The trio of seasoned tour guides understands that being a guide is more than just being able to carry a microphone and CDL driver’s license with style. Being a guide is a great responsibility; it means safeguarding history and passing its great secrets and wisdoms on to others. Whether visiting DC’s iconic structures and memorials in the daylight or evening, they passionately share the stories of the individuals, ideals, and food-based dares that shaped the United States into what it is today. Fueled by the realization that planning a trip to the nation’s capital may be a once in a lifetime experience for some people, they put extra effort into ensuring that experience is as memorable as possible, leading all of their tours in a luxurious 2012 Mercedes bus.
Bob Wollam's life is in full bloom. Since 1989, the gardener has surrounded himself with 11 acres of fresh flowers, more than 80 varieties of trees, shrubs, and perennials, and a volunteer army of green-thumbed interns. And the plants aren't the only beauty to fill the grounds. A federal house dating back to 1819 features antique furnishings and was fully restored over Bob's first ten years on the farm. Guests are welcome to spend the night, and get full old-fashioned experience with fresh-baked goods from Bob's sister Karen, who lives next door, and eggs or career advice from the farm's chickens.
Though some of Virginia Wine Tours’ staffers swear by Argentinean Malbecs and others favor New Zealand Rieslings, one thing’s certain: they’re all passionate about Northern Virginian wines. These aficionados conduct tours through a sweeping array of vineyards across the region, including the intimate Bluemont Vineyard in Loudon County, the sprawling Gray Ghost Vineyard in Rappahannock County, and the mountainside Naked Mountain Winery in Fauquier County. During these full- and half-day trips, they enlighten groups with local area viniculture facts and anecdotes, as well as encourage them to mix and mingle amongst their fellow wine enthusiasts. Virginia Wine Tours provides tour groups with transportation to and from wineries, sparing customers the inconvenience of having to worry about parking their cars or mastering the art of vehicle levitation.
Leave it to a DC bus company to build its service upon democratic principles: DC2NY lets its riders vote on issues such as whether or not to make rest stops or watch movies. This novel approach to customer service was developed by a senior management team with decades of experience in the hospitality industry, and it is no doubt part of the reason for a seemingly endless list of customer compliments. Riders also tend to be fans of the modern fleet of buses, which are equipped with free WiFi and bottled water, well-kept bathrooms, and electrical outlets in every other row.
Most of the roundtrip voyages take place between DC or Virginia and New York City, with convenient pickup locations at Dupont Circle and Union Station in DC, Penn Station in New York, and two Virginia-area Metro stations. Weekend trips often have express service with no additional pickups, and the summer season brings routes headed toward Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches in Delaware. For regular commuters, DC2NY offers a membership program, which grants special pricing, rewards points redeemable for tickets, and the privilege of declaring yourself mayor of your seat.
In 2001, husband-and-wife team Todd and Anne realized two of their biggest dreams: they started a family and opened The Bike Lane. Throughout the store, bikes by Trek, Electra, Felt, Mirraco, and Surly lean on their kickstands alongside accessories such as water bottles, bells, or high-heeled spokes for date night. Certified staffers leap down from their stationary penny-farthings to perfectly match riders with new bikes through fit services that are free with purchase of a triathlon/TT, road, or mountain bike. In the repair shop, mechanics with 40 years of combined experience service bikes, overhauling brakes, installing parts, or custom-fitting wheels. To stay connected with its network of riders, The Bike Lane organizes educational safety events, advocates for bicycle-friendly communities, and sponsors more than 50 cycling events per year.