Can you believe I have more to say? This is one of those instances where an idea that started as something very simple blossomed into something much bigger...so for the first time ever on the BBW blog, we have a three-part article! In the words of the great Jim Carrey in The Mask, "somebody stop me!"
(Too late, now this will be a periodic feature to be called B-Cubes for busy and broke on a budget :)
In this latest installment, here is a list of day/weekend trips one can take outside of the city. Because come August after you've seen the monuments, visited the museums, been eaten alive by far too many mosquitos at the outdoor events, and eaten at every place where you could snag a reservation during Restaurant Week, you are going to be sick of DC. And no one will be here because Congress will probably be on recess and the rest of the DC natives will be at a family reunion somewhere down south.
So of course there is plenty to do and see outside of our fair city, but you'll have to check back later for an exhaustive overview of the many sights and sounds that await you in Hyattsville, MD or Gaithersburg, MD or even in Annandale, VA. Nevertheless, I will share a few quick thoughts about some the other excursions that are affordable and enjoyable.
Baltimore, MD: If you truly want to visit another world, then our cousins in Baltimore are just a 30 minute drive north from DC. If you do not have a car, the MARC train will take you from Union Station or New Carrollton into downtown Baltimore for the roundtrip price of $14. In a day, you can catch an Orioles game at Camden Yards, see the National Aquarium, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, or the Maryland Science Center at the Inner Harbor, and then have dinner in Fells Point.
Annapolis, MD: This is the quaint little State Capitol located about 30 minutes west of DC. The only way I know to get to Annapolis is to drive, but once you get there, you can walk around the Naval Academy, tour the shops and eat crabs at one of the downtown restaurants. If you decide to skip the small stuff in town, you can keep driving out to Sandy Point State Park, where you can bring a picnic and your bathing suit for a day at the beach and where you can enjoy one of the most magnificent views of the Bay Bridge.
Ocean City, MD: Now I have not been here in YEARS...actually I cannot recall if I've ever been to Ocean City (but I have driven through). But as you might have guessed, it is a beach community located about 2-3 hours outside of the city. Important things to know: the beach is free, there is a boardwalk, there is outlet shopping nearby, and there are lots of families. Depending on your mood, you might be inclined to stay for the weekend, which is a great way to spend time with a few other busy and broke friends (just start planning for it now).
Delaware Beaches: Before we got hitched, the husband and I came from a family vacation in Cape May, NJ in Southern New Jersey to hook up with a friend in Rehoboth Beach, which was literally 17 miles across the Delaware Bay. Except we did not know that at the time, and it became one of the most ridiculous trips we ever took, because we had to drive nearly 100 miles in a circle to get from point A to point B. Had we known that there was a ferry...but lesson learned; however, if you are coming from the DC area, none of this even matters. Anyway, you have a choice of Dewey, Bethany and Rehoboth beaches, which you reach by simply passing through Ocean City. Again, this would probably be best enjoyed as a weekend outing with friends, so start planning now.
New York City: This is a no-brainer. Get thee to the Megabus or to the Bolt Bus or to the DC to NYC bus or if you are really desparate, go to the Greyhound station and just ride. NYC is a great day trip if you have a plan, and it is an even better weekend trip if you do not have a plan. Since a roundtrip ticket will cost you less than $20 with an advance purchase, what the heck else do you need, a freakin invitation?
Atlantic City, NJ: I am not a gambler at all, but Atlantic City is a nice little day trip with a few interesting possibilities. For one, you can take a bus so that you do not have to pay for parking. Second, there is a beach even if no one really swims there anymore. Third, the boardwalk is uber queso, but is there a boardwalk anywhere in America that isn't craptastic? Fourth, some bus trips include casino credits, so what do you have to lose?
Dover Downs, DE: Now if you are a real gambler and prefer to drive, then perhaps a day trip to Dover is in order. My brother went there a couple of years ago and said that he really enjoyed himself, so I'll take his word for it.
And of course, there are plenty of other affordable options to the west and south of the city, which include the Virginias. And I did not mention Philadelphia even though I think of it as a perfect weekend get-away. But those omissions and the brief suggestions I offered for the places I did mention are why I will need to flesh this out as a new feature. So, look for future articles under the B-Cubed label. And continue to save your pennies because I have many more ideas!