Best Historic Getaway: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Harpers Ferry is both a town and a park operated by the U.S. National Park Service, whose park rangers -- sometimes wearing period garb -- lead animated tours of the historic attractions. The most famous of these, John Brown’s Fort, is named for abolitionist John Brown, who led a slave revolt in 1859. Get a glimpse of a preserved 19th-century bar at the White Hall Tavern.
Follow the signs around town to one of the numerous walking paths that lead to elevated vantage points. The Shenandoah and Potomac rivers converge at the Point, which overlooks Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. More adventurous hikers can continue further to the Maryland Heights Trail, whose reward is a panoramic view of the town below.
Stop at one of the towns casual cafes to refuel or, if you’re in the mood to gamble, head to the Hollywood Casino in nearby Charles Town for everything from sushi to steak and a classic casino buffet. Stay at one of the area’s charming bed and breakfasts. Campers can bring their RV or stay in a cabin at the amenity-laden Harpers Ferry/Civil War Battlefields KOA.
Distance from DC: One hour and 40 minutes