Panda playing possum
Stained glass at Mount Vernon
The Three Muskateers at the Capitol
The Capitol Rotunda
I promised my friends from Micasa that my darling daughter Cait would do a guest blog about her recent trip to Washington DC. Little did they know that she would agree to it only on the condition that I play Guitar Hero with her! The things I do for my friends, sigh....
So without further ado, here is Caitlin with her travelogue.
Hello everyone! I just got back from the lovely city of Washington DC on Monday night at around 10:00 pm. Needless to say I was exhausted from a very very busy week of activities, but I did get to see some really cool things and experience some....interesting sights. PS-Feel free to skim, this is a LONG post. First of all let me preface this post by telling you a little about who I was going with and why. I went to Washington DC with my boyfriend Patrick and our mutual friend Anthony. We went to visit Patrick's mother, who is Col Figures of the Pentagon....I could tell you what she does....but then I'd have to kill you : ) Anyways, she actually lives in Virginia in a city called Crystal City, but it's a short metro ride into DC. For the first few days Patrick's mother had to work, so we were left to our own devices....oh no right? Patrick had me make an itinerary for the trip, and the first thing on the list....the National Zoo!!
Tuesday-Our first day was supposed to include the National Zoo and one of the Smithsonian's...at least that was the plan until we walked in, got a map, and realized that the trail was 10 miles in total. My boyfriend then made a very astute observation...."Wait a minute, it took me 2 1/2 hours to RUN a HALF-MARATHON." We were in for a long day. It was a very awesome experience. Besides my feet and back hurting, it was a gorgeous day, not too cold, and all of the animals were out and about. I took close to 50 pictures that day and got a few great shots of some of the animals. The coolest thing we saw there were the sea lions. We got to see them while their trainers were "feeding" them.....aka playing with them. These sea lions were playing fetch and one was even helping the trainer clean his own habitat. It was awesome. After the Zoo it was already 5:00 and if I learned anything while in Washington it was that it has NO night life to speak off. We decided to head back towards Crystal City and hit the Pentagon City Mall. It was HUGE. And what's worse is that my boyfriend and Anthony came out with nine bags and I came out with none.....there's just something wrong with that. Then we went and had dinner with Patrick's mom at a restaurant called Joe Theismanns which was a 5 star restaurant in a sports bar...the food was great, just definitely a strange atmosphere. We called it a night after that and went home and crashed.
Wednesday-Air and Space Museum. We woke up super early this morning and decided to try and hit two of the Smithsonian's starting with the Air and Space Museum. After getting lost a few times and getting blown over by the RIDICULOUS wind we finally stumbled upon the massive building. This place was HUGE. There were about 5 REAL planes hanging from the ceiling on one half of the museum and on the other half there were about 5 missiles hanging from the ceiling. It was definitely a site to see. We ended up spending most of our day there as well. There was just so much to see. We saw an IMAX movie called 3D Sun narrated by Al Roker and my friend Anthony and I jumped into a flight simulator where he was the pilot and I was the gunner....we shot down six enemies which looking around was a pretty pathetic score....oh well, I tried. After the Air and Space Musuem we decided to go out back to the National Mall and get some good pictures of the Capitol and Washington Monument. We then got back early and went and met Patricks mom for dinner. For New Years Eve we went to Alexandria and did First Nights Alexandria which was a huge street there that was shut down with lots of local music artists and activities such as comedy and magic. We had a blast! We went to a church service where Washington and Robert E Lee attended and then we went and saw a Barber Shop Quartet. Since Patrick's mom treated us to a very nice dinner, Anthony and I decided to buy her a nice dessert. We went to this resturant called Cozi where they had mini butane burners so you could make s'mores at your table. We rung in the New Year there.
Thursday-Mount Vernon! Today was the day we traveled out to Mount Vernon and spent the whole day there. It was extremely beautiful, they have done a wonderful job preserving that building. We got a private tour of the manor and we got to travel around the entire property and see all the crops, side buildings, and gorgeous views. We decided to hop the bus back to Crystal City so we could grab dinner and go see Seven Pounds (btw-excellent movie, I definitely recommend it). However the bus was insanely packed. Apparently everyone wanted to leave at the same time and we had to pack in with about 30 people STANDING for 2o minutes....it was pretty awful. We got a good hearty dinner to recover and walked the 2 miles to the movie theater.....because the metro wasn't running....kill me : ) We survived and hit the bus on the way home.
Friday-White House! I'm not going to lie to you, the White House was the biggest let down of the whole trip. It was pretty boring. We only got to see the ground floor and the 1st floor which were all the historical things you could have seen online. Also it was a self guided tour which made it even more lame. After the White House we went to hang out at the apartment until our Capitol tour at 2:00. We got there a little early and got in an earlier tour group. On the way we spotted the Library of Congress and decided to hit that after the Capitol. The Capitol was super cool! It was a guided tour of the building and we got to see some really neat sights including the center where all the points of DC meet up and the old Senate Chamber. We then took the tunnel to the Library of Congress and we were just amazed. We got there just in time for the last public tour and we were taken aback by the beautiful mosaics and sculptures in the building. It was one of the most beautiful buildings I had ever seen. I got my mom a coffee mug and a "passport" which is essentially a library card. We then went and saw Union Station and headed on home.
Saturday-Today we decided to go to the Eastern Market, get some good seafood and see Crime and Punishment, a museum there with exhibits on criminals, laws, all the torture devices you could imagine. It was pretty gruesome, but super interesting. The Eastern Market was SUPER cool. I got a really beautifull Billie Holiday painting and we bought Patrick's mom a photograph she really liked as a thank you. I also got my dad some pistachios because they are his absolute favorite. The seafood place was called Legal Seafoods and it was EXCELLENT. Definitely best crab cakes in Washington. After that we rushed back to the apartment and got changed to go see an off-broadway production called Next to Normal. It was surprisingly good as well.
Sunday- Our last day : ( We woke up early and went to our Washington Monument tour. The tour itself was kind of disappointing, essentially all you did was go up the elevator and get off but the view was definitely worth the wait. It was incredible to be that high up and see three different states all from one building. Afterwards we went to the National Portrait Museum and had to do a quick skim of that so that we could get back to the apartment with enough time to metro it over to the airport. We got to the airport with plenty of time and realized that our plane was delayed an hour.....which totally killed our layover in Atlanta...only 50 minutes. We were told by Airtran that we would make our flight, buuuuut that didn't happen. We missed it by about an hour. They couldn't get us on another flight confirmed until Tuesday morning. So we got a hotel Sunday night with some meal vouchers and stood on stand by ALL day Monday. The first flight was a no go, and on the second flight only one of us was called. At that point I went and talked to customer service and got Patrick and I's seats upgraded to first class on Tuesday morning just in case we didn't make the last flight, which was not looking promising. However, at 8:50 pm they called our names and even got us seats together! It was a long flight home through extremely bad weather, but we got home safe and sound to meet our friends and our luggage (the most important thing at that point)!
All in all it was a great trip and I would definitely recommend a trip to everyone who is interested in history and beautiful buildings....oh yeah, and GREAT food. Hope this satisified everyones interest in the trip....you can tell I'm her daughter right? Can't stop talking : ) Have a great year everyone!