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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Endless Summer

According to the calendar, summer lasts through September 23rd. If you choose to wait until after Labor Day to experience a summer vacation, you're in luck. In general, September travel means lower rates, smaller crowds, and, if you are beach-bound, less traffic on the way.

For those who watched my segment on NewsChannel 8's Let's Talk Live...and even for those who didn't...here are a few more details for Washingtonians looking for the perfect late summer regional getaway.

Let’s start in Ocean City, Maryland. While the water and temperatures are still lovely after Labor Day, hotel prices tend to go down about 20 percent. September is prime golfing season there (with 15 courses in the area), so greens fees don‘t necessarily drop. But if you package golf with an overnight stay, you might be able to tee up a deal. Without traffic, it only takes about three hours to get to Ocean City.

While people often go to the beaches of eastern Maryland, they seldom head west. But Maryland’s western panhandle, located in the Alleghenies and just two-and-a-half hours from DC, is a feast for outdoor adventurers. Stay at the reasonably-priced Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort, located in Rocky Gap State Park near Cumberland. Go golfing on the resort’s Jack Nicklaus signature course or take a bike ride along the C & O Canal or the Great Allegheny Passage. You can also wander across the Pennsylvania border to Ohiopyle State Park, where you can go whitewater rafting into October.

Meanwhile, near the southern end of the Allegheny Range is The Homestead. September is a fine time to visit one of the country’s grande dame resorts, which is a five-hour drive from DC. Rates drop about 15 percent from the summer months, and cooler temperatures make for more comfortable hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, or golfing. If that’s not enough activity for you, you can fly-fish (endorsed by Orvis), hitch a horse, play paintball, or attempt archery.

If you want something a bit closer to home, how about taking your Romeo on a trip to Casanova? Casanova, Virginia, that is, home of Poplar Springs Inn & Spa. Less than a hour from Washington, the small inn offers rustic charm, gourmet food (served up by noted chef Howard Foer), and a topnotch spa offering soothing treatments and ointments for all of your ailments. Nearby, there are places to ride horses, stomp on wine grapes, or hit the greens.

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