Area native and current Virginia resident Michaela Gaaserud provides travelers with an insider's perspective on two of the nation's most historically significant states. An experienced guidebook author, Gaaserud offers up original trip ideas to help visitors make the most of their time, such as Five Days for the Active Traveler and the Seven-Day Historical Road Trip and Pub Tour. With comprehensive coverage for all interests—from strolling Embassy Row and visiting the monuments in Washington DC to hiking in Shenandoah National Park, from getting some sun on Colonial Beach to seeing the Beauregard Civil War Cemetery—Moon Virginia & Maryland gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.
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Michaela Riva Gaaserud is a native Virginian and longtime resident of the Washington DC area. Some of her earliest memories are of playing travel guide to visiting relatives as they went to the museums and monuments in Washington DC. Inspired by the enthusiasm she witnessed from first-timers to the city, Michaela began looking for hidden secrets to share with her audience. A particularly inspiring school field trip to the underground depths of the Lincoln Memorial sealed her love for discovering and sharing the marvels of her own backyard.
Michaela has published travel guides on various aspects of the Washington DC region, and her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and international publications such as Canoe & Kayak Magazine and Paddler Magazine. Other publications include Lake Placid: With the Olympic Village, Lake George and New York's Adirondacks; From Fairbanks to Boston: 50 Great U.S. Marathons; From Kona to Lake Placid: 50 Great U.S. Triathlons; and Sea Kayaking the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Area. After the publication of this last book, she became a sought-after speaker and was featured in a kayaking documentary. She is also a founding partner at Rainmaker Publishing and an executive producer at Eddyline Media.
Virginia and Maryland offer more than history, culture, and a beautiful landscape. There are outdoor activities galore for the active traveler. You could spend a lifetime here and still not experience all the recreation available in the region, but in five days, you can get a good taste. This itinerary begins in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and ends in Annapolis, Maryland. The total distance is 147 miles.
Day 1: Rafting and Hiking
Begin in historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and take an organized rafting trip on the Shenandoah River, then hike some of the legendary Appalachian Trail. Outdoor enthusiasts could easily spend a week in Harpers Ferry, but two days will allow for the highlights. Overnight in a bed-and-breakfast right in town.
Day 2: Biking and Zip-Lining
Get an early start and bike some of the scenic C&O Canal Towpath, then take a thrilling Harpers Ferry Zip Line Canopy Tour. A less strenuous alternative is to learn about the town’s role in the Civil War era by touring the historic district. Drive one hour to Front Royal, Virginia, in the afternoon and spend the night in town.
Day 3: Hiking
Drive into Shenandoah National Park and hike the famous Old Rag Mountain. This tough nine-mile hike offers rewarding views and a sense of accomplishment. Spend the night in lovely Luray, Virginia.
Day 4: Kayaking
Give your tired feet a rest by driving two hours to Georgetown in Washington DC and rent a kayak on the waterfront. Paddle on the Potomac River, where you’ll get a unique perspective on the monuments and bridges. If you’re feeling exhausted, a quieter alternative is to window-shop on M Street (although your wallet might get the workout instead). Spend the night in Georgetown.
Day 5: Sailing
Get an early start and drive one hour to Annapolis, Maryland, and take a two-hour sailing cruise on a stunning 74-foot wooden schooner. Then stroll along the City Dock and indulge in a local seafood feast at one of the many restaurants near the waterfront.
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