After a morning tour of the United States Capitol building, you find yourself parked in the middle of Washington, D.C. Your family sits behind you, in the spacious backseat of your 2014 Chevrolet Volt, and the GPS waits for instruction. With the whole day ahead of you, there's only one question you need to answer: where to next?
It’s a tough question, but only because the Volt’s incredible range means your options are nearly endless. On a single charge of its revolutionary lithium ion battery, the Volt can travel an EPA-estimated 38 miles,* putting the entire Chesapeake region at your fingertips for mere dollars.** And because the Volt doesn't switch over to gas power until its battery is fully exhausted, you can have a fabulous afternoon without burning an ounce of fuel before you have to recharge and refuel for your trip home. So, what fun can you have within 38 miles?
Head north on MD-295, and you’re just 45 minutes away from the National Aquarium in Baltimore. This jewel of the Baltimore Inner Harbor is home to more than 16,000 animals, including the lovely-but-lethal blue poison dart frog, whose lush turquoise skin warns would-be predators to look for lunch elsewhere. Just as beautiful, but far less deadly, is the Rainbow Lorikeet, whose feathers contain all the colors of a tropical sunset. Found in the award-winning Wild Extremes exhibit, you’ll see for yourself that lorikeet love nectar, and will sometimes drink the sweet concoction until they are too dizzy to fly.
Just 31 miles east from the capital on US-50 is the United States Naval Academy, in Annapolis, where the nation's best and brightest prepare for careers at sea. Students, called midshipmen, must be recommended by a government official before being admitted, but visitors can wander the school's beautiful grounds for free, before heading into town for dinner beside the city's stunning historic harbor. More than 300 years since its founding, the town known as America's Sailing Capital remains a pristine example of colonial charm.
Turn the Volt south on I-395 if your visit to D.C. has whetted your interest in the living symbol of American patriotism: the bald eagle. In 1969, when local resident Elizabeth Hartwell led the charge to establish the Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the banks of the Potomac River, there were fewer than 500 nesting bald eagle pairs in the Continental United States. Today, as a result of efforts like this sprawling state park, the eagle's population has rebounded powerfully enough so that it is no longer on the endangered species list. Also home to Northern Virginia's largest freshwater marsh, this spectacular landscape offers stunning views, and an irresistible escape from the city.
The family history buff will want to head west on I-66, to Virginia's Manassas National Battlefield Park, scene of the first great battle of the Civil War. Far more than a dry history lesson, Manassas is a 5,000-acre classroom, where visitors learn not just about the first and second battles of the conflict also known as Bull Run, but about the whole of the war. It would take the Union Army four more years to reach Richmond, but you're less than two hours away—easily within reach, as your Chevrolet Volt switches seamlessly over to gas power. Even after 38 miles have come and gone, the adventure never has to end in the 2014 Chevrolet Volt.
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*38-mile initial range based on EPA-estimated 98 MPGe (electric). Actual range varies with conditions.
**Electricity costs vary. Check with your provider for your rates.