Packed Suitcase | The Ultimate Mid-Atlantic Bucket List
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The Ultimate Mid-Atlantic Bucket List

The Ultimate Mid-Atlantic Bucket List

It’s no secret that I love travel bucket lists… In 2009, I sat down and put pen to paper to write my 55 Places Travel Bucket List, showcasing the destinations I most wanted to visit in the entire world.

But, while dreaming of faraway adventures like the Galapagos Islands, Japan and Bora Bora is always a good thing… I think people often put off traveling because they’re waiting for the right trip opportunity to come up. Travel becomes formal, rigid and planned and requires days off and a lot of money. Local travel changes all that. Traveling near your home allows you to be spontaneous and carefree. It empowers you to seize a free day or weekend and just go without feeling like you have to plan a grand adventure. Even though, in the end, you’ll still get that adventure you’ve been seeking.

So, here are my top bucket-list worthy getaways in the mid-Atlantic. Some of these are my tried-and-tested favorite spots and others are local places I’ve been dreaming about but haven’t yet had the opportunity to go. Without further ado…

(in no particular order…!)

Take a dip in the healing hot springs at the Omni Homestead (VA)

Canyon Ranch Spa Garden hot spring


Watch the sun set into the Patuxent River from the boardwalk in Solomons Island (MD)

Solomons Island

Solomons Island


Take a ride aboard a historic skipjack in St. Michaels (MD)

HM Krentz- putting up the sails


Try flat-foot dancing to a rowdy bluegrass tune at the Floyd Country Store (VA)

Floyd Country Store- exterior


Taste your way through Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia (PA)

Philadelphia- Reading Market Terminal- DiNics counter 2


Feed a baby cow at South Mountain Creamery in Frederick (MD)

South Mountain Creamery- feeding a calf


Take in the view at the Roanoke Star (VA)

Roanoke Star- me


Drive Skyline Drive in the fall (VA)

Fall in Shenandoah National Park


Climb to the top of Seneca Rocks in the Monongahela National Forest (WV)

Seneca rocks


Cozy up with a drink at the library at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg (VA)

Salamander Library


Drive the Nelson 151 Route near Charlottesville, stopping in at breweries as you go. (VA)

Blue Mountain Brewery- ext


Take a tour of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (VA)

Charlottesville- Monticello- reflection


Get out on the water in Annapolis — whether by sailboat, schooner or water taxi! (MD)

A ride on the Water Taxi provides the quintessential Annapolis photo op


Have a conversation with a colonial in Historic Williamsburg (VA)

Colonial Williamsburg- house and garden


Rock Hop during a hike at Old Rag Mountain (VA)

Thursday- Old Rag rocks


Embrace your inner paleontologist looking for shark teeth at Flag Ponds Nature Preserve or Calvert Cliffs along the Chesapeake Bay (MD)

Calvert Cliffs- fossil hunting

Calvert cliffs


Tap your feet to bluegrass at the Carter Family Fold and other stops along the Crooked Road (VA)

Carter Family Fold- full house


Drink an orange crush at the Starboard in Dewey Beach (DE)



Take a bite out of a turkey leg at the Maryland Renaissance Festival

Turkey Leg- instagram


Run up the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA)

2 Days in Philadelphia - Philadelphia Museum of Art- Steps- rocky statue


See the cherry blossoms at dawn along the Tidal Basin (DC)

Cherry Blossoms in DC- bicyclist taking photo


Ponder the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright in Fallingwater (PA)



Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway (VA, NC)

Blue Ridge Parkway- old bridge 3


Have a chocolate-fueled weekend in Hershey (PA)

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey, Pennsylvania


Pose with Blackwater Falls (WV)

Me at Blackwater Falls


Spend the afternoon wine tasting in Northern Virginia

Friday- Pearmund- Wine


Have an epic cheesesteak taste test in Philadelphia (PA)

cheesesteak split screen


Stop along I-81 and hike down to see the Natural Bridge (VA)

Natural Bridge


Crack blue crabs smothered in Old Bay at a little spot along the Chesapeake (MD)

Stop by Baltimore’s Inner Harbor when the Tall Ships are in town (MD) — on my list!

Slurp freshly-shucked oysters at Merrior in Coastal Virginia (VA) — on my list!

Admire the wild ponies (from a distance) at Chincoteague or Assateague (VA & MD) — on my list!

Take the Cape May-Lewes Ferry (DE/ NJ) — on my list!

Discover a simpler time in Lancaster County (PA) — on my list!



Mid-Atlantic bucket list-worthy restaurants/ bakeries/ cafes:




Mid-Atlantic bucket list-worthy hotels/ resorts:

  • Primland (Meadows of Dan, VA)
  • Keswick Hall (Charlottesville, VA)
  • Inn at Little Washington (Washington, VA)
  • Inn at Perry Cabin (St. Michaels, MD)
  • Skyland Resort (Shenandoah National Park, VA)
  • The Greenbrier (White Sulfur Springs, WV)
  • Omni Homestead (Hot Springs, VA)
  • Omni Bedford Springs (Bedford Springs, PA)
  • The Martha (Abingdon, VA)
  • Hotel Hershey (Hershey, PA)
  • The Floyd Hotel (Floyd, VA)
The Lodge at Rimland

The Lodge at Rimland


Mid-Atlantic bucket list-worthy small towns (perfect for an afternoon of strolling and window shopping):

Lexington - downtown street 3

Lexington, VA


I know I’ve left off some local favorites, so please share YOUR favorites in the comments below! 


  • Charles McCool
    Posted at 16:17h, 22 May

    A McCool suggestion or two:

    Great Falls National Park
    unpaved roads of Loudoun County
    Waterford, VA
    Ohiopyle State Park
    Williamsport, PA (Little League World Series and museum)
    Penn State Creamery, State College, PA
    baseball game at Camden Yards, Balitmore
    hike Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland
    White’s Ferry, VA/MD
    W&OD Trail
    C&O Trail
    Mercersburg, PA
    Berkeley Springs, WV
    Crabtree Falls (tallest waterfalls east of Mississippi River)
    Charlottesville wine tasting (I do want to try Devil’s Backbone down there!)
    Harris Crab House in Grasonville, MD
    Big Owl Tiki Bar in Grasonville, MD (amazing fish tacos)
    countless small, fun, country roads

    Phew. Plenty for now.

  • Photosherpa
    Posted at 18:30h, 22 May

    We cannot forget the Civil War Battlefield sites of Gettysburg PA, Antietam MD and Manassas, VA as well as historic Harpers Ferry WV.

  • Jane
    Posted at 12:51h, 23 May

    WOW – such wonderful suggestions. It was fun to think back to some that we have done and others that we want to look forward to.

    Here are my additions to your list:

    Small Town – Staunton, VA with the Blackfriars Theatre, Thursday nights in the summer on Beverly Street “Jammin at the Station” and homemade ice cream at The Split Banana

    Inn – Williamsburg Inn or to stay above one of the historic buildings in Williamsburg.

    Minor League baseball – our favorite stadium and team is the Frederick (MD) Keys. At the stretch inning, everyone stands up and shake their keys. Their is also the Prince William Cannons, Staunton Braves and many more in our state

    Winchester VA – Apple Blossom Festival and Parade

    Tubing the Shenandoah River at Harpers Ferry, WV

    and our family favorite – the 4th of July in Washington DC – nothing in the world like it

  • Polly
    Posted at 19:22h, 23 May

    Such a great list for inspiration & now I’m majorly mad I passed up stopping by the Inn as I went through Little Washington this morning!

    Winchester is great & I’ve got to advocate for a mini-trip out to nearby Berryville as well! Catch a show at the Barns of Rosehill, eat at the Grille, stay at Rosemont, and visit some of the nearby vineyards!

    • Marie
      Posted at 07:00h, 18 December

      You really seem to have a good time spent Polly. Hope on my next trip I can visit and have as much fun as you did.

  • Brian S
    Posted at 08:40h, 22 June

    I am not sure how, but we found/follow each other on Instagram. We have some similar mid-Atlantic adventures…although yours are a little more heavily weighted in favor of Maryland. I enjoyed seeing your Father’s Day weekend hiking pics along Skyline Drive/Shenandoah NP.

    A couple other favorites of mine in the NOVA area for quick getaways without any planning are hiking up to Bears Den on the Clarke Co/Loudoun Co line along the Appalachian Trail. Quick 20-30 minute hike up from Route 7 (southbound) to a rocky overlook of the Shenandoah river. For a more adventurous hike, head North on the A.T. to Raven Rocks, this one crosses into WV and has a few nice climbs along the way for a good workout.

    The other I frequently do is Difficult Run off of Old Georgetown Road, hike down along the run to the Potomac and then up the Potomac to Great Falls Park (VA side). Then you can go cross country back to the Difficult Run parking area.

    Not sure if you use it, but I really enjoy Some great mid-Atlantic hikes with some good ratings and directions.

    If you need a middle aged travel assistant looking for a new career, give a holler!

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 12:53h, 23 June

      Hey! So glad you found me on my blog, too! Thanks for your suggestions– I haven’t done any of your hikes that you’ve suggested and I can’t wait to give them a try. 🙂

  • Marie
    Posted at 08:19h, 30 October

    Kudos to you for fulfilling your bucket list. I enjoyed looking at the many adventures you’ve been. I hope someday I too can travel a lot same as you do 🙂 Thanks!

  • Andrew Dickinson
    Posted at 19:11h, 10 April

    Hey Chris!

    I’m jotting down a couple of these that are nearby to go visit! I’m looking to see some more scenic outdoorsy things nearby.

    A couple small towns I enjoyed growing up are two sitting on the Susquehanna river portion of the Chesapeake Bay:

    Havre de Grace – great little town with a couple nice restaurants and places to stay – plus some good antiquing.

    Port Deposit – wild little town that’s pretty much a main street – with a public playground on the water, a pizza place, and an abandoned school (google “Abandoned Tome School” for some fun pictures).

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 15:45h, 17 April

      Thanks, Andrew!! I haven’t been to either, yet but I definitely have been meaning to head out to both of those towns one of these days! I hope you’re doing GREAT! 🙂