Burlington has a way of inspiring outdoor pursuits. Skirting the eastern shore of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains, Vermont’s largest city is a marriage of fresh-air playground and hip downtown. Twelve miles of bike paths rim the waterfront, a necklace of white peaks offers world-class skiing within an hour’s drive, and a pedestrian-friendly core lets students from the University of Vermont stroll, skateboard, or cycle between coffeehouses and artisans’ shops.
With 40,000 residents living amid downtown’s tidy grid of streets, Burlington was named one of America’s prettiest cities by Forbes magazine. It’s no coincidence that the birthplace of jam-band rockers Phish and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream—not to mention a place that voted in a socialist mayor in the ’80s—has become a destination to escape the ordinary.
Want to get off your couch or out of your favorite Washington bar and see some college football live? We’ve got suggestions for four day trips to area football powerhouses and advice on everything from where to leave your car, the best places to stock up for tailgates, and how to drown your sorrows or celebrate your victories at the end of the day.
Where: The University of Virginia in Charlottesville
Why: The Cavaliers might not be ranked, but that doesn’t stop loyal UVA fans from having a great time. The university is a fun place to spend any weekend, and football is great excuse to go explore what Charlottesville has to offer. Plus, the recent renovation of an $86 million Scott Stadium isn’t a bad place to hang out, either.
Football schedule and tickets: virginiasports.com
Parking and public transportation: Click here
Best Place for pregame brunch: Bluegrass Grill and Bakery (313 Main Street; 434-295-9700) on the historic downtown mall offers gigantic omelets accompanied by flaky buttermilk biscuits and breakfast potatoes. The free refills of coffee will help you get through the excitement of game day and the wahoo cheers. Get there early—the organic breakfast spot tends to fill up early with locals.
UP IN THE AIR: The Flying Circus Air Show
The old-timey Sunday air shows put on by the Flying Circus feature wing walkers, aerobatic biplanes, and precision flying. Want to give it a try? Before and after the performance, the flying aces offer scenic biplane ($70) and Piper Cub ($40) rides. Or really test your limits on a 15-minute aerobatic flight ($130) that will top any roller-coaster ride. Flying at up to 140 miles an hour and at an altitude of more than 3,000 feet, you’ll feel the pressure of a couple of G’s as the pilot takes you through loops and a series of rolls, including a barrel roll.
More information: 540-439-8661; flyingcircusairshow.com. Air show $10 for adults, $3 for children ages 3 through 12, free for kids under age 3. No reservations accepted for the show or flights.
Distance from DC: An hour and 15 minutes.
On the way: Grab a gourmet Sunday brunch at Claire’s at the Depot in Warrenton, 65 S. Third St.; 540-351-1616.
Virginia makes some of the region’s best wine—and you needn’t drive far to taste it. Northeastern Loudoun County, just above Leesburg, is home to four pretty wineries that make award-winning vintages. They’ve been dubbed the Potomac Cluster, thanks to the way they hug the Potomac River.
As you take Route 15 north from Leesburg, a road that runs past farms and horse pastures, you might pause to soak in the significance of the road on which you travel, which runs from Gettysburg down to Jefferson’s Monticello. The National Trust for Historic Preservation calls Route 15 the nation’s most historic corridor because the route links land north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line and follows the same path used for centuries by Native Americans, colonists, and armies.
It’s a city of interesting neighborhoods, and here are good ones to explore—whether you like history, antiques, science, or sports.
POINT LOOKOUT STATE PARK
Lay of the land: At Point Lookout State Park (301-872-5688; dnr.maryland.gov; click on “parks”), you can get back to nature where the Potomac River meets the Chesapeake Bay. This wooded park features numerous trails, all with easy access to a beach that has spectacular views and water on three sides.
Washingtonians love to travel. That’s why Washingtonian online is starting a few new “Great Getaways” travel features. Each week, we’ll publish a blog round-up of the latest local, regional, and international travel news. We’ll also publish regular interviews with travel-savvy Washingtonians eager to pass along their insider tips, as well as more frequent travel articles.
Another feature, Direct from Washington, will profile national and international cities reached on nonstop flights. These travel guides will be published in our print editions, with extended coverage on our Web site.
We invite you to send any feedback on our new features, as well as requests or suggestions for regions and attractions you’d like to see covered, to email@example.com. We’ll also feature contests now and then—such as asking you to submit your best travel photos—so check back frequently.