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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "driving"

Here are the 6 U.S. destinations experts recommend you visit in 2020

If “travel more” is one of your resolutions this year, then you’re in luck, as the staff of Travel + Leisure recently compiled its annual list of the 50 best places to travel in 2020.

The company’s designated travel experts—ranging from travel agents to experienced editors of the publication—curate a detailed list each year, highlighting places across the globe that are at the forefront of conversation due to world-renowned hotels, noteworthy museums, annual events and more.  

The 2020 list includes everything from a small surfing town in Denmark to the immense, mystifying mountainsides of Taiwan. Among the 50 destinations, the writers mentioned just six places worth visiting in the United States. 

While some are well-known for quaint, waterside views, others are putting themselves on the cultural map with vibrant nightlife and eccentric shopping. Here, we hope to inspire your travel plans for the year ahead by sharing a little information about each one.

Asheville, North Carolina – No. 3

In the midst of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains lies the bustling town of Asheville, North Carolina, known for its eccentric arts scene and historic architecture. When walking Asheville’s streets, you’ll find museums, art galleries and the artwork of local talent stored within former factory buildings. For history lovers, turn to the The Biltmore Estate—built for George Washington Vanderbilt II in the 1800s—as it is one of the city’s most renowned tourist attractions, sprawled across 8,000 acres of land. 

Westlake Legal Group part-of-the-big-island-hawaii Here are the 6 U.S. destinations experts recommend you visit in 2020 vacation traveling Travel + Leisure travel Things to Do seasonal travel road trip flying driving Destinations break best cities
Waipio Valley Lookout on the Big Island of Hawaii. (© pngstudio / stock.adobe.com)

Big Island, Hawaii – No. 8

Hawaii has always been seen as a hot spot for your next vacation. Yet this year, Travel + Leisure placed the Big Island at the top of the list, as the western coast is beginning to receive attention from writers, travelers and locals alike. This month, the island’s first Auberge Resorts Collection property, Mauna Lani,opened its doors, inspiring eager explorers to turn their eye to the water-centered paradise. 

Westlake Legal Group Boston-MA Here are the 6 U.S. destinations experts recommend you visit in 2020 vacation traveling Travel + Leisure travel Things to Do seasonal travel road trip flying driving Destinations break best cities
The Back Bay area of Boston. (© jonbilous / stock.adobe.com)

Boston – No. 10

Recognized as one of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston is home to vibrant cultural history, annual entertaining events and a food scene. Whether you’re planning to take the kids for a walk along the Freedom Trail or are interested in catching a baseball game this summer at historic Fenway Park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this year in Boston. Plus, according to Travel + Leisure, five new food halls plan on opening to the public in 2020, appealing to foodies of all forms. 

Westlake Legal Group Mackinac-Island-marina-on-Lake-Michigan Here are the 6 U.S. destinations experts recommend you visit in 2020 vacation traveling Travel + Leisure travel Things to Do seasonal travel road trip flying driving Destinations break best cities
Mackinac Island, Michigan. (© Michael / stock.adobe.com)

The Great Lakes – No. 22

While not technically one location, the various cities and small towns along the Great Lakes are generating a lot of buzz in 2020. Shared with Canada and spanning more than 750 miles, Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario have a whole lot to offer on the shore, ranging from dining destinations to scenic views. Interested in seeing it all at once? Travel + Leisure has compiled several of the most well-known small ship cruises that make it easy to explore the beautiful waterside sites this year. 

Westlake Legal Group Bar-Harbor-Maine Here are the 6 U.S. destinations experts recommend you visit in 2020 vacation traveling Travel + Leisure travel Things to Do seasonal travel road trip flying driving Destinations break best cities
Bar Harbor, Maine. (© mandritoiu / stock.adobe.com)

Maine – No. 29

Known as the northernmost state in the US, Maine is the ideal destination for adventurers and sightseers alike. From quaint seaside towns like Bar Harbor to the numerous hiking trails within Acadia National Park, the entire state offers entertainment and activities to explore all year long, no matter the weather. The food scene is worth a visit too, as the majority of restaurants in Maine’s most popular towns source all of their produce and meat locally, ensuring fresh taste. 

Westlake Legal Group skyline-of-Oklahoma-City Here are the 6 U.S. destinations experts recommend you visit in 2020 vacation traveling Travel + Leisure travel Things to Do seasonal travel road trip flying driving Destinations break best cities
Oklahoma City. (© SeanPavonePhoto / stock.adobe.com)

Oklahoma City – No. 26 

Oklahoma City serves as a modern, cultural city inspired by its undeniable Western past. It is home to more national and international equine championship events than any other city in the world, specifically attracting tourists to State Fair Park for annual showcases. This year, the arts world of Oklahoma City will be getting more attention, thanks to the March opening of the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center and the Warhol and the West exhibit debuting at the end of the month, featuring a collection of Andy Warhol’s Western-inspired imagery. 

For more travel tips and destinations, subscribe to our biweekly e-newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

National Park Service to raise fees in Northern Virginia and DC

Westlake Legal Group great-falls-park-price-increases National Park Service to raise fees in Northern Virginia and DC Washington parks & rec Parking park news nps News national park service Hiking great falls driving DC
Photo by Jaime Creixems

When the new year rolls around, new policies will roll out just about everywhere, and the National Park Service is no exception. 

In Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, fees will increase for hikers, explorers and drivers in the DMV. 

Great Falls Park will increase its entrance fees starting on Jan. 1, 2020. 

At both the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (in Maryland) and Great Falls Park in Northern Virginia, the cost of entering Great Falls Park will increase from $15 per vehicle to $20 per vehicle. Per person rates will increase from $7 to $10, and annual park passes will increase from $30 to $35. 

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All money collected will remain with the National Park Service, with an estimated 80% staying local at the C&O Canal and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Funds raised from entrance fees have previously contributed to the rehabilitation of several areas, including restrooms at both Great Falls parks, milling and pacing of the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and more. 

Drivers should also be aware that NPS will increase parking meter rates around the National Mall and at Thompson Boat Center in January 2020.

In order to match the rate currently charged on streets administered by Washington, DC, NPS will raise hourly rates from $2 per hour to $2.30 per hour. 

The revenue from the meter spaces allows NPS to provide the District Department of Transportation with a portion of operating costs for the National Mall route of the DC Circulator bus. 

The $1.4 million from the 2019 meter program also funded landscape renovations, asphalt repairs, replacement of the roof at the Sylvan Theater comfort station and crosswalk re-striping. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

6 romantic getaway packages to enjoy with your partner this winter

Westlake Legal Group couple-looking-out-at-mountains 6 romantic getaway packages to enjoy with your partner this winter trip travel Things to Do specials Romantic romance road trip package overnight stay offerings inns inn hotels hotel packages getaway escape driving discount boutique hotel
© New Africa / stock.adobe.com

Believe it or not, 2019 is less than two weeks away from being over, leading us to come to terms with the fact that we are about to start an entirely new decade, let alone a new year. In addition to brainstorming those New Year’s resolutions from now until Jan. 1, it’s also a good idea to start thinking about the numerous ways to show the person you love your appreciation.

Lucky for you, there are several local hotels and boutique inns offering specialized packages throughout the winter months, making it easy to plan a short escape full of romance for you and your partner to enjoy. From the wine country of Virginia to the waterside views of the Baltimore Inner Harbor, here’s where to cozy up by a fire with your love.

For more travel inspiration, subscribe to our biweekly e-newsletter. 

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
Remember Romance Package, through March 31, 2020
Find relaxation, as well as adventure with a one-night stay at Gaylord National this winter. You and your beloved can stay warm by the indoor fire pit, or step outside to explore the waterfront activities taking place all winter long. With this special offer, you two will receive breakfast at American eatery Pienza and a $50 resort credit to be used at the spa or for a special sweet treat. // 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Maryland; $220-$500

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant
Romance Getaway, select dates available
Embrace the ultimate romantic experience in historic Middleburg thanks to the Goodstone Inn & Restaurant. As soon as the car pulls up to the grounds, you and your partner will feel as if you were whisked away to the countryside of France, as a bottle of local wine and a gourmet culinary treat welcome you in the French-inspired room. Throughout the weekend, you’ll receive farm-country breakfast each day, as well as a special, three-course dinner for two in the Bistro at Goodstone on one of the evenings. // 26305 Snake Hill Road, Middleburg; $857-$983 

L’Auberge Provencale
Evening of Romance Package, select dates available
Known as an idyllic wedding venue with an award-winning dining experience, it’s hard to not feel the love on the grounds of French-inspired L’Auberge Provencale, located in the heart of Virginia wine country, less than an hour away from Northern Virginia. With the Evening of Romance package, the hotel staff makes it easy to have a romantic getaway. Following a delicious meal in the dining room, you and your paramour will return to your suite to find chocolate-covered strawberries, a bottle of Champagne, scattered rose petals candles and more, creating the perfect setting for an anniversary, proposal or birthday. // 13630 Lord Fairfax Highway, White Post; $185 plus cost of the room

Sagamore Pendry Baltimore
Fell in Love Package, select dates available
This winter, get warm and cozy in a waterside room at Baltimore’s Sagamore Pendry located in the charming and happening Fell’s Point neighborhood of the city. Upon arrival, you and your significant other will be met with a bottle of Champagne, a dozen red roses and a $60 breakfast credit to be used for room service or at Rec Pier Chop House located downstairs. Plus, if you want the special treatment, book a stay within one of the hotel’s suites and receive a $100 spa credit. // 1715 Thames St., Baltimore, Maryland; prices vary

Berkeley Hotel
Berkeley’s Sweetheart Package, through Dec. 31
This December, take a drive down south to Richmond for a lovely evening at the Berkeley Hotel. Whether you want one last moment of alone time prior to the holidays or are seeking an evening for two after it’s all over, this package will leave you relaxed and refreshed. Available through Dec. 31, you and your partner will be treated to free valet parking and homemade chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival. Then once you head to your room, a bottle of Cava Champagne, a seasonal floral arrangement and a $75 voucher to a romantic dinner at the Cobblestone Bar & Grill will be waiting for you. // 1200 E. Cary St., Richmond; $259-$360

Oakhurst Inn
Romance Package, select dates available
See what Charlottesville has to offer with this romance package from Oakhurst Inn. Located in a historic, residential neighborhood just minutes away from the heart of the city, this boutique inn is perfect for a one-night escape from reality. You’ll be treated to all-things Virginia with a complimentary bottle of Virginia red wine, locally made chocolates and free valet service. In addition, the staff of Oakhurst are available to create a personalized itinerary for you, featuring a guided vineyard tour or a chocolate-making class in the bustling town. The choice is yours. // 122 Oakhurst Circle, Charlottesville, Virginia; $149 plus room and tax  

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Scary movie road trip: 5 film sites to visit this October

Westlake Legal Group haunted-forest Scary movie road trip: 5 film sites to visit this October travel Things to Do spooky season scary movie road trip Movies horror film halloween film fall things to do fall driving
© andreiuc88 / stock.adobe.com

On most days, being scared is not a feeling people typically enjoy. Yet throughout the month of October, thrill-seekers go from haunted house to open cornfield to abandoned mansion in an effort to be frightened. Plus, streaming networks like Netflix and Hulu push viewers to scare themselves through film by advertising the vast variety of horror movies all month long.

This year, daredevils can go even further by stepping away from the screen and taking a drive to where some of their favorite horror movies were filmed, all less than five hours away from Northern Virginia.   

For more road trip ideas, subscribe to our Travel newsletter.

The Mothman Prophecies
Set in Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Starring famed-actors Richard Gere, Laura Linnley and Debra Messing, The Mothman Prophecies takes viewers on a journey of The Washington Post journalist John Klein’s mission to uncover the mysteries of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The film, which focuses on appearances of two red eyes attached to wings known as the Mothman, is based on true events that occurred in Point Pleasant during 1966 and 1967. While mostly shot in Pittsburgh, Point Pleasant is where thrill seekers should drive to, as the legend still haunts real-life stopping points in the area. Plus, be sure to stop by the local Mothman Museum,  detailing the urban legend. 

The Blair Witch Project
Burkittsville and Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland
While released in 1999, the Blair Witch Project is a horror film that has continued to accumulate attention for decades. The plot follows student filmmakers who venture into the woods of Maryland in search of the fabled Blair Witch, who allegedly haunted the small town for centuries. Though the story is not true, the small town of Burkittsville appears eerie in its quaintness with a population of 200 people, cemeteries and farmlands, and has since been a stopping point for horror film lovers since the Blair Witch Project’s release. 

House of Good and Evil
Floyd County, Virginia
Six years ago, House of Good and Evil was filmed in Floyd County, Virginia, telling the story of two couples of similar circumstances who live in a shared duplex in a rural town. When newcomers Chris and Maggie Conley arrive in the town in an attempt to save their marriage, the strange coincidence of similarities with their neighbors continues to come up, eventually causing trouble for both couples. One weekend this October, take time to travel south to see the eerie, shared home for yourself. 

The Silence of the Lambs
Pittsburgh and Perryopolis, Pennsylvania
If you’re a fan of films in the thriller genre, chances are you’ve seen The Silence of the Lambs at least once. The 28-year-old movie features Jodie Foster as an FBI trainee who is tasked with questioning Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the fictional sociopath who has entranced movie lovers, readers and scientists alike for years. The majority of the movie takes place in neighboring, small towns of Pittsburgh, that are easily accessible via car. Be sure to drive by Layton, Pennsylvania to see the 1910 Victorian mansion that was portrayed as serial killer Buffalo Bill’s home in the film. While the home eventually sold in 2016, according to The New York Times, the couple who owned it had a very hard time shaking the haunted image away from the site.

The Wrong Turn
Set in the woods of West Virginia
While this 2003 original was filmed in Ontario, Canada, the entire plot takes place in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, telling the tale of a group of young people who have car trouble and find themselves stuck in the middle of the woods. In an effort to get help, the group unknowingly enters a building home to cannibalistic mountain men and is forced to fight back for survival. The plot line continued with another five films all set in West Virginia and now 16 years later, the franchise creator Alan McElroy is making a reboot. Before it debuts next year, visit the rural mountains and try to find the mainstay cannibal known as Three Finger for yourself.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com