We just returned from a long weekend spent in Washington DC and we are happy to report that is was enjoyed by all. Here is a recap of the trip, with details both big and small, along with some commentary that I am in dire need of sharing. I’ll even throw in some learned tips because I am that generous.
The drive from New Jersey to Washington DC
- Lunch purchased ahead of time at Wegmans (the Holy Grail) because that is how we roll. Tip#1 – Sushi enjoyed in the close quarters of a car doesn’t smell so great.
- Driving is always a nice time to get reacquainted with your significant other as the kids tune out with their respective devices.
- Tip #2 – Always use Google for navigation. We hit major traffic approaching DC and Google lady coached us around it. She even had traffic nailed to the second.
Evening#1 at the hotel
- We arrive late so no plans to visit any museums or monuments. Dinner is within the hotel so an easy walk and chance to game plan … and enjoy some beverages.
- Tip #3 – Kids just want to swim more than anything else. Seriously, we could have driven to any random town in NJ and stayed at the local hotel and the kids would have been thrilled. Swimming and staying in a hotel room is all they need. So we swam after dinner and they loved it.
- Tip #4 – Beware of traveling during Spring Break. Especially to tourist destinations like Washington DC. There were young teenagers everywhere and I would estimate that 90% of them are a-holes. And many of the chaperones aren’t far behind.
- Tip #5 – All kids are restless sleepers. I’ve never witnessed so much tossing and turning in my life. To say sleep was limited is an understatement.
Full Day # 1 – National Archives and Newseum
A quick Metro ride and we are in the heart of the city.
While it is clear and sunny, it doesn’t feel a bit like “spring”.
- The National Archives is tremendous as we were able to see the original Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta and Constitution.
- My son clearly knows more about all of these documents and their history so it was fun to allow him to educate us.
- The Newseum was an absolute favorite judging by the fact that we spent nearly five hours there and could have done many more.
- Pieces of the actual Berlin Wall started us off and the kids were intrigued immediately.
- We slowly worked our way down starting with this roof top view on the Family Terrace. An awesome view of Pennsylvania Ave.
- Highlights included the 9/11 Gallery which was emotional and powerful as told through the eyes of the journalists who were there that day. Tip #6 – Be wary with young children at this gallery. My 12 y/o son handled it OK but my 8 y/o daughter never grasped the magnitude of that day before. She had a rough time with it.
- This photo below is a collage of all of the world’s/state’s issues that next day.
- The FBI exhibit covered 9/11, Waco, the Unabomber, Patty Hearst and others. We read every last detail and again, I think some of it was a bit much for the kids but we also don’t believe in shielding them from everything.
- The Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery moved us more than anything else that day with some of the images familiar but many others never seen before. We shielded the kids from a few of these but they were in awe of those they witnessed. Wow.
Dinner at Founding Farmers
- Quick cab ride down Pennsylvania Ave from Newseum. Tip #7 – DC cab drivers are a dream compared to those in NYC.
- You must order the skillet corn bread, kettle corn, pot roast and farmhouse platter. We had all of these and loved them.
- The kids are learning to appreciate local and carefully crafted food/drink. Nice.
Evening #2 post dinner
- More swimming.
- Teenagers acting like savages in the pool.
- Threatening my son if he ever acts like what we witnessed in the pool.
Full day #2 – college visit and chilling with friends
- We took a short drive to visit a soon to be graduating family member at Mary Washington University. We are friggin old.
- Brunch out an awesome local joint and a chance to catch up and tour of the mind of a soon to be graduate.
- The roommates were still sleeping post brunch (I miss college) so we hung outdoors for a bit. Is this not classic college set-up?
- I wish my college home had bulbs and a garden.
Evening #3 – dinner with friends and an evening tour of monuments
- Drinks at the hotel. Even the kids got in on the action.
- Dinner at an old favorite from back in the late 90’s – Uncle Julio’s
- Cabs to the Jefferson Memorial.
- All were in great spirits (pun intended) and enjoying the moment.
- The perfect occasion for the ultimate group selfie.
- As we walked through the brisk evening air, I longed for finally seeing the cherry blossoms but we were a bit too early.
- My best attempt at framing the Washington Monument through a cherry tree.
- We took a quick tour through the FDR Memorial and I was taken by one particular quote more than all of the others.
- And finally, a stop at the relatively new Martin Luther King Memorial.
Last day – National Zoo and then time to head home
- Of course, the biggest draw is the panda exhibit and it didn’t disappoint, except for the crowds who acted like it was New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Adults pushing children is always a joy to see.
- I love me some Golden Lion Tamarins.
- And elephants entertaining the crowds that are watching them.
- And the always entertaining Meerkats.
- But no mammal is more fascinating than the “guy with a selfie stick posing in front of the mongoose display”. Identity protected because I am a responsible journalist.
- The only thing more fascinating than selfie guy was the tons of mulch being blown all over the zoo. Look at this major faux pas. Are you kidding with that mulch?
All in all, a vacation to remember. One that was educational, emotional and silly all at the same time. I’ll say it again, may they not get a day older any time soon.