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  • Suzanne Carmel

Weekend Getaway in Washington, D.C.

Cover photo credit: Tiber Creek Private Tours

Our nation’s capital isn’t just a great destination for school and family trips or business travel. It’s more than just the seat of the federal government. It’s a place full of modern and historic attractions, where you can lose yourself in museums, fill your days visiting significant sites, walk through colorful, diverse neighborhoods, and everywhere feel the vibrancy of a city at the center of it all.

Washington, D.C. offers something new to even repeat visitors. There is always something to discover, a different experience waiting to be had, another treasure in a sight you’ve seen one, five, or ten times.

Build a weekend getaway from a home-away-from-home base that allows you to regroup and recharge in between forays to area sights and attractions. The Fairmont Washington, D.C. Georgetown and the Salamander Washington DC both offer guests a wide array of amenities and services, close to all the action.

A Standard Room with a King Bed at the Fairmont Washington D.C. Georgetown, featured in Round Trip with Colleen Kelly
Photo Credit: Fairmont Washington D.C. Georgetown

For a more neighborhood feel, stay at the Fairmont with its beautiful courtyard and dramatic lobby bar, where you can try the signature BeeTini, made with honey from the hotel’s rooftop bees. Breakfasts at the Juniper Restaurant are a delicious way to start your day. If you don’t burn off the calories while touring, you can work them off at the hotel’s Balance Gym – a huge fitness center for hotel guests and members complete with a lap pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam room, two Crossfit boxes, and much more. The Fairmont Gold Floor is a worthwhile splurge because it offers the convenience of included full breakfasts and afternoon hors d’oeuvres, snacks throughout the day, and alcoholic beverages (for a fee).

Stay downtown at Salamander Washington DC near the District Wharf – a trendy, mile-long waterfront area along the Potomac River, full of restaurants, colorful shops, entertainment venues, and a marina. The Salamander is close to major D.C. attractions and contains a full-service spa, an indoor pool, and a large fitness room. A Gem Car provides guests with complimentary first-come, first-served rides to the National Mall area, along Constitution Avenue, and to the Wharf. Afternoon tea on Saturday and Sundays is a celebrated occasion to relax with champagne, scones, tea sandwiches, and pastries along with a selection of loose-leaf teas. Reserve your tea in the elegant lounge or order it to go.

Garden Exterior shot of the Salamander Washington DC hotel, featured in Round Trip with Colleen Kelly
Photo Credit: Salamander Washington DC

To maximize a weekend here, consider splurging on two unique tours to get an overall feel for the city and all it has to offer. Tiber Creek Private Tours offers personally customized tours of Washington, D.C. and area attractions based on your input. Tours can be as short as three hours, up to a full day, or there are multi-day options. Our tour included stops outside the White House, Capitol, Ford’s Theater, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, National Cathedral, and a drive along Embassy Row. It’s spectacular driving by memorials and monuments lit up at night, accompanied by colorful commentary including little known facts and insight into the city.

Summer is peak tourist season in Washington, and whether you are visiting in the thick of it or during the shoulder spring and fall seasons, Embark DC provides a great way to get out of the heat or off of tired feet. Book a private boat tour for up to six passengers on one of two open-bow boats or the larger Sedan Bridge Cruiser. You can bring food and beverages onboard, and water and soft drinks are provided (as well as hors d’oeuvres on the cruiser). Book a tour to depart from one of several waterfront locations in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. for one-and-a-half and up to eight hours.

Owner Denny (one of several boat captains) took us from District Wharf to view the Pentagon, Kennedy Center, monuments, and to watch flights descending just overhead into Reagan National Airport. Before or after a cruise, it’s nice to stroll along the waterfront and dine at one of more than 60 restaurants and take-away spots, take in a concert at a local venue, and/or peruse the shops along the promenade.

For those who are familiar with Washington, consider an afternoon or evening trip to Alexandria, Virginia, a short drive from the capital. Old Town Alexandria is full of charming restaurants, colorful boutiques, and plenty of history, best uncovered on a walking tour. We chose an Alexandria the Great, hour-long George Washington group walking tour, which departed from the Visitor Center at 221 King Street and stopped along cobblestone streets at various places our first president frequented, touching on some of the rich history of the city, established in 1749. After the tour, stroll along King Street and down to the Potomac River waterfront.

View from the Farm at Mount Vernon. Featured in Round Trip with Colleen Kelly.
Photo Credit: Tiber Creek Private Tours

For another excursion a bit father from the city but well worth the trip, visit Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. If you’ve never been here or it’s been a while, spend several hours exploring the Washington mansion, gardens, farm, museum, and education center. Browse through the shops for a wide array of souvenirs, and dine in the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant or the food court. You can also tour George Washington’s gristmill and whiskey distillery, located less than three miles from the estate’s main entrance.

Repeat visitors will easily enjoy a short- or long-weekend getaway with these and many other ways to enjoy the city and surrounding area.

For more information on Washington, D.C., visit; on the Fairmont, visit; on the Salamander, visit; for boat tours, visit; and for private limo tours, visit


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