The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, running 2,180 miles over mountains, rocky slopes, and deep valleys. Since it was established in 1925, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has cared for the trail, maintaining 250,000 acres of public land. The organization educates hikers on Leave No Trace camping and why it's not a good idea to challenge a bear to a hugging contest.
Volunteers and trail crews build and repair shelters along the footpath and engage youth and community members in outdoor activities. In addition to these human-oriented services, the ATC works to protect endangered species living along the trail and to preserve the land's watershed streams and migratory corridor.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley includes 6 acres of lush gardens and a purpose-built museum facility designed by architect Michael Graves. Visitors can marvel at the exterior of the Glen Burnie Historic House as they explore the unique design and languid paths of the public gardens, which knit together the stately Grand Allée, the mini Hidden Garden, and a tranquil water garden that flooded the original garden of old chia pets. The museum showcases four main galleries, displaying Valley memorabilia, a Civil War exhibition, and a collections of miniature houses and rooms, paintings, furniture, and portraiture dating to the mid-eighteenth century to the formerly private collection of benefactor Julian Wood Glass Jr.
A group of former preschool teachers banded together to create Explore & More Hands-On Children's Museum, a space designed to engage visitors—specifically, those between the ages of 2 and 8—with educational play. Located in a vintage 1860s house, the museum consists of seven themed rooms. Guests can glimpse into the past by entering the 1860s room, which houses a historical general store, or learn about hermit crabs, frogs, and other creatures in the nature area. Children experience the power of magnets first-hand in the exploration room, where they can also stand inside a giant soap bubble.
The paranormal investigators and tour guides of After Dark Investigations specialize in small-group tours that provide customers with hands-on experience and equipment. Ghost tourists utilize EMF detectors, dowsing rods, and infrared-video cameras to capture any potential appearance of apparitions. The tours stretch to locations such as cemeteries or abandoned amusement parks near the location of the Battle of Gettysburg.
With an interest in fine art and a dream of owning his own business, Rick Turner felt like he didn’t quite belong at his job with the federal government. So, in 1973, Rick left his office gig behind and took a risk by opening his own shop. Settling into a quaint historic building, Rick enlisted his sister Lorraine to work in the shop. When the two started feeding large frame mouldings through a back window, they realized they needed a bigger space.
Today, at Turner Framing locations in Sterling and Seneca Square, the certified picture framers preserve children's artwork, needlepoint pieces, photographs, diplomas, and hole-in-one golf balls with museum-quality materials similar to those used in protecting King Tut's vacation photos.
Each year, a great wildebeest migration takes place in East Africa's vast plains, as millions of ungulates trek more than 600 miles in search of fresh grass. Thomson's gazelles, zebras, and other prey animals join with the wildebeests en masse, and predatory lions, hyenas, and jackals follow the herd as a promising food supply. Safari Ventures, named one of the World's Best Adventure Travel Companies by National Geographic in 2009, sends tour groups in four-by-four vehicles on a circular trek across the Serengeti plains in search of migrating wildebeests and other big game. The itinerary includes the following and is available on select dates:Days 1–2: Flights on Ethiopian Airlines depart from Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) and arrive at Tanzania's Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) the next day (after a stopover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). Upon arrival, visitors are transferred to the nearby Kia Lodge for an overnight stay. Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa at more than 19,000 feet, is visible in the distance on a clear day. Days 3–4: After breakfast, tour groups head to Lake Manyara National Park for the first of many game drives. There, zebras and buffalo rove the plains, and more than 400 bird species fly above. Blue monkeys, bushbucks, mongooses, and flamingos also comprise the area's native population. Visitors retreat for the night to Migunga Tented Camp. Days 5–7: After breakfast, tour groups enter Serengeti National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site they'll explore for the next three days. On the way to Serengeti, the caravan stops at a Masai village to learn about the local tribe's culture and heritage. Most of the time in the park is spent on game drives, searching for the wildebeest, elephants, giraffes, lions, and jackals. Guests stay overnight in Ikoma Tented Camp.Days 8–9: After a breakfast and one last morning game drive in Serengeti National Park, the safari heads toward the Ngorongoro Crater. Along the way, the tour makes a pit stop in Olduvai Gorge, an archaeological site where paleontologists discovered fossils that date back nearly two million years. Within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, safari drivers seek out the big four animals: lions, elephants, leopards, and rhinoceros. Nightly accommodations are at Crater Forest Lodge. Days 10–11: On the final leg of the safari, the caravan makes the return trip, passing through the town of Mto wa Mbu. Here, safari-goers can stretch their legs and browse local markets. Later that evening, guests take a homeward-bound flight on Ethiopian Airlines from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). View the FAQ page for more information. Pre-trip excursions to Mount Kilimanjaro and the beaches of Zanzibar are also available for an additional fee.