See the sites beyond Washington, D.C. in this road trip through American history.
By Hilary Phelps
The State House
Start the day by letting the chefs pack a picnic for you at Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown. Then it’s a quick drive to Annapolis, Maryland (about 35 miles from the hotel), as part of Cadillac and Fairmont’s curated road trips program. The State House (left) is a great meeting place for groups – you can spot its dome almost anywhere in town – and a perfect way to begin a trip through US history. It is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use, and, to this day, the dome is held together entirely with wooden pegs and iron straps.
US Naval Academy
The undergraduate college of the US Navy is a Maryland must-see, offering a rare glimpse of the midshipmen’s vigorous daily routine and noontime formation, but be sure to take your passport – everyone 18-plus needs photo ID to get on the “yard.” Head to the Herndon Monument, an obelisk-shaped memorial that is central to the Plebe Recognition Ceremony. Take a boat tour down the Severn River and you will be treated to the best views of the harbor and spinnaker sailboat races. usna.edu; cruisesonthebay.com
Old Town Alexandria
This historic Virginia neighborhood by the Potomac River is a great spot for antiquing and early American architecture, as well as for modern draws, including the Torpedo Factory Art Center – home to the largest collection of publicly accessible artist studios in the country. Check out the 82 studios and six galleries, then head to Carlyle House Historic Park to enjoy your Fairmont picnic (available through in-room dining).
Delving into the life and times of George Washington, America’s first president, means more than a history lesson. Entrance to Mount Vernon, the most-visited historic estate in the country, grants you access to attractions and activities, including the main mansion (where original furniture remains), a distillery (where Washington made whiskey), a pioneer farm (with live demonstrations) and the Tombs, the final resting place of George and Martha Washington. To complete the experience, dine at the inn’s restaurant where dishes are inspired by early American cuisine. Try the peanut soup!
For a sweet evening, park the car and retreat to Fairmont’s Loggia Lounge, overlooking the lush courtyard, and enjoy two hotel specialties: Honey Wheat Walnut Bread and the BeeTini, each made with honey from the rooftop hives. Located in the city’s West End, the hotel isn’t just a part of history, it’s where history is made. Keep an eye out for visiting heads of state (and Hollywood celebrities).
3 Ways to Gorge like George
1. Andrew’s BBQ Joint
Washington famously mentioned “a Barbecue” in a 1769 diary entry. Sample the best of it at this Union Market eatery.
2. Art and Soul
The buttermilk pancakes at this Capitol Hill hotspot are a savory salute to the Mount Vernon staple.
3. Pie Sisters of Georgetown
Taste the founding father’s favorite fruit in a slice of cherry pie at this family-owned bakery.