Here we are after Labor Day when all the white fashion choices should be put away and I’m just getting to the post about an Easter trip when our white shoes and jeans get the official “ok” to be out in the world again without judgment. However, I like my white jeans year round, so here we go with an Easter trip to Washington DC recap in September. I hope that is ok with you. I may or may not be wearing white jeans while writing this.
Last year for Christmas my Mom and Dad gave the littles a trip to Washington DC for Christmas and they were anticipating using their new “luggages”, flying and seeing all the things. I hadn’t been to DC since 2002 or maybe 2003, so it’s been a while. The last time I was there, it was after work trip in Arlington, Virginia and my Mom met me. We toured the city in freezing cold weather and snow, but it was one for the memory books. We also really loved the warm theatre and an upgraded suite room we got at the hotel. But, I digress.
This trip we stayed in the same hotel our family stayed in when we took a trip to DC in the early 80’s, it was a great location and as most things in the US, the hotel has given into our need for more and combined their tiny hotel rooms into larger rooms by taking out the adjoining room doors and making them larger rooms. It was perfect for our crew, though. My mom, me, nephew and twin nieces with a double bed and 3 twins and two bathrooms. Amen. We were also really glad for those beds in the evening as our step counts were high. Another perk of the littles getting older, they gave us a foot massage with joy. #auntlife
We started out with early flights on Thursday morning, Auggie doggie checked in for his Easter vaca, we had a Chick Fil A airport breakfast and everyone settled on the flight.
Upon arrival, we grabbed an Uber (Mom’s first!), got to the hotel, checked into our room, dropped our bags and set off walking. First stop was for lunch, which we grabbed at & Pizza. This trip is no foodie’s delight, we were feeding kids and we had lots to see. We were expecting rain throughout the weekend, but Thursday was absolutely beautiful, so we headed towards the White House and the monuments. First stop: The White House. We didn’t do an inside tour. I’ve never done that. I know lots of people say that you should. Maybe you should. I don’t have a recommendation one way or another.
We did tour the White House museum across the street which had a lot of neat displays, facts and artifacts.
My niece and I loved looking at a diary of a typical day in the life of a President. Fascinating how they were scheduled by the minute. I wonder if our recent Presidents are paper planner people or digital planner people. I’ll always appreciate a good paper planner.
We made our way across the street to the Washington Monument, and an irresistible green grassy field to run and play. Here’s the thing: I don’t have my own kids, so I’m no parenting expert, but I know enough to know it’s worth it to take some time to run and play and laugh in the sunshine.
We left the Washington Monument, hopped the free Circulator bus around to the Lincoln Memorial. As any good girlfriend, I sent pics of myself at monuments to my history loving boyfriend. 🙂 Also, we were traveling with my nephew + nieces, they aren’t my kids to put on the WWW, so you are treated to mostly pics of me on this trip. Of course I have 100s of them and their darling faces taking in all the sites.
We walked form Lincoln Memorial to the Vietnam War Memorial, always a bit overwhelming, and had several conversations about notes and things left as tributes to those who’s names are on these walls.
My parents had a neighbor who was in the Korean War and the littles knew him, so this memorial site was special to all of us in remembrance of our friend.
After the Korean War Memorial we took a popsicle break from a stand in the mall area. A welcome treat for everyone. We sat for a few minutes to enjoy our treats and set off to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which is “new” to DC since 2011 and new to me. I love quotes and the walls around the memorial filled with quotes was one of my favorite things.
From the MLK, Jr Memorial we trekked back across the mall to the WWII Memorial. This is another one I had never seen as it opened in 2004, and it was a beautiful tribute. All states were named, so of course we found ours.
And, Virginia, where I was actually born. Lots of people think I’m 100% Texan…but as they say, I just got here as quick as I could. There were also a lot of quotes around this memorial. Perhaps I’ll do a second post of “Words of Washington DC” because I have lots of pictures of quotes within the memorials and other places in the City.
By the time we left the WWII Memorial the sun was starting to set and we walked back to our hotel and a stop at the famous been-there-forever burger joint on the corner, Ollie’s Trolley. No one complained about that dinner (or any meal for that matter) and we were all happy to see our room when we arrived back. Whew, Day 1. I think my nephews step count showed about 7 or 8 miles for the day.
Friday morning, Good Friday morning, everyone was feeling a little tenderness in the leg muscles, but we had places to be and people to see.
Namely, Representative Brady’s office interns for a tour of the Capitol. We got to see a few things in the tunnels on our way from the office, including a quick ride on the private Senate/House subway.
The Capitol was pretty busy, but we had a great tour through the rotundas and seeing the statues throughout the building. We also managed to talk our way into the Senate Gallery, even though we didn’t have passes. 🙂
Friday was a little rainy, so we took advantage of the tunnels and made our way to the Library of Congress. This reading room is one of my favorite views and something I always picture when I think about Washington DC.
I loved this portion of the library, bookcases “in the round” filled with Thomas Jefferson’s collection which is hard to capture on the iPhone camera, but panoramic gives it a good try.
Of course we stopped to see the Gutenberg Bible, fitting on Good Friday.
A fun exhibit in the Library was Baseball Americana, which housed a lot of memorabilia and photo ops as well. Pretty sure the littles enjoyed walking through this exhibit for a change of pace from the historical things.
It was getting late, and we were all getting hangry so we made our way for lunch at Union Station and hit up the Starbucks for a treat of cake pops plus coffees for the grown-ups. Thank you MeMe. While we mostly missed the cherry blossoms the tulips were everywhere and they were BEAUTIFUL!
After fueling up we hopped the Circulator bus again to the American History Museum. I spent a lot of time with my nephew walking through the “Price of Freedom” exhibit and trying our hand at working rivets at the end of the exhibit.
We also made our way to see the First Ladies dresses which was fascinating to me. I loved looking at all the fabrics, styles and notes about how they came about choosing the dresses.
We were just finishing up in the First Ladies exhibit when we were quickly ushered out because the MUSEUM CLOSES AT 5:30. We had no idea. The kind ushers didn’t say it was closing, they just told us to leave. We were all a little thrown of what was going on. So, here’s my free travel tip for you, all the museums are free, and they close at 5:30. Or maybe before. Check the times.
It was still “early” and we still had daylight, so there was time to see some more things! Back to the Mall we go! We hopped the bus to the Jefferson Memorial, which was not crowded at all and we took a bit of time to walk around. Hi to my BF from Jefferson Monument. 😉
Somewhere in between the Museum, Jefferson Monument and FDR Memorial, we stopped on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and got some more artsy pics. This was a favorite on this trip. We tried all kinds of poses and mom caught me in one of 100’s of moments taking their pics and them seeing them immediately. I love taking their pics!
By the time we were walking through the FDR Memorial the rain had picked up. I wished we could have spent more time, there are so many sections to the Memorial and so much to see. We were a little quick through here, but did manage to see a lot of it. There were also a lot of trees around which protected us form the rain.
That’s a wrap on day 2. Hotel for a quick stop, dinner and then back to the hotel and lights out quick. How’s everyone doing with the step count? Still got a couple more days in you? Also, worth noting, Auggie was living his best life:
Saturday morning we slept in a bit, and woke up to sunshine again! Hooray! We set out to Arlington National Cemetery. I had never been to see the Changing of the Guard and this was MY must-do on this trip. Even though it wasn’t about me, this was the one thing I asked we get to do. The tulips at the entrance were as big as the palm of your hand. A picture really doesn’t do them justice, but I wanted to remember them.
We did see a few cherry blossoms throughout the Cemetery.
And, we got to the Changing of the Guard in time to wait for the noon switch. The ceremonial procedure to this event is breathtaking. I don’t really know how to describe it. It was unreal. We had a front row seat and were all mesmerized as the Soldier was pacing on duty, the heel clicks to turn, the switch of his rifle, all in perfect cadence.
After the guard change was complete we got to see a couple of wreath ceremonies. When were were walking away from the area of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier we saw one of the families who had placed a wreath. I asked if they would share the story of who the wreath was honoring. The husband told me it was in memory of his friend Nathan Carse, who was killed at 32 in Afghanistan. He also shared that anyone can honor a Veteran, even those not buried there, during a ceremony, you just need to schedule it through the Cemetery.
After we left the cemetery we walked back towards a bus stop to get back to the mall area. Also, we all got a little sun on our cheeks this day. Ooops. We didn’t pack sunscreen. We enjoyed a food truck lunch on the lawn of the Washington Memorial before heading to see the Holocaust Museum. My nephew had learned about the Holocaust in 6th grade and asked to see this museum. Due to the time of arrival, we weren’t able to go through the whole museum, but we did go through a couple of exhibits including Daniel’s House which is geared for kids and I thought was a well done story exhibit.
After the Holocaust Museum we had time to get to the Natural History Museum where we saw mammals exhibit, Ocean Hall, the dinosaurs and the Hope Diamond. Also, diamonds before and after they are polished. I thought this picture was more interesting than the same photo I’m sure 99% of people take of the Hope Diamond. This makes “a diamond in the rough” come to life. Amazing. There was also a beautiful collection of peridots in the gems rooms, which is Mom’s and my birthstone.
We wrapped up Saturday at Shake Shack, which is good in any City or at an Astros game, and played a few card games while everyone got showered and ready for bed. I think the step count was showing cumulative of about 27 miles over three days!
Sunday morning was Easter and the Easter Bunny happened to find us in DC! We had a slower morning, breakfast at hole in the wall Lincolns Waffle Shop, picked up last souvenirs, packed up our suitcases and took a break for a coffee shop stop. I ran to the store with these two cuties. Looking back on this pic, I’d swear they’ve grown inches over the summer this year year!
One last Uber ride and we were off to the airport. Another perk of bigger littles? They can all manage their own bags!
If you’re planning a trip to DC with kids, they were nearly 10 and 12 when we went and it seemed to be a great age. Special thanks to my Dad for manning the home-front and allowing me to go along with Mom for this trip. It was full laughs, tons of questions, lots of wonder, tired legs, sweet conversations, tender realizations and memories to last a lifetime. Stay tuned and we’ll see if I get the “Words of Washington DC” post up before the calendar turns to 2020….