As much as I enjoy DC, I absolutely love getting away from the city for a quick weekend trip. Two days away is the perfect amount of time to reset without feeling like I’m falling behind on my daily to do list too much. Luckily being in Washington means there are gorgeous getaways within just a couple hours of the hustle and bustle. Whether you’re looking for a rural retreat or a hip weekend full of history, there is something for you. Today I’m going to revisit two of my favorite cities in Virginia, both just 2 hours from DC.
First up, my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Back when I lived there, 14 years ago, there wasn’t a lot going on beyond the history, but in the past several years the entire city has seen a sort of New South hipster renaissance.
It’s just 2 hours down 95 from DC, or a quick train ride (trains only go into Main Street Station twice a day—ideally you’ll take one of those), and is the perfect option for a weekend where you aren’t necessarily trying to escape the cultural and food options a city, but want a change of pace.
In the past 6 months, I’ve stayed at both the colorful and contemporary Quirk Hotel as well as the luxurious and historic Jefferson Hotel. I’d recommend Quirk for a girls’ trip where you’re looking to feel a bit artsy, a bit swanky, and totally Instagrammable. The Jefferson is for a romantic splurge where no detail is overlooked.
Both of these hotels are right downtown so you’ll be easily accessible to the restaurant scene, the breweries popping up over in Scott’s Addition, and Carytown. If you feel like venturing a bit further and taking a relaxing stroll, Maymont and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden are gorgeous places to visit in the spring. Don’t leave town without checking out the new River Walk and the pedestrian bridge that will take you right through downtown.
And then there’s my favorite city in the state of Virginia, Charlottesville. I went to school in Charlottesville and it’s a place I like to visit at least a few times a year—a couple times in the fall for football games and then again in the spring just for the nostalgia of it. There’s nowhere quite as pretty as the Blue Ridge mountains. I mean, seriously, how gorgeous is that view below?
A couple summers ago I stayed at the Oakhurt Inn, which would be perfect for a football game weekend, but recently I’ve also stayed at a few Airbnb’s. The most recent was out in Afton and was so perfectly Charlottesville. Out in the mountains, it was decorated perfectly horsey but rich at the same time.
Whether you do the vineyards, hang out around the University of Virginia grounds, or check out the artsy Downtown Mall and the surrounding neighborhood of Belmont, there’s delicious food around every corner and the most stunning views of the mountains. Even on a rainy day, you can’t beat relaxing in Albemarle County.
UPCOMING TRIP IDEAS?
For the DC people—what are some of your favorite DC getaway trips? I have Annapolis, MD on the docket next, but I’m always looking for new places to visit!