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Established in 1734 and named in honour of William, Prince of Orange, Orange boasts some spectacular natural scenery, particularly in fall when the trees turn a vivid array of reds, giving this area its distinctive aesthetic somewhat in keeping with its name. James Madison’s Montpelier is one of the main draws of the city – once home to the fourth president of the US, who is generally regarded as the father of the American constitution. Situated in more than 2,000 acres of picturesque land, the house offers particularly spectacular unobstructed views of the Blue mountains beyond.
If you’re looking to explore the surrounding area, your hire car can help you explore other destinations in Virginia including Richmond (an hour and a quarter’s drive), the capital of the state, where Founding Father Patrick Henry famously declared “Give me liberty or give me death” at St John’s Church in 1775. The Edgar Allan Poe Museum is worth a visit, where you can view photos, documents and memorabilia from the writer’s life, as is the Science Museum of Virginia, packed with hands-on exhibits that will keep kids and adults alike amused for hours.
Fly into Orange County Airport, and from there it’s just a six-minute drive along the VA-20 to the centre of Orange.
With a hire car you can easily explore beyond Orange to destinations such as Charlottesville (a 40-minute drive) where you can visit Monticello – Thomas Jefferson’s plantation home, designed by the third president after he inherited the land from his father aged 26. Baltimore is also a three-hour drive away, where you can visit the city’s substantial zoo and aquarium, as well as the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, founded by the first African American to build and head a billion-dollar business on Wall Street.
Choose from a wide selection of hire car providers in Orange to suit every budget and requirement, from Avis and Hertz to National.
Shenandoah National Park lies just outside of Orange, extending along the Blue Ridge mountains and featuring everything from densely forested areas to wetlands, waterfalls and rocky peaks such as Old Rag and Hawksbill mountains. Aside from spectacular scenery, you may also catch sight of some of the park’s large population of wildlife including deer, birds and the infamous black bears.
Beyond Orange, your hire car can take you to Washington DC (a two-hour drive), home to the world-famous presidential White House. Packed full of important landmarks, from the United States Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial to the National Mall, there is plenty to see and do. The capital is also home to a museum on almost any topic you can think of, from natural history and space to even a spy museum, featuring hundreds of fascinating tools used for spying.
Driving in Orange, like much of America, is largely straightforward, with wide lanes and simple road layouts. Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road and you can overtake on both sides. You can also perform a U-turn at the end of most junctions – it will be marked if you are not allowed to do so. Most American cars are automatic, so remember to request a stick shift if you would prefer one.
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