If you’re like me, you love the crisp, cool nights and warm fall days. Perhaps it has occured to you that it would be useful to escape from your hectic life and catch your breath. If so, keep reading!
But first, let’s contemplate Outside Magazine’s thought provoking article about the value of spending time in nature: “Reboot or Die Trying,” by David Roberts, a star political blogger who unplugged officially for one whole year! OMG How? First, he mentions that on average, humans spend 7.4 hours per day looking at screens. Then he explains some pretty amazing efforts to remove himself from his daily screen viewing habits. Roberts also cites reputable studies supporting the idea that taking a break from technology actually enhances our creativity. In fact, spending time in nature is likened to a “wonder drug” of clarity in thought and relaxation. He reminds us that it’s in our DNA to pay attention to “clouds, rustling grass and singing birds.” Pick up the magazine if you can. It’s the October 2014 issue and not online yet.
With so many scenic destinations in the Mid Atlantic, I challenge you to escape. If you can’t go far, consider a hike up Sugarloaf Mountain near Frederick. It’s not completely out there, but you might find a quiet path or two.
Or head to the Shenandoah National Park. With miles and miles of trails, you’ll find your solitude. Check out Washingtonian’s upcoming October issue where my guide to hiking in the Shenandoah includes stopping at a whiskey distillery. How bad can that be?
But if you really want to hear yourself think (as my mother used to say), here are two getaways, both easy drives from the Washington DC Area. There is so much to do. But don’t bring your laptop, turn off your cell phone and definitely pack your hiking shoes-we’re going exploring (in style of course!):
Nemacolin Resort Laurel Highlands, PA
This luxurious resort has all the amenities. You can play golf, tennis, go fly-fishing, shoot rifles, or hike trails meandering through endless acres of hills and valleys. In full fall color, the surrounding mountains and forests will take your breath away. A short distance from Frank Lloyd Wright’s magnificent Falling Water, tour this magnificent property and make it back in time for a massage at the luxurious Woodlands Spa. Nemacolin also offers a full service pet resort, so you don’t have to leave your furry friend home alone. Kids will love the pony rides, petting zoo and year-round dog sledding, but one particularly fun activity for the whole family — safari jeep rides to view abundant wildlife. Try one of their Headless Horseman Carriage Rides through the month of October!
Shepherdstown West Virginia
Shepardstown is a fun combination of old and new. This historic college town is filled with charming shops, cozy bistros, an avant garde theatre called Black Box Arts Center, and the beloved Shepherdstown Opera House shows first-run independent films. Looking for romance? Stay overnight at the Bavarian Inn atop the roaring Potomac. The Bavarian Inn has a sunny German restaurant with views of the C&O Canal. Stop in the local visitors center to learn about all the recreational activities in the area. Consider renting a kayak from Peddle & Paddle to explore the banks of the Potomac. They also rent bikes, and it’s lovely to cycle around the nearby Antietam Battlefields or on the Canal. Shepardstown is hosting their Annual Appalachian Heritage Festival on September 26-27 with live musical performances, a celebrated craft show and ghost tours.