‘Cool’ last-minute summer road trips

There are still a few weeks of summer left — which means a few more weeks of Washington, DC’s notoriously high temps and humidity. However, there is not need to let get yourself get all hot and bothered (pun intended). Here are some cool — and by cool, we mean both fun and lower temps and humidity — road trips for your consideration.

Finger Lakes Region, New York

Fourteen individual counties, 11 finger-shaped lakes, and 9,000 square mile make up the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Visitors to the region are able to explore quaint rural towns like Watkins Glen and Seneca Falls; unique mid-size cities like Corning and Ithaca; and bustling urban areas such as Rochester and Syracuse. Known for producing excellent wine, particularly for world-renowned Rieslings, the Finger Lakes Region is home to more than 100 vineyards and tasting rooms. There are also a cheese trail and an ice cream trail to enjoy.

Drive time: 5 to 6.25 hours

Where to stay:

Upcoming events:

Gettysburg. Pennsylvania

Gettysburg is best known for its historic Civil War battle, and a visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center and tour of the battlefield is a must for history buffs. Beyond its deeply rooted Civil War history, Gettysburg is also home to burgeoning agritourism scene that can easily be explored via the Adams County Crop Hop, a program that promotes the area’s farms and markets; and the Pour Tour, which guides wines, ciders, spirits, meads and craft brews found in Gettysburg’s downtown tasting rooms and throughout the surrounding countryside.

Drive time: 90 mins

Where to stay:

  • Brickhouse Inn – Located in downtown Gettysburg, the Brickhouse Inn is an award-winning bed and breakfast, occupying two buildings. The larger of the two buildings (with eight guest rooms), a Victorian mansion, was built in 1898, and has been restored with authentic furnishings. The Welty House, the other building (with six guest rooms) was built in 1838 and was occupied by Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Gettysburg. Guests should be sure to have a slice of the Brickhouse Inn’s signature, home-baked shoofly pie served as part of the daily complimentary breakfast.
  • Gettysburg Hotel – The Gettysburg Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, and each of its 119 guest rooms, including 56 suites, richly blended the past with the comforts of modern amenities. It’s Ghostly Encounter Experience that includes a ghost tour and a signed copy of “Ghosts of Gettysburg” by Mark Nesbitt as well as dinner and breakfast for two at the hotel’s on-site restaurant.

Upcoming events:

Luray and Page County, Virginia

Luray and surrounding Page County are nestled between the Blue Ridge and Massanutten Mountains, and allow visitors to truly escape the hustle — and hassles — of everyday life and experience the best nature has to offer. The otherworldliness of Luray Caverns and the breathtaking scenic beauty of Shenandoah National Park with its famed Skyline Drive. are the foundation of the area’s appeal, but it also offers opportunities for antiquing and agritourism (including some amazing farm to table restaurants) among other things. In addition, the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail runs just south of Luray and offers more then a dozen breweries to explore.

Drive time:

Where to stay:

  • Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park – Covering 73 acres, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Luray offers a variety of campsites and cabin with a range of amenities. And regardless of what time of stay is purchased, guests have access to the camp-resort’s many free attractions, including pools and waterslides, mini golf, zipline, paddle boats, and outdoor movie theater. In addition, whether you’re celebrating a birthday or just want to add a special extra touch to your stay, a visit by Yogi Bear is a fun add-on package to consider.
  • Skyland Resort – Skyland is part of Shenandoah National Park’s network of in-park accommodations. It’s offerings range from premium rooms to detached small cabins, preferred and traditional rooms, suites, and pet friendly rooms—located in 28 separate buildings along the ridge and in the wooded areas on over 27 acres of the park. Skyland’s Pollock Dining Room serves tasty regional specialties with farm-to-fork flavors along side sumptuous views of the Shenandoah Valley. And considering the elevation of Skyland, it’s only natural that Mile-High Blackberry Ice Cream Pie is a house specialty.

Upcoming events

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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