Our Trip to DC

I originally wrote this last Monday...but I saved it thinking I would add pictures...and, well, I haven't got around to it yet. But, I figured I should go ahead and post :-)

We took a family vacation to Washington, DC last weekend (Oct 24)...a day-long vacation. Originally, we had planned for a much longer trip but circumstances changed and we made the best of a day in the city.

On Saturday morning, I had planned for us to leave the house by 6:30, giving us nearly an hour at the airport before our flight took off. If you know our family, it won't surprise you that we actually left the house around 6:50. After parking, we made our way to the gate via security. Abby was crazy about the "people-mover" between the parking deck and the terminal. We arrived at the airport gate as they were boarding our seats (we were in one of the first groups to board). Luckily, a day trip doesn't require any luggage, so we didn't have to schlep that with us too.

We found three seats together (Southwest has open seating...so first come-first served). Abby was very excited. Her first concern was how the seatbelt worked. Being less than 4 feet tall, she couldn't exactly see the flight attendants very well. But, we helped her figure it out. She sat in the middle of us, so she could see out the window. She loved seeing the clouds once we took off. It was amazing to see how dark and dreary it was on the ground...and see the bright sun at cruising altitude.

The flight from RDU to BWI (Baltimore) was a little less than an hour. Abby enjoyed some juice during the flight (she thought it was really neat that they brought it to you). She worked on a math activity book most of the time and was easily entertained. We had a very smooth landing in Baltimore and were pleasantly surprised that it had rained, but was almost sunny when we landed (the forecast was 100% chance of rain, expected showers and thunderstorms all day).

After a snack at Au Bon Pain, we headed to the bus stop for the WMATA bus from BWI to Greenbelt Metro Station. We were really lucky that the bus stopped right in front of where we were standing. It gave us a chance to get on and get seats together...because it was standing room only. I have to admit, I had a major pet peeve when riding the express bus...the published fare (online, on the map, at the bus stop) was $3.10. And, everywhere the fare was posted, it stated, "Exact Change Only." It was really annoying that so many people 1) didn't know the amount of the fare and 2) didn't have exact change. Many had $20 bills...and held up everyone else trying to find someone to break a $20.

It rained during our bus ride and I was a little worried our entire day would be washed out. We decided to make the trek to the Lincoln Memorial (via the Metro) anyway...in the hopes that the rain would subside while we were underground. Our stop was at GWU, right beside the University Hospital. The architecture in the area was very pretty. When I had looked everything up during the planning stages, I got the impression we should turn left when leaving the Metro station. Luckily, we only had to go about 1.5 blocks before we realized that was wrong.

We had a 3/4 mile walk to the Lincoln Memorial...and Abby was starving (isn't she always?). We stopped at one of the dining tower's for GWU. We grabbed sandwiches at Potbelly Sandwich Works. The price was amazingly low and the food was delicious. We were all very impressed. From there, we walked the rest of the way to the Lincoln Memorial. Abby was very impressed by everything. She knows a little about Lincoln because of Mike's interest in his history. She was very eager to take pictures with her camera. I can't tell you how cute she was...trying to get just the right picture.

We walked down The Mall, dodging light mist along the way...nothing major. About halfway to the Washington Monument, we saw a squirrel. Mike joked that the squirrels he saw in La Jolla when visiting his brother 'back in the day' would walk right up to you and let you feed them. I started making clicking noises...and here comes the squirrel. Mike got out a snack with nuts that was in our bag. The squirrel boldly walked right up and took the nut from Mike's hand...repeatedly. Abby even gave it a go. Luckily, I captured all of this on video!

Since the last time Mike and I visited Washington, DC, the WWII Memorial was built. It was really moving to see it in person and to realize that our grandfathers were part of that piece of history. I also found out how perceptive our 5-year-old is. She immediately understood what the memorial was for and asked if there was one for the war now...it broke my heart a little to realize that her generation will grow up with a war...when mine didn't...at least not until we were in middle and high school.
On to the Washington Monument. Abby loved how big it was. She was a little disappointed we could go inside, but I'm glad we didn't. It was overcast and the view wouldn't have been all that great. Next time, it will be on our list though. As we left the monument area, the rain started falling a little more, but nothing too heavy. After a brief trip in a gift shop (and out of the rain), we headed toward the Old Post Office.

We made it to the Old Post Office just in time, because the bottom fell out a few minutes after we arrived inside. We took the Tower Tour at the top of the 12th floor. The Old Post Office tower is the 3rd tallest building in Washington, DC and there are incredible views. Obviously, the rain limited the visibility, but it was still awesome. Abby loved seeing so many things...the monuments, the White House, etc. We walked around shops briefly and bought a couple of huge cookies. They were sold by weight and they were fabulous!

Luckily, we only had to cross the street to get back to the Metro, so we didn't get too wet. During our journey back to the bus stop, we hit major people traffic. Abby was a little squished for part of the subway ride because it was standing room only, but she did a great job. Standing outside at the bus stop was the least fun of the entire trip because it was pouring rain and very windy. We were able to stay under the cover, but still got a little wet.

Abby fell asleep on the bus ride back to the airport, poor thing was exhausted. She even missed the rainbow we saw along the way. Because of the weather, everything was running behind (subway, bus, etc), so we arrived at the airport later than anticipated. We decided to get fast food instead of a sit down meal. Of course, after that, we found out the planes were being delayed for landing and we ended up boarding an hour after the scheduled take-off. By this time, Abby had gotten her second wind and she was ready to fly on the plane again.

The plane ride home was a little bumpy at times. We hit some turbulence and at one point, the flight attendants sat down in the aisle beside our row. They started talking to Abby which made her evening. Back in Raleigh, Abby was ready to do it all over again. We all had a great time and can't wait to go back. Next time, I'll think we'll stay a little longer. Abby is already making her list - Washington Monument, Smithsonian Carousel, National Zoo.

1 comment:

Sues said...

Whoa - all in one day? Kind of crazy, but REALLY COOL!!!!! I love DC!

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