Snapshot: DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia)

I would watch the local news programs and hear the newscasters talk about the “DMV” and wonder why there was so much interest in the department of motor vehicles. Usually the topic of the DMV is met with massive eye rolls and deep sighs over hours of one’s life wasted. I soon learned, however that this “DMV” was different, and much more fun. 😁

D.C.

By virtue of it being our nation’s capital, the city is chock full of many sights and places of interest. It’s a great place to visit whether you’re a history buff, foodie, museum junkie or nature lover.

I’ve covered a number of the “must see” spots in D.C. on a previous trip (White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Museum of American History, National Zoo), so I decided with the few hours I had, I would focus on several places I hadn’t previously visited. First time visitors, however, should keep in mind that the Smithsonian offers 11 museums and galleries on the National Mall alone that could keep a visitor occupied for several days!

As such, the National Mall is usually a good place to start with any foray into the city. You’ve got a number of museums, galleries and monuments all in one space. This time around, I visited the American Art Gallery, Botanic Garden, Capitol Hill, and paid a quick visit to one of my favorites: the Natural History museum.

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Botanic Garden Conservatory – a short but worthwhile stop
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You’ll feel transported to a different world – a green, lush leafy world.
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Sit awhile and enjoy the lush interior and gurgling water fountains
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Museum of Natural History
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Capitol Building

RV/Oversized vehicle parking: We didn’t attempt driving around D.C.’s streets. Instead, we camped at Greenbelt campground, one of the closest parks to the city, and rode the train into D.C. A metro ticket from College Park U station into D.C. cost $9 and took about 45 min.

Maryland
It’s all about the crabs, baby! Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, that is. If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll definitely want to carve out some time to try a few.

Where to eat:

If you come to Maryland during crabbing season (April to November), you’ve got to have some Chesapeake Bay crab. I’d been excited to try Maryland’s famous blue shell crabs and picked a popular spot to ease the craving – Cantler’s restaurant. The restaurant is located in a somewhat remote, residential area, tucked away by the river.

Cantler’s and other Maryland eateries cook their crab by steaming, rather than boiling, which is supposed to keep the flesh moist.

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Cantler’s Restaurant
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Blue shell crab!
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Soft shell crab sandwich – delicious ☺

I also indulged in a soft shell crab sandwich, which was pretty tasty. Soft shell crab is crab that’s molted in the last few days, so their body is soft, as their shell hasn’t had time to harden. The crab is then cleaned, battered and fried so you can eat it whole. I enjoyed it because it’s all the goodness of crab without the work.

And if you’re not much of a seafood lover, there’s other things to do in Maryland. On our quick visit to Baltimore, we stopped by Fell’s Point and Edgar Allen Poe’s resting place. The RV was too big to park near the inner harbor, but I’ve heard it’s a nice, albeit touristy, place to visit.

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Church where Edgar Allen Poe’s grave site is located
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Quoth the raven ‘nevermore’
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Fell’s Point – a nice place to stroll, have a meal and shop by the waterfront.

Virginia

I was transported back in time in Virginia during my visits to Colonial Williamsburg, a living museum showcasing life as it was in the 1700s, and to the nearby town of Fredericksburg, where I toured both an 18th century apothecary and a tavern.

Colonial Williamsburg:

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Stepping back in time at Colonial Williamsburg
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They finally got me! Argh, locked up in the stocks!
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Characters in full dress for the time period roam the village
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Our engaging tour guide at the Peyton Randolph house
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Governor’s Mansion
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Restored homes line the streets. Some are closed to the public, and others are available for rent!

If you have time, the following are a few activities/places to see while visiting Colonial Williamsburg:

  • Taking part in the trials at the Court House
  • George Wythe house
  • Market Square
  • Colonial garden

Fredericksburg:

A charming little town to walk through. Their visitor’s center is a good place to stop to get a lay of the land. Many of their tours are within walking distance of each other. Inquire about a AAA discount too, while you’re visiting.

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Hugh Mercer apothecary shop, Fredericksburg
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The collection of medical remedies on display
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Your kids will love checking out the large medicinal leeches. Heck, your adults will love learning about them too!

RV/oversized vehicle parking: We were fortunate to find metered street parking while visiting Fredericksburg for the day, but vehicles over 25ft may have a more difficult time. Parking at Colonial Williamsburg is easy; there’s a dedicated area for RVs at their visitor center. After parking, you can ride the shuttle into the village after paying your admission. For camping, we enjoyed nearby Chickahominy Riverfront Park.

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