One of the neatest gift ideas I've seen in a long time is to give a "Year of Dates." (Disclaimer up front: I didn't make this idea up --I'm not that clever. In fact, I have seen it several magazines, and in a book about relationships.) It just seemed so in keeping with the spirit of this blog that I had to write about it -- and offer my own ideas!
Here's how it works: Put a date idea that you both would enjoy -- something fun and out of the ordinary -- in an envelop, one for every month of the year. Then put them all into a basket or pretty container. Preplan these, where possible, by purchasing gift cards or tickets in advance.
Keep reading for some great ideas -- some I've already blogged about, but some I haven't!
If your special someone is into history, then plan dates around history and places of historical significance. Between Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, you have at least 12 right there!
- January: Figure out what your conspiracy theory is -- tour Surratt's House and Tavern (in Clinton, MD), then go tour Dr. Mudd's house (in Waldorf, MD).
- February: Explore the Manassas Battlefield
- March: Go for a walking tour around Baltimore's famous Green Mount Cemetery (printed guides detailing the walking tour around the famous graves there are available from the Cemetery Office); bring three pennies to leave on the graves of John Wilkes Booth and two of his fellow conspirators.
- April: Go for a play at Ford's Theater, the scene of President Lincoln's assassination. While you're there, tour the little house across the street where he died.
- May: Spend a long weekend in Richmond. Tour the Confederate White House. While you're down there, go visit Petersburg Battlefield.
- June: Spend the day at Harpers Ferry. Do the history, then wander over the railroad bridge and walk along the C&O Canal on the other side. (See blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/11/harpers-ferry-stepping-back-in-history.html for more about this idea.)
- July: Go visit Ft. Delaware, the site of a Civil War fort and prison for Confederate soldiers.
- August: Sign up for a segway tour of Gettysburg Battlefield, have lunch at Dobbin House Tavern (see blog post on http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/08/segway-into-battlefield-tour-gettysburg.html for more about this idea).
- September: Explore Antietam Battlefield, and don't forget to visit the Pry House, the site of Gen McClellan's headquarters. On your way up, have brunch (if it's a Sunday) at South Mountain Inn.
- October: Go leaf pepping on your way up to Ft. Necessity, in western Pennsylvania, where George Washington started the French and Indian War when he tangled with the French and surrendered for the first and only time in his career. (See blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-necessary-stop-fort-necessity-we.html for more about this idea.)
- November: Don't forget the War of 1812 -- Tour Fort McHenry, followed by lunch in Federal Hill in Baltimore
- December: Go see Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home and plantation, decorated for Christmas.
A Year of Historic Architecture and Gardens
If architecture, historic homes, and gardens are your special someone's thrill, consider some of the places below.
- January: Tour Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA. Go for dinner at one of the many nearby restaurants.
- February: Take the Behind the Scenes tour of Thomas Jefferson's Montecello
- March: Visit Confederate General Robert E Lee's former home, Arlington House, in the Arlington National Veteran's Cemetery (keep checking the blog -- there'll be a future post about this idea).
- April: Visit Ladew Topiary Gardens and tour the circa 1747 manor house in Monkton, MD
- May: Picnic at the National Arboretum Northeast Washington, DC (a good time to visit is during the few weeks when azaleas are blooming and don't miss the Bonsai gardens).
- June: Spend a day at Longwood Gardens, stay for the fireworks (see blog post on http://www.midatlantic daytrips.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-happy-visit-longwood-gardens.html for more about this idea)
- July: Tour Surratt House and Tavern, in Clinton, MD.
- August: Spend an afternoon exploring Rock Run Historic Area and tour the Carter-Archer Mansion in the Susquehanna State Park (see blog post on http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/07/finding-stories-rock-run-historic-area.html for more about this idea)
- September: Visit Frederick, MD's first home, Schifferstadt, built by a German immigrant in the 1700s, then walk around Frederick historic area enjoying the historic homes.
- October: Go leaf pepping on your way to Fallingwater in the Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania (see blog post onhttp://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/06/fallingwater-my-boys-are-generally-not.html for more about this idea).
- November: Visit Majorie Merriewether Post's Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Northwest DC
- December: Take a Christmas tour of Williamsburg, VA (this may be more of a weekend than a daytrip).
For the most part, this is the least expensive of the themes -- most of our national and state parks only charge a nominal fee. The memories you create when you see that fantabulous sight at the hike's destination can't be beat!
- January: Visit the King & Queen's Seat at Rocks State Park in Jarrettsville, MD. Save it for a dry day -- rocks are slippery when wet!
- February: Go snow tubing at Boulder Ridge or
- March: Seek out an early spring by going hiking in Catoctin Mountain National Park (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/08/catoctin-mountain-reverie.html for more about this idea); don't forget a quick hike to see Cunningham Falls (in Cunningham Falls State Park) nearby.
- April: Spend the day at Harpers Ferry National Park. Do the history, then wander over the railroad bridge and walk along the C&O Canal on the other side (see blog posts http://www.midatlantic daytrips.blogspot.com/2013/11/harpers-ferry-stepping-back-in-history.html and http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/11/stunning-views-at-c-canal-locks-33-and.html for more about this idea).
- May: Spend an afternoon exploring Rock Run Historic Area, Susquehanna State Park, then take the trail along the Susquehanna River (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/07/finding-stories-rock-run-historic-area.html for more about this idea)
- June: Go car camping in Dolly Sods Wilderness Area and watch the sun come up (and hear the bears growling) on Bear Rocks (Tucker County, WV).
- July: Spend a day on the Chesapeake Bay at St. Michaels and sail on the Selina II (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-day-on-bay-tilghman-island-st.html for more about this idea).
- August: Go kayaking on the Potomac River (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/09/rediscovering-river-kayaking-on-potomac.html for more about this idea).
- September: Sign up for a segway tour of Gettysburg National Military Park, have dinner at Dobbin House Tavern, and go for a ghost tour on the battlefield (see blog post on http://www.midatlantic daytrips.blogspot.com/2013/08/segway-into-battlefield-tour-gettysburg.html for more about this idea)
- October: Go hiking in Sugarloaf Mountain Park, followed by a late lunch at Comus Inn (if you're going for dinner, reservations are recommended).
- November: Go bird watching at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips.blogspot.com/2013/10/going-to-birds-in-bombay-hook.html for more about this idea).
- December: Go fossil hunting at Calvert Cliffs State Park, in Lusby, MD.
A Year of Diversity
And if you want to provide a little bit of everything -- mix and match from the various categories. Here's a list of a variety of fun and memorable daytrips -- including some of my favorites!
- January: Tour Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA
- February: Go for a "Cask to Kisses" wine tasting at Linganore WineCellars (for more about Linganore WineCellars, see blog post http://www.midatlantic daytrips.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-taste-wineries-of-maryland-first-in.html).
- March: Visit the fishes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, followed by an Italian dinner in Fells Point.
- April: Go for lunch in Georgetown (Washington, DC) and then go walk along the historic C&O Canal.
- May: Picnic at the National Arboretum and tour the gardens.
- June: Walk around historic Frederick and go out to eat at one of the many fine restaurants downtown. Then pay your respects to the author of the Star Spangled Banner while taking a nighttime guided tour of Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, MD (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/09/mount-olivet-cemetery-more-history-than.html for more about this idea).
- July: Spend a day at St. Michaels, get some ice cream, and sail on the Selina II (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/08/a-day-on-bay-tilghman-island-st.html for more about this idea).
- August: Spend a day at Longwood Gardens, stay for the fireworks (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/08/a-happy-visit-longwood-gardens.html for more about this idea).
- September: Sign up for a segway tour of Gettysburg Battlefield,
- October: Go leaf pepping on your way to Fallingwater in the Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/06/fallingwater-my-boys-are-generally-not.html for more about this idea).
- November: Go ghost hunting on the Annapolis Ghost Walk (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/10/ghostly-orbs-evidence-of-hauntings.html for more about this idea).
- December: Check out the Go Local for the Holiday Festival, feature local crafts and artisans at Harford Vineyard (see blog post http://www.midatlanticdaytrips. blogspot.com/2013/10/piedmont-wine-trail-harvest-time.html for more about this idea).
Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about: facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!
Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger!