Cayman Airways launched its inaugural direct flight to Washington DC at the end of last year, making it far easier to explore America’s capital city. Terry Hasler made a recent trip and reports on what you can expect if you decide to make a trip.
One area of America which is coming up fast as a must-visit destination right now is the Capital Region, based around the nation’s capital Washington DC and the States of Maryland and Virginia on the East Coast.
The area boasts that it’s ‘Hip and Historic’ and having spent a few days there I can testify that it more than lives up to its promise.
Washington is a magnificent city…full of stunning buildings, museums, monuments, green open spaces, dozens of theatres, great shopping, restaurants to tempt every taste, bags of history and home to the White House and America’s seat of government.
And the good news is that many of the attractions are free. You get the chance to touch a moon rock, explore Native American culture or discover treasures such as the Gutenberg Bible at the Library of Congress, see the only da Vinci painting in North America at the National Gallery of Art and historic documents such as the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives.
If the kids find all this history a bit too much then there are some great hands-on attractions such as the International Spy Museum, where youngsters aged 12 and over take on the role of US intelligence officers on an international mission to locate a missing nuclear device on the verge of being sold to a rogue nation.
Or they can play pilot at the National Air and Space Museum while sitting in the cockpit of a mock airplane during a simulated take-off. There are even walking tours specially tailored to the younger feet.
Open top tour buses circulate around the most famous sites, allowing you to hop on and off as many times as you like. Tickets are reasonable can be used on two consecutive days.
But if you are up for a funky and fast way to get see the sights you have to take the Segway Tour.
We put on our safety helmets, got a lesson on how to stay upright on the two-wheeled, self-balancing electric stand-on scooter and away we went with our guide, cruising the wide pavements at up to 10 mph.
Zipping along the traffic-free road outside the White House, watched by startled tourists and curious local coppers is an experience not to be missed.
There are shops to suite every pocket from boutiques to budget shopping malls and a huge variety of places to stay from topline hotels such as the Willard InterContinental Washington where civil rights leader Martin Luther King wrote his “I have a dream” speech to family-friendly inns and B & Bs.
Restaurants offer fine dining at places like Central Michel Richard on Pennsylvania Avenue through to great American barbecue eateries like Old Glory on historic M Street in the Georgetown district.
Just 35 minutes north by train is Washington’s friendly and funky neighbour Baltimore. It’s a reasonable price from Union Station, Washington to Baltimore’s Penn Station one way.
Baltimore started life as a port and has a great shipbuilding history. Today much of that has gone to be replaced by restaurants, cafes, museums and modern, high-rise hotels, most clustered around the main tourist area of the Inner Harbour.
Many of the old warehouses have taken on a new life,