Southeast – Hotspot of American History
The Southeast of the United States is new territory for us. We will travel through six new states, get to know five new capitals and their state capitols, and visit the great cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. We will follow the Atlantic coast with its seaside resorts, enjoy nature in Shenandoah National Park and on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and view a variety of historical sites.
Our tour begins in Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania. Independence National Historic Park with the Liberty Bell is considered the birthplace of American democracy; we allow ourselves a full day for the sights of this large city, which you can still walk well. The next day we cross the border into New Jersey; in Hamilton, we visit Grounds for Sculpture, a brilliant sculpture park, where we are particularly impressed by the works of the American artist Seward Johnson.
Coffee is served in Princeton; the image of the small town is dominated by the buildings of the university, which is one of the eight elite colleges of the Ivy League. Trenton, capital of New Jersey, has little to offer except the State House with its golden dome.
After a detour to Washington Crossing Historic Park, we head to the Atlantic coast. Atlantic City is considered the Las Vegas of the east coast; concrete mixed with neon, however, doesn’t make a cosmopolitan city. Via numerous coastal towns and Ocean City we reach the southern tip of the Cape May peninsula with its lighthouse. Then we leave the sea and reach Delaware, the next state on this journey. The industrial city of Wilmington, headquarters of the chemical giant DuPont, has a beautiful riverwalk, New Castle the First State National Historic Park (where William Penn once landed), and the historic government district Dover, the state capital, can easily be visited in an hour.
The small town of Lewes is an little work of art, while Rehoboth Beach is the flagship beach of Delaware. In the Assateague National Seashore we watch the famous wild horses from a distance, then we cross the 37 km long Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel into Virginia. The Colonial Parkway is American history at its best: Yorktown, site of the last battle of the American Revolution in 1781; Colonial Williamsburg, the largest open-air museum for American history; and Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. After so much past, Richmond, Virginia’s vibrant capital, awaits us the next day.
In Waynesboro, we enter the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a panoramic road that runs on the heights of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers great views every few miles. Unfortunately, we have to leave the Parkway after about 100 miles in Roanoke. The next day we look at two covered bridges in Newport and, shortly after Pearisburg, cross the border into West Virginia, where Sandstone Falls await us in New River Gorge National Park, the youngest national park in the United States. In Beckley we will stay for the next two days.
Charleston, the small capital of the state, turns out to be not very attractive; except for the State Capitol there is hardly anything to see. At Hawks Nest State Park, however, we have a great view of the New River valley. Thurmond Historic District is a mountain village with a great (coal) history; highlight of the national park is the New River Gorge Bridge, until 2001 the largest arch bridge in the world.
After a night in historic Lewisburg, we continue to White Sulphur Springs, where we have coffee at the luxury hotel “The Greenbrier” before we look at the natural spectacle of a huge Natural Bridge an hour’s drive later. Via Lexington, now back in Virginia, we reach Waynesboro again.
The next day is all about Shenandoah National Park; on Skyline Drive, another panoramic road, we experience 110 miles – of thick fog. But even that is an experience – nature is great anyway. Finally, in Winchester, the world’s largest apple awaits us, beautifully red and shiny in the rain. Another highlight of this trip is the small town of Harper’s Ferry at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers; right next to it is John Brown’s Fort, nucleus of the American Civil War.
Via Antietam National Battlefield, one of the many battlefields from the American Civil War, we finally reach Frederick in Maryland, a beautiful city, where the Carroll Creek Linear Park is particularly inviting. Then Baltimore is on the agenda, Maryland’s largest city and absolutely worth seeing. The most important sights are located around the Inner Harbor; here you can spend many hours. The Fells Point district is also worth a visit, as is Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine just outside the city. The capital of Maryland, Annapolis, is small compared to its big sister and can be easily explored on foot.
One last time we change location; the destination of this eventful trip is Washington D.C., federal capital and certainly one of the most impressive cities in all of North America. In addition to countless museums, memorials, statues and modern sculptures, the White House, the State Capitol and the Pentagon, centers of Western power, are located here. Four full days are still not enough to see the major highlights, especially since some of them are a bit outside and back in Virginia, such as Washington’s Mount Vernon, Alexandria or Arlington National Cemetery. After a three-hour drive on busy highways, this journey ends where it began, at Philadelphia International Airport.
|01||Philadelphia Airport (PHL)||Philadelphia||010 m / 015 km|
|02||Philadelphia||Philadelphia||030 m / 050 km|
|03||Philadelphia||South Brunswick||070 m / 115 km|
|04||South Brunswick||Pleasantville||150 m / 240 km|
|05||Pleasantville||Rutherford||160 m / 255 km|
|06||Rutherford||Dover||080 m / 130 km|
|07||Dover||Virginia Beach||220 m / 355 km|
|08||Virginia Beach||Williamsburg||080 m / 130 km|
|09||Williamsburg||Waynesboro||160 m / 255 km|
|10||Waynesboro||Roanoke||120 m / 195 km|
|11||Roanoke||Beckley||170 m / 275 km|
|12||Beckley||Beckley||140 m / 225 km|
|13||Beckley||Lewisburg||110 m / 175 km|
|14||Lewisburg||Waynesboro||140 m / 225 km|
|15||Waynesboro||Winchester||140 m / 225 km|
|16||Winchester||Baltimore||130 m / 210 km|
|17||Baltimore||Annapolis||070 m / 115 km|
|18||Annapolis||Washington D.C.||050 m / 080 km|
|19||Washington D.C.||Washington D.C.||050 m / 080 km|
|20||Washington D.C.||Washington D.C.||000 m / 000 km|
|21||Washington D.C.||Washington D.C.||000 m / 000 km|
|22||Washington D.C.||Washington D.C.||020 m / 030 km|
|23||Washington D.C.||Philadelphia Airport (PHL)||140 m / 225 km|
|Total||2.240 m / 3.605 km|