Yes I can …… yes I can. 48 hours of outdoor adventure between Winchester, Virginia and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Here is a 48 hour family trip we tested for a family of five who visited us in June. Print the plan out for your friends!
Arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday, we are using the George Washington Hotel as base. George Washington offers luxury accommodations after a day of hiking, experiencing farm life, and adventure on a zip line and on the river. This itinerary trip allows Mom, Dad and Nana to enjoy a brew or a glass of wine after a hard day of fun! Old Town Winchester offers a variety of restaurants within walking distance of the George Washington Hotel. Feel free to adapt or change based on your energy level. This is a full weekend of fun!
We would like tot thank Teach Mama for sharing her experience and the photographs. I have taken the liberty to change it a little bit to make it more seasonal appropriate.
Here is Teach Mama’s family’s first reaction to the idea –
“But I will be totally honest when I say that my family’s initial reaction was not the same as mine. When I told my husband and kids that we were going to the Shenandoah Valley for a quick weekend trip, they were a bit skeptical:
I mean, how fun can it really be?
We’re not all that into camping, Mom. I don’t wanna camp out there with all those bugs and animals.
How much adventure could there really be in Virginia?
I don’t even know how to say where we’re going, and no one I now has ever gone there. Great.
I am not up for a long drive. We’ve been too busy, and the last thing I want to do is sit in a car for a million hours.
However, once we got there and saw how beautiful this area was and experienced first-hand the excitement of running through a five acre playground, the exhilaration of zip-lining across a forest, and joy of braving the rapids of the Shenandoah River, they were totally changed.”,
Leaving DC and driving out after work, one can be at the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, Virginia in one to two hours from Washington DC.If you arrive late and do not want to go to a restaurant, then order room service. A late visit to the Roman style pool will relax everyone for a good night stay.
First thing Saturday morning set out to Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Camp for a hiking adventure. Even if you are not into hiking, the drive itself is beautiful. One way to get kids to love a hike is to involve a geo cache experience. It does not take long for the kids to be hooked. Walking a hiking trail is ok but being prepared makes it all the more fun! Check out this blog on “Six ways to hike with kids.” You can also get equipment and ideas at Appalachian Outdoor Essentials and Readiness.
Time to have lunch, MacKintosh Fruit Farm offers you opportunity to pick seasonal fruit which for August will be peaches and for September of course apples. Mackintosh is known for their Honey Crisp apples. There is also a Bee Festival weekend in August. Not only can the kids pick a crop but also there are the playgrounds and of course the corn mazes. Lunch centers around what is being picked at the farm. One of my favorites is the Zucchini Pizza.
Your next stop is Bear’s Den where you have amazing views of the valley from the mountain ridges. Bears Den is part of the Appalachian Trail. Not only do you get a lot of history but climbing the rocks is just fun!
Then you are off to Great Country Farms for a true farm experience. The kids can learn about the life cycles of monarch butterflies. The huge bouncing pillow is a favorite and Elmer the farm mascot a pot belly pig is a must to meet and become friends with on Facebook and Twitter. Need a snack, try the apple cinnamon donuts.
All right the day has been devoted to the kids, so how about Mom and Dad. The Zurschmeide family is unique because you will find three businesses on their massive acreage. Once you are done with the Great Country Farm, head up the hillside by 951’ to either Bluemont Vineyard where the kids can enjoy the chickens and open areas and you can relax with a wonderful glass of wine. Or visit the new Dirt Farm Brewery where the latest seasonal beers are on tap including my favorite “Straw”. Don’t worry – it is name for the color not the grain or fruit.
Ready to head back to the George Washington Hotel, you can take a leisurely walk to Old Town a block from the hotel and enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants.
Then it is off to the Family Drive In for a retro 50’s and 60’s movie experience. Come prepared to tailgate with blankets for the kids to fall to sleep on and comfy chairs to put out by the car. Don’t forget the popcorn or a last minute hot dog or funnel cake. I will be honest my favorite is their fried shrimp platter. Enough to share.
Finally back to the GW and bedtime.
Sleeping in just a little, breakfast at George’s is a possibility or you can head to a local favorite – Grandma’s.
Sunday will be the day with the ultimate adventures. In the words of Teach Mama, “We never thought we would be a zip-lining family. Ever.” About an hour drive back toward the city from Winchester bordering both the Shenandoah River and the Potomac but still in Virginia, is HF Adventures. You will be looking right across the river at Harpers Ferry and Maryland Heights. You can see Jefferson Rock and the infamous Harpers Ferry Gap
HF Adventure guides are the most supportive and patient teachers ever. They will teach you everything you need to know about staying safe while zip-lining, and they keep the experience light and fun. They are the perfect mix of serious and silly which will lighten up the experience if it is your first time.There is both the Kids Zip for younger ones under 70 pounds and the adult zip line with eight elements.
You can enjoy a pizza lunch pre-ordered or pick up sandwiches on the way to HF.
Then it is time to enjoy one of the ultimate adventures here in the valley – the river rapids. It’s into a bus and off to the beginning of a two hour rafting trip on the Shenandoah River. This can be the best experience ever but like all great adventures plan for it. Sandals are a “no – no”. You want shoes and clothes attire that are designed to help you walk on slippery river rocks. Your shoes will get wet so old ones are the best.
From our mascot, “Bucket”, have a great time. “I can’t wait to share my video with you coming this Fall of my adventure trip here in the northern tip of the Shenandoah Valley.”