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The Ultimate East Coast Family Road Trip

Fashion blogger Hallie Swanson takes a tour of the United States’ historic East Coast with her son (and a suitcase filled with Instagram-worthy outfits) in tow. “Road trips are a fantastic, fun, and interesting way to see America,” says Swanson. “Driving around allowed us to see more without the stress.” Come along for the ride!

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Boston, MA


California-based Swanson kicked off her vacation in Boston, one of America’s oldest cities. The family explored many of the historic sites by foot via the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile path that winds past 16 landmarks including Bunker Hill Monument, Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House, and the USS Constitution. “Walking the Freedom Trail gave us a reverent feeling about all the brave people who fought for liberty,” she says.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Boston


Located across the street from Boston Common, a 50-acre park that marks the start of the Freedom Trail, The Ritz-Carlton, Boston is within walking distance of many must-see sites. Saunter down the city’s charming cobblestone streets or stay put and enjoy the adjoining Equinox Sports Club or Artisan Bistro, which puts a fresh twist on local ingredients. Swanson recommends upgrading to the Club Level, which offers a light breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dessert to keep your family fueled throughout the day.

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New York, NY


There is no shortage of things to do in the City That Never Sleeps. From Broadway shows to world-class museums to towering skyscrapers, the Big Apple has it all. “Two days was barely enough to get started, but it gave Red Bear [her son’s nickname] a feel for the city’s excitement,” says Swanson. “As he summed it up, ‘New York is a city of energy and yellow taxis!’”

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The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park


Positioned in a prime location steps away from Fifth Avenue and across the street from Central Park, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is the perfect balance of class and convenience. “Our room faced directly onto Central Park from the 17th floor, so we had an amazing view,” says Swanson. “There were even two telescopes in our suite and we all enjoyed looking around the park with them.” If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, visit the La Prairie Spa or simply take a stroll through the park. “It’s so nice just to cross the noisy street and escape to a fresh, quiet paradise,” adds Swanson.

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Philadelphia, PA


“Philadelphia, in so many ways, is the birthplace of the United States as its own free country,” explains Swanson. “It’s where the Declaration of Independence was drafted and adopted in 1776; where the Continental Congress made its capital throughout most of the Revolutionary War; home of Benjamin Franklin; and so much more.” The family visited the Independence Seaport Museum, where they toured military ships and submarines, as well as The Franklin Institute. “We were blown away!” she adds.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia


Past and present meet at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia. Originally built over 100 years ago as the home of The Girard Trust Company, the hotel lobby boasts a magnificent marble rotunda. The bank’s former vault can even be used for meetings and special events. Make a reservation at Aqimero to enjoy the exquisite ambiance and delectable dishes prepared on an open-fire grill. “I felt like I had traveled back in time to the elegant days a century ago when horse-drawn carriages were still clicking on the streets outside,” says Swanson, who stayed in The Ritz-Carlton Suite, which comes complete with its own private elevator.

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Washington, D.C.


“We ended up in Washington, D.C., the seat of our national government,” says Swanson. “During our road trip, my husband and son spoke about all the historic things that happened wherever we were—it was like one long history lesson!” The family got their “feet wet” at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History before heading to the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and, of course, The White House. They rounded out their visit with a trip to Mount Vernon, the former estate of George Washington, located just a few miles away in Virginia.

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The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington D.C.


“Unlike much of the federal District of Columbia, which has mostly government buildings, the Georgetown neighborhood has walkable shopping, restaurants, homes, and Georgetown University,” explains Swanson. “It’s really a pleasant place to stroll around and The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington D.C. is conveniently located right in the heart of the most interesting part.” The hotel is also minutes from monuments, museums, and more by foot, bicycle (available to guests on the house), or the city’s Metro system. Swanson suggests taking in the sunset from the shores of the nearby Potomac River. “It’s so peaceful, relaxing, and romantic,” she says. Cap off the day and toast to a successful family road trip in The Living Room, a cozy lounge, or Degrees Bistro for artisanal dishes and hand-crafted cocktails.

Explore The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington D.C.