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Civil War Tourism: Staying Over Adds Family Fun to Washington, DC, History Trips

July 2, 2016 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

It’s peak season in Historic Washington, DC and it’s surrounding areas. Families and history buffs alike are finding that adding a night or two in Frederick, Manassas and other historic DC and Northern VA areas are the perfect complement to their summer vacations. Crescent Hotels & Resorts, an operator of over 100 hotels in North America, including 14 hotels in the Washington DC area offers four hotels in historic hot spots. Many guests find adding a night or two in Frederick or Manassas the perfect complement to the Washington, DC area vacation. Hotels in these areas, as well as Washington, DC, are offering special summer packages for those that want to learn more about Civil War history.

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“We have found that vacationers are staying in these history-rich areas of Manassas and Frederick for one to three nights on their way to Washington, DC,” said Tim Bowes, Vice President of Sales for Crescent Hotels & Resorts. “They really want to take in the vibe of the regions and see more than what a day trip would allow from DC. Many of our guests are those that stopped in for a day trip on a prior trip and realized how much there is to see and do in the area and plan for longer stays on their next adventure.” Manassas and Frederick offer more than Civil War history; they also offer natural beauty and soft adventure and a quaint small town feel to compliment a trip to a major city such as the nation’s capital. Visitors can hike on the Appalachian Trail, experience the Blue Ridge Mountains, take in whitewater rafting and visit wineries, microbreweries, among countless other activities.

“With the start of summer and kids finishing their school year, these areas are the ideal locations for additional vacation adventures and extended weekend trips,” added Bowes. For Washingtonians who want to get away, these make for affordable “staycations” with little travel time to see areas that many have not been to in a long time, if ever.

“Our local area is steeped in history that families and couples alike enjoy exploring,” said Harold Bassler, Area General Manager, who oversees the the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Manassas and other Washington, DC area hotels. The hotel is close to the area’s two major battlefields including the Battle of Bull Run and Manassas Battlefield, famously considered to be the birthplace of the Civil War.

Visitors can canoe, kayak or paddleboard along the Potomac and Occoquan Rivers, shop at Virginia’s largest outlet mall (Potomac Mills) and visit downtown historic areas of Manassas and Occoquan. For those looking for modern entertainment there are laser tag options and coming soon, the Autobahn Indoor Speedway — all before retreating to a recently renovated room at the nearby Holiday Inn Express. The hotel offers an indoor pool and complimentary hot breakfast as well as complimentary wi-fi to stay current with the twenty first century.

While Manassas is the perfect stop for those traveling from south or west of the nation’s capital, those from the north can include a stopover in Frederick, Maryland on route to Washington, DC. “We have seen a tremendous amount of Civil War tourism,” said Mark Wright, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center Frederick the ideal stop over for a Washington, DC vacation.

Another Frederick option is the nearby Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Detrick. “We see many business travelers use their HHonors reward points for free stays with us when bringing their family in for the Civil War experience”, said Michael Donaldson, the hotel’s General Manager.

Donaldson credits the popularity of the region to its scenic beauty and everything it has to offer. “At the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of mountains or lush green pastures as they travel to the numerous nearby attractions,” said Donaldson. “Even those that don’t drink enjoy the tours of our wineries. In Frederick, around every turn in a postcard view.” Frederick offers many attractions for visitors with varying interests with museums and parks pertaining to Civil War, railroads, children’s museums, national parks and even a creamery.

After a long day of touring, many visitors enjoy exploring the nightlife of Frederick or a leisurely dinner at one of the many restaurants that line the streets of historic downtown Frederick. For those who prefer nationally known chains, the region’s largest shopping area, Francis Scott Key Mall, adjacent to the Holiday Inn, hosts many well-known dining favorites.

Additionally, the PBS show, Mercy Street, centering around two Civil War volunteer nurses in Alexandria, VA, has sparked tourism interest in the already popular Old Town Alexandra, a quaint Washington, DC suburb. “With cobblestone streets lined with countless boutiques and restaurants Old Town is a very popular destination,” said Bassler, who who oversees the Best Western Old Colony Inn. “Also, our guests love the fact that we offer complimentary parking and shuttle to Old Town, as it’s a great walking area, and parking sometimes is hard to come by in historic Old Town.”

For those that want to unplug from technology and social media, and connect with history, nature and their families to create memories, the eighteen hundreds is closer than one would think. Even if it’s just for a weekend.

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