This past week, we flew to the East Coast to embark on a road trip of the five Middle Atlantic States – New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland – and Washington, DC. The trip was action-packed with stops at historical sites, museums, and scenic areas. We had a blast, but we became very tired from all the travel by the end of the trip.
The Mid-Atlantic states are small and relatively close together, making travel between them quick and easy. Our longest driving trips only took two to three hours each. Overall, the Middle Atlantic is a diverse region filled with varying landscapes, from mountains and hill-side harbors to interesting urban areas and historic memorials. The states really provide a taste of everything the East Coast has to offer in an easy-to-travel area.
The Mid-Atlantic states are also rich in history. Pennsylvania, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. all have little hidden buildings and gems from the Colonial and Antebellum eras. The historic sites of Philadelphia alone provided us with a great taste of the some of the most iconic sites associated with the founding of the United States. Plus, Philadelphia had some great historic markers celebrating the city’s fascinating LGBTQ history. Gettysburg gave us our fill of Civil War history, while the Smithsonian history museums we visited immersed us in the history of two major marginalized populations in our country.
In this post, we will give a general overview of our trip and follow up in the coming weeks with dedicated blog posts with our thoughts and tips on visiting Fire island Pines, NY; Gettysburg and York, PA; Baltimore, MD and the Chesapeake Bay; Washington, D.C.; and Philadelphia, PA.
Flying into Philadelphia on Saturday, we drove straight to a campground in the Poconos Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania, where we camped with our good friend Dee. We took the Pennsylvania Turnpike north and once we drove through the Lehigh Tunnel, the beautiful rolling hills and slopes of the Poconos appeared before us. There were several beautiful little towns dotting the hills. We had a nice night under the stars with Dee and his friends. The following day, we drove back to Dee’s house in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and had a relaxing evening to prepare us for the week ahead.
On Monday, we drove three hours northeast to Fire Island Pines, a historic gay vacation spot off of Long Island, New York. The trip was long (3 hours!), but one highlight was crossing the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City. The massive suspension bridge took us high into the air and gave us a nice view of the New York skyline. We hope to take a dedicated trip to New York City in the future to experience all the city has to offer.
We continued on to Sayville, New York, where we caught a ferry to the Fire Island Pines. We had a beautiful day on the beach before catching a ferry back to the mainland. We then drove back to Dee’s house in Bethlehem to spend the night.
Beginning on Tuesday, we began the major sightseeing part of our trip. We drove over to south-central Pennsylvania to briefly visit York, where Bear used to live, before heading over to Gettysburg. There, we visited the Gettysburg National Military Park, which commemorates the notable Battle of Gettysburg of the Civil War. We then spent the night in Gettysburg at a surprisingly well-kept Econo Lodge.
Wednesday morning saw us traveling to Baltimore, Maryland, where we had a nice lunch in the scenic Inner Harbor and visited a fun art museum. We then traveled a little farther south to Washington, D.C. to spend two days visiting the beautiful (though very crowded) memorials and museums our nation’s capitol has to offer.
On Friday, we left D.C. and took a scenic route along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland on our way back to Philadelphia. We also made two quick stops in Delaware and New Jersey to take photos in those states. In Delaware, we stopped in Wilmington at the River Walk along the Christina River. The River Walk was a very nice and well-kept trail and gave us some great views of the river, but there was not a lot that set Wilmington apart from the rest of the beautiful cities we visited in the Middle Atlantic.
We then crossed the Delaware River over to New Jersey and stopped at the Riverview Beach Park in Pennsville Township. The Park had a gorgeous pond and provided some great views of the Delaware River and the Delaware Memorial Bridge that we had just crossed. Some of the facilities of the park were a bit outdated, but it was a great stop to take a scenic picture in the state.
On Friday evening, we arrived in Philadelphia and stayed in the historic and cozy Gayborhood neighborhood. The following day, we checked out of our hotel and visited Independence National Historic Park, the home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. We also walked through downtown Philadelphia and grabbed one last drink before heading down to the airport.
Follow our upcoming blog posts for more details about our trip to the Middle Atlantic as provide in-depth looks into the various places we visited.