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A Sweet Spell In Maryland

Lizzie Parkin, Business Travel Consultant at our head office, recently took a tour of the East Coast of America. Find out what her highlights were from her time in cities such as Washington DC and Baltimore…

Destination: East Coast USA

Accommodation
(Hotel names/Ship name): 
Sleep Inn and Suites Baltimore, Four Points Washington DC, Harbourtowne Country Club, Sheraton Beach Club Virginia and Hampton Inn and Suites Austin.

Airline: British Airways and American Airlines

Duration: 10 Days

Flights

The flight out to Washington DC was amazing as we were upgraded to Club Class, allowing us the chance to experience the fully flat beds. Needless to say, these were very comfortable, and the wine and food were great too. The seats also come with privacy so you can get some sleep if you want without the person next to you disturbing you. British Airways had a good selection of films which included many new releases.

Accommodation

We initially stayed at the Sleep Inn in Baltimore, which is one of the newest boutique hotels in the city. It was located across from the Children’s Museum and the local bus stopped outside. The rooms were large, clean and the bathroom was massive.

In Washington DC we stayed at the Four Points, which was 3 blocks from Macy’s and only 15 min walk from the White House. The Capitol Building was close by too and the hotel was a good example of standard city centre accommodation.

In Arundel, we stayed at the Springhill Suites at Arundel Mall. This was conveniently located 2 hours from DC, 2 hours from Annapolis and across the street from a big shopping mall.

Harbourtowne Golf Resort - This was off the beaten track with lovely views over the Chesapeake Bay. The only disappointing thing was that the pool only opens between May 25th and September 1st, so we had to swim in the bay.

Marriott Beach Club Virginia Beach – At this hotel, we all had our own mini suites. The complex was on the beachfront with shops and restaurants close by.

Omni Richmond - This was a typical city centre hotel, with an in-house Starbucks.

Although all of the hotels that we stayed in were great, we were not in them long enough to experience the wide range of amenities that some of them offered.

Excursions

The trip included a lot. We had a tour of Baltimore aquarium, a trip to Fort McHenry, a sunset bike tour of Washington DC and a morning at the museum (which included very moving pieces on 9/11 and the only piece of the Berlin Wall in America). We also managed to fit in a visit to a microbrewery, shopping time in Arundel Mall, Chesapeake Bay maritime museum, kayaking in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach Aquarium Adventure Park (a sunshine version of go ape), a tour of the living history museum in Williamsburg, a gin distillery tour and a ‘stadiums of America’ tour in Austin.

All meals, water and Wi-Fi on the tour bus were included, as were all the entrance fees.

Trip Highlights

Washington DC 

The Washington Monument and the Thomas Jefferson memorial building stand tall over the Potomac River

All of it was truly amazing!  If I had to pick one highlight, I would say the sunset bike tour of Washington DC as we saw the White House, the Capitol building, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial all in one go.

Possible Improvements

It may have helped if we were notified of the travel details/itinerary a little earlier.

Recommendations

I would recommend this trip because, although the itinerary looks very busy, if you add in an extra day or two you can include some time at the beach and St Michael’s which would make it a lot more relaxing.

The tour offered a good mixture of sightseeing and learning about parts of America that many people will not be too familiar with. I would also recommend trying a variety of the fresh seafood the region has to offer.

Must see? Sunrise over Virginia Beach

Must do? Sunset bike tour of DC

Must try? Virginia Beach Aquarium Adventure Park and the Crab Claw restaurant in St Michaels.

If you would like to plan your own tour of America then the team at Fred Olsen Travel will be more than happy to help. You can either visit them in store at our Colchester travel agents, our new travel agents in Cambridge airport, or one of our many other locations around East Anglia, or you can use the online contact form.