Open-jaw travel: Washington Dulles to Baltimore

Simon Calder
02 March 2014

Simon Calder weaves a route through Washington DC, extending to nearby Baltimore

Many of the world's great capitals have two airports. The US seat of government has three, but only two handle international flights. British Airways' primary gateway to Washington is Dulles, soon to be served by the Airbus A380. But BA also flies from Heathrow to the smaller Baltimore-Washington International (BWI). Anyone flying to the capital for work or play can build in an extra dimension with an open-jaw itinerary.

On a perfect day, you would land at Dulles, rent a car and head away from Washington DC ten miles southwest to the Civil War battleground of Manassas. Then steer east to Alexandria, the river port that seems always to be preceded by the word ‘historic'.

Going north is also rewarding. Union Station is the starting point. Today it is a retail emporium bursting with shops and restaurants, but look closely and you can find some trains, too: huge expresses heading for New York and Chicago, plus the modest MARC commuter lines.

Take the Penn Line. If you have time, invest £4.25 and speed to Baltimore, a robust, characterful waterside city, for a pilgrimage to the B&O Railroad Museum. ‘Birthplace of American Railroading' is the claim — the first long-distance commercial railway was built here in 1829. However, if time is short, £3.60 will get you to the airport's own station in just 21 minutes.