s most beloved cultural institutions: the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. As its name suggests, the performing arts center sits amid 130 acres of scenic national park land in Fairfax County, Virginia. Wolf Trap houses several performance venues, including the Children’s Theatre in the Woods ensconced in 117 wooded acres and the 7,000-seat Filene Center, where you can see performances ranging from country music to opera.
On June 28, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Northern Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic climate affords travelers the opportunity to experience the area’s many sights and attractions all year long — those who have visited before will tell you that you can easily bask in four distinct seasons here. If you’re exclusively interested in outdoor activities, you might want to avoid visiting during the colder months, since the area is no stranger to some harsh winters; at the same time, summers can sometimes make for days of sweltering humidity. With that in mind, Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest late spring or fall as the most ideal times for a Northern Virginia getaway. While you’ll enjoy slightly warmer temperatures and blooming flowers in the spring, there’s just something that can’t beat the gorgeous fall foliage during a Northern Virginia wine tour.
On June 28, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:It’s no secret that Northern Virginia is home many charming inns and hotels, but Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend three diverse properties as among the best places to stay.
If you’re looking for a place to stay that’s out of the way, visit the historic village of Washington, where you’ll find The Inn at Little Washington, the top choice of our Forbes Travel Guide editors. The Inn isn’t your average quaint countryside getaway — the Five-Star hotel is composed of 18 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites with an Old English and Victorian style, reminiscent of the historic town’s roots. It won’t feel cookie cutter, since each room has its own unique décor. You’ll also have a number of complimentary amenities during your stay at the luxury hotel, including housekeeping service three times per day, daily continental breakfast, afternoon tea, bicycle rentals and a full-service business center, to name a few. Don’t miss its Five-Star restaurant, also called The Inn at Little Washington, where you can sample seasonal fare like sesame-crusted Chilean sea bass with baby shrimp, artichokes and grape tomatoes.
You’ll find Leesburg, Virginia, located roughly 45 minutes northwest of Washington, D.C. Once the site of the Battle of Balls Bluff during the American Civil War, Leesburg is the quintessential American hometown — boasting more than 20 entries on the National Registry of Historic Places. The town is also near the heart of Northern Virginia’s Wine Country, making Leesburg’s Lansdowne Resort a good base for exploring the area’s wineries. In addition to being close to a number of exciting attractions, the resort offers 45 holes of championship golf, a 12,000-square-foot spa and five restaurants that range from casual to upscale.
If you’d like to stay a bit closer to all the action in the nation’s capital, The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia, is just a mile from Washington, D.C. Situated inside the Pentagon City Mall, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel still has access to scenic destinations and day trips in Northern Virginia.