Road Trip Down Interstate 95

Each year my husband and I go down to Florida to visit our family and friends…most of the time we fly. Two years ago we drove down but got caught in the historic blizzard that hit the east coast. We swore we would never drive again. Never say never.

Since it has been such a mild winter this year, we decided to try driving one more time. So many of you enjoyed our trip to Europe last fall, that I decided to take you along on our road trip down Interstate 95 from New Hampshire to Florida and back again. Please don’t click off this post thinking that this trip will be about cruising the concrete highway, pulling off for gas, eating fast food and sleeping at Motel 6.

If that is the way you like to travel and many people do, then the trip doesn’t take as long.    But I like to travel a little slower, eat a little better and spend the night somewhere that I can unwind, have a glass of wine and savor a nice meal.

Our first stop on this road trip is historic Alexandria, Virginia which is just on the other side of the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The charming old town has brick sidewalks lined with 18th and 19th century homes, chic boutiques and fun shops, historic pubs and lots of restaurants.

One of the main streets in the old town is King Street, which runs from the historic Potomac waterfront 1 1/2 miles to the King Street Metro Station. I thought this was the perfect place to stay because from the metro station, you can ride to all the D.C. landmarks across the river.

Lorien Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia

Our hotel was the Lorien (a Kimpton hotel), a new red brick building that fits in perfectly on the street. Walk through an opening and you enter a quiet courtyard with a pretty pedestal clock.

Overlooking The Courtyard

We took a stroll down King Street doing a little window shopping before heading back to the hotel for the free wine reception. If your feet are tired from sightseeing all day, you can also ride a free trolley that runs the entire length of King Street.

Dinner was at the hotel. We made a reservation at Brabo but there is a second choice, called the Tasting Room. The food was delicious. We had their signature mussels, lobster risotto and a veal chop.

Brabo's Signature Mussels

Lobster Risotto

Veal Chop

We had gotten up very early (4:30 am) for our first day on the road. A good soak in the claw foot tub or the huge rain shower and a soft bed was a priority.

A Long Soak In A Warm Bath

A Soft Bed At The End Of The Day

I like to share travel tips when I can and this is a perfect time to give you one that I consider very important. Join the frequent traveller programs of every hotel that you can think of. It is free and there are many benefits. It could be a reduced rate or upgraded room, perhaps free wi-fi or a drink coupon.

What a great first day and a wonderful town that we will be returning to again. Would we stay at the Lorien again, absolutely. A friendly staff, a beautiful contemporary room and great food.

I hope you will enjoy our ride as we continue our road trip down Interstate 95. Our next stop, Charleston, South Carolina.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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85 Responses to Road Trip Down Interstate 95

  1. Sue says:

    I also have to recommend the AARP for travel as well. Most hotels discount on average 15-20% off the standard room rate. Hubby and I are on the road for an average of 60-70 days a year, so this saves us a LOT of money.
    My neighbor joked one time that I spend too much on hotels…….that there were MUCH cheaper ones available. Personally, why would I spend money on travel and stay someplace that wasn’t AT LEAST as nice as home.
    Glad to see “we’re” on another trip. Love your adventures!

    • Karen says:

      You are right Sue…It has to be as good as home or I’m not happy. I’ll save money some other way but give me a nice place to stay. AARP and AAA are terrific for a very good discount on hotels. I glad that you are happy that “we’re” on another trip. It can’t compare to Europe but the trip will still be nice. I’m always on the lookout for places to take my friends.

  2. Mad Dog says:

    I’ve driven from Atlanta all the way to South Beach and that’s a long drive. I imagine it might take you 3 – 4 days, depending how far down you go…
    I ate aligator in one of the Florida hotels and it was very good ;-)

  3. What a gorgeous place and mussels!

  4. LOVE Alexandria! The food and hotel looks great. My grandparents lived in Florida when I growing up, so we used to drive to Florida all of the time. Love the way you are traveling vs. the way we did. Safe Travels!

    • Karen says:

      Alexandria is great. Sorry I wasn’t able to get any photos of old town on this trip to share. Believe me, I know what you mean about the drive to Florida. The first time I made the trip it wasn’t the way I travel now. Men seem to like to travel as far as they can without stopping…not anymore.

  5. CorkAndSpoon says:

    So happy you got to spend sometime in our neck of the woods! Alexandria has some amazing food and sites. Hope you got to visit us while the weather was warm :)

    ~Emilie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Emile, I love your neck of the woods. Alexandria is definitely a town that I want to visit again…hopefully on the way back if the weather is good. It was warm for this time of the year…50 in the day and 32 at night. We walked by so many restaurants that I would love to visit. Springtime must be the best for sightseeing.

  6. k.m. says:

    Alexandria is such a pretty city! I hope you enjoyed your stay. Did you end up visiting any of the museums across the river?

    • Karen says:

      Hi K.M., Thank you for stopping by for a visit. We really enjoyed Alexandria and will be going back for sure. We got in too late to visit any museums on the other side of the river but that just means that we have to return and hopefully soon. I can’t say enough nice things about Alexandria.

  7. I wish my trip down I-57 was as fun and delicious!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chunklet, Thank you for your comment. You really have to do some research when traveling the interstate highways. There are some places that I would not like to stop but maybe just a short distance off an exit is a little treasure. Alexandria is one such treasure and is loaded with restaurants serving delicious food.

  8. Mary says:

    What a pleasant first night out. You had all the amenities of home and then some. Alexandria is a lovely little city. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, Thank you for you nice comment. Alexandria was the perfect first night stop on our road trip. The hotel had such wonderful amenities and everyone treated us so wonderfully. I can’t wait to go back to charming Alexandria for a longer stay. Have a lovely weekend.

  9. Bonnie says:

    Karen, What a great post. My daughter lives in Alexandria and it is a beautiful town. Will have to try Brabo when we go visit.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie, Thank you for your very nice compliment. You are right, Alexandria is a beautiful town…it must really be lovely in spring when everything is in bloom. I think you will enjoy Brabo…we really had a nice meal.

  10. I love Old Town Alexandria. We used to live in Georgetown and going across the river to Alexandria was so much fun and some great food. The best she crab soup I have ever had – too bad I don’t remember the restaurant but it was right on King Street I suppose. Can’t wait to hear where you go to eat in Charleston – there are so many great restaurants. You will have to wave at me when you pass route 64 (to Raleigh) tomorrow!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Becki, I just loved Old Town Alexandria as well. It is the perfect spot to stay if visiting Washington D.C. too because of the metro. Georgetown is lovely…the whole area has to much to offer with all of the history.

  11. I’m going to love this trip, Karen. Thank you for bringing me along. I’ve never been to Virginia, but yes to Charleston…only once, and I’d love to return! I can’t wait! And yes, I, too, like to travel a little slower and savor the experience! Debra

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, Thank you for the nice comment. I’m happy to hear that you are going to enjoy traveling with us. Virginia’s rolling countryside is really pretty…spring must be beautiful. As they say, stop and smell the roses. No roses this time of the year but taking our time and enjoying a few towns along the way is fun.

  12. I love that there are so many quiet and beautiful corners of the world. Thank you for bringing us along! Also, thank you for the travel tip, I was thinking that there has to be a better way!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Smidge, Thank you for your nice comment. I would travel every day if I could, exploring all the charming and interesting places our world has to offer. Do make sure to join the hotel loyalty clubs. The reward might be as simple as a wonderful feather pillow or a high floor to enjoy the view but it is well worth the time it takes to join.

  13. Alexandria is very beautiful.

  14. Looks like an interessting place to visit! I like those red brick buildings, they give a certain flair to the place. I am not much for oyesters but the veal chop looks very tempting.
    Maybe one day I ll have the chance to travel more around in the world. well I hope so.. and I am keeping this in mind. thank u very much for sharing Karen! =)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Helene, Thank you for your nice comment. There are so many interesting places to visit…so many that I will never get a chance to see. At least we can do it through each others blogs.

  15. Now that´s the way to travel – on the few occasions we have driven to the UK we have taken the fast and furious route…next time I think I´d like to do it at this pace and stay somewhere nice. Lovely looking hotel!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya, Thank you for your comment. Isn’t it funny that when we cook, we all mention that slow cooking brings out flavor. When we travel, it’s all about getting there as fast as we can. When possible, I like to travel at a slower pace. The hotel was lovely. I usually choose traditional over contemporary and this one was a nice mix of the two. It had a nice comfortable feel which I loved.

  16. I’m so going to enjoy this trip…the last time I drove from Florida to New England was when we moved up here…in the company of 3 kids (Ages 4, 6, and 9) 2 dogs…and a pet duck.
    Needless to say, we did not drive slowly, or stay in nice hotels… :)

    • Karen says:

      Oh Marie, I had to laugh at the thought of that trip…with a pet duck, no less. No, I’m sure you were hoping to get there as soon as possible. I hope you will enjoy our trip.

  17. ChgoJohn says:

    I’ve only driven to Florida once. The way South was a rush and not a fun way to travel. The return trip was much like yours here and such a better experience! If one has the luxury of Time, the journey can be every bit as pleasurable as the actual vacation. Safe travels, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, Thank you for your comment. My thinking is to make the miles go by as pleasantly as possible. Interstate 95 is not known for its beauty so veering off a little along the way should make for a nicer trip. I’m hoping each day of the drive will be a mini vacation. Flying is the way to go when short on time but is becoming such a hassle that we thought we would give driving another try.

  18. lulu says:

    I’m crazy about Alexandria, mussels and lobster risotto so you’re right on target. Somewhere along the line in my musings there is a yum recipe for the risotto. I bet you could take it and make it into your own wonderful recipe. Travel well and safely.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lulu, Glad to hear that you enjoyed everything about our first stop. You are right, I should do another risotto recipe…they are delicious just not very yum worthy when trying to get a good photograph.

      • lulu says:

        You are right about lobster risotto not photographing well as I have found out more than once.

      • Karen says:

        I haven’t posted several of my favorite recipes because I just can’t make them look yummy when I photograph them. I guess if we had professional equipment it might be different. Someday…maybe I get a good shot.

  19. We said the same thing about driving when it took us 14 hours to get to Chicago (normally a 9 hour trip). The weather has everything to do with it. I hope you have a safe journey and I look forward to taking the trip with you, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eva, Thank you for your comment. When you hit bad weather while traveling, it certainly can create problems. We had to sit out the storm two years ago in Richmond, Va. for 4 days and then it took us hours of driving on horrible roads to make our next stop. Hopefully, we will be blessed with good weather this trip.

  20. Looks like a great trip! The hotel looks fabulous. That tub. Oh my! And the food, fantastic.

  21. Thanks for taking us on your trip. Can I have some extra hearty bread to go with the mussels? BAM

  22. Sissi says:

    You are lucky with the mild Winter! We are having the coldest Winter for 30 years here and I think I’m lucky to live in the city centre. A trip longer than 5 minutes to go for grocery shopping is a nightmare.
    I love the way you travel! If you ever need company, I’m in ;-) The hotel food and comfort look fantastic! I am very impatient to see the rest of your trip and feel I will be greatly enjoying your travel posts!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sissi, My husband and I have been reading about the horribly cold weather that Europe is having. Please stay warm. I do try to have a nice place to stay at night. It makes the long days on the road OK. I’m glad that you are looking forward to the trip.

  23. Charleston is a beautiful city — I’m sure you will enjoy it.

  24. Kristen says:

    You are my kind of traveler. The food you shared looks just amazing. Real life, however, with 5 children in tow, means that my traveling is much less exciting. I have to get vicarious enjoyment through posts like this one.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristen, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. Our first night out was amazing. Someday the children will be grown and you will be doing this kind of traveling.

  25. CorkAndSpoon says:

    OMG! Charleston!!!! Amaaaaaaaazing food. Poogan’s Porch on Queen Street is a must. Their mac and cheese is to die for! Oooo, Lavender Martini’s at Cyrpess (food is delicious, too). Jestine’s if you want some down home goodies for a bargain….Jasmine’s Porch is supposed to be good with the best wine list in the area, but I never got out there to try it….Oh, you’re going to have so much fun! ~Ruth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, Thank you for your nice comment and suggestions. Sounds like Charleston is a favorite of yours. Next time I plan a trip, I’ll ask my readers for their favorite places.

  26. ....RaeDi says:

    Cannot wait to see where you stay in Charleton, I lived there for over four years and was sad to move on! What a lovely trip, Alexandria is a beautiful city too! Years ago we made several trips up and down the east coast from New England back to our beloved Charleston. Beautiful drive if you take the time!

    • Karen says:

      Hi RaeDi, Thank you for stopping by and your comment. Charleston is such a lovely town…beautiful and wonderful people. This is going to be a nice trip down south and back. Thank you for following along.

  27. That hotel looks so clean and wonderful. I would’ve soaked in that tub too!

  28. Charles says:

    “cruising the concrete highway, pulling off for gas, eating fast food and sleeping at Motel 6″

    Haha, I had to laugh here :D

    I love the look of that bath-tub and the bedroom. My bath-tub in my apartment is a bit too small for me so whenever I’m in a hotel or at my parents’ place I’m always so happy to be able to stretch out and relax in the tub :D

  29. Laura says:

    What a pretty hotel – and an awesome looking veal chop! Can’t wait to read about your time in Charleston. I spent a few weeks exploring the area a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. There are tons of amazing photo ops there too! Have fun.

  30. Karen I love your journeys, they take me to places I’ve never seem, and possibly will never visit, but they give me a view and an idea of how the world looks. So thank you. I’m looking forward to the next installments, particularly Florida, as I visited there in the early 80s and have fond memories.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claire, I am glad to hear that you enjoy the journeys that I take you on. We always return to Florida to visit family and friends. It will be warm but I’m not sure how much sun we will have.

  31. I-95 is a super busy interstate and I understand why you say never again. However, Alexander looks like a fabulous place to stop. We love mussels and my husband always shells them for me. I’m not much on “messy” food (smile). Isn’t it nice that the restaurant did that? You hardly ever see them out of their shells.

    Speaking of I-95, when we moved back from the islands, neither of us had driven a car in ten years – only a golf cart down a coral path that would it’s way around our cay. Plus the Bahamians drive on the left side. So you can imagine we weren’t prepared for driving on I-95 when we moved just north of Palm Beach, Florida. I swear the interstate looked like the Daytona 500 for the first couple of months.

    I look for ward to the next leg of your trip. You know how to travel the right way – stop and enjoy the sites along the way. Wish my husband wasn’t in such a hurry to get to our destination. Think I’ll show him your post for encouragement. Have a great weekend.

    Sam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sam, I really enjoyed your comment. Driving on I-95 in Florida does remind me of participanting in a race. At other times, like sitting in a large parking lot. My husband used to try to go as far as he could, as fast as he could but adding a couple of days to the trip makes traveling more pleasant.

  32. Beth says:

    You make me want to drive south, just for what we’d see on the way!

  33. Ah, another fun trip. Road trips are my favorite of all trips…where one can poke about, stopping here and there just because you can. Have a great time and I look forward to your next stop.

  34. Fun reading about your Trip! Seems like you having fun but we enjoying it reading it too! Your hotel looks really nice. I too try hard to get the upgrades. Enjoy yourself! Keep posting!

  35. Lea Ann says:

    I need to spend more time on the East coast. So much history to soak in. That hotel looks wonderful.

  36. Love this, what a fun trip it sounds like you’re having! You will go crazy in Charleston! Very fun place to spend a few days!

  37. Looks beautiful, cozy, peaceful, and *delicious*. What a fabulous first day of the trip. May all the following travel days be joyful! I hope things are settling in well for your mother, Karen. I’ve been thinking about her and you a lot as I’m phoning back and forth with my own recently-relocated (very near two of my sisters) parents and awaiting Mom’s back surgeries later in the month.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathryn, Thank you so much for your kind words and wishes. I talk to mother every day and she is doing well. We are both waiting for space to become available by our home. She is having therapy three times a week and is feeling stronger and in good spirits. When we return from visiting our family in Florida, I’m hoping that space may have opened up for her. I hope everything goes well for you and your parents. This trip is a perfect break for me and so far has been wonderful.

  38. Caroline says:

    Looks like you had a fabulous time, and ate some delicious food Karen!! I’ve yet to make it to Charleston–we have a place in Greer, but it’s probably a 3+ hour drive to Charleston. Love South Carolina though. If I ever do make it there, I’m definitely taking your restaurant suggestions!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Caroline, We have been having a wonderful time on our trip so far. Alexandria and Charleston are wonderful towns to visit. Both have so much history, good hotels and great restaurants. I do hope that you will get the chance to visit Charleston.

  39. Joanne says:

    I’ve heard really good things about Charleston and definitely want to visit someday!

  40. cabinet stew says:

    Oh I am so glad too that “we’re on another trip!”
    I love the tips and tour of Alexandria!

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  42. madrilicious says:

    What a pretty place for a holiday, the food looks delicious! http://madrilicious.com

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  44. Carolyn Chan says:

    Karen, thanks for sharing your trip with us. I feel like I’ve been on vacation with you just reading your posts.

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