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Monday, April 6, 2015

Itinerary for Washington, D.C.

In a few short weeks I'll be visiting Washington, D.C. with my mom, my mother-in-law, and my two daughters (ages 8 & 10). This will be my second trip to D.C., but it will be my daughters' first time visiting our nation's capital. It will also be their first airplane ride, their first underground train rides, and their first bus tours--however, it won't be the first time they've seen me go crazy over history.

It's been an interesting and exciting experience to plan the itinerary. My mom and mother-in-law have some mobility issues due to Rheumatoid Arthritis and my girls are still a little young. I want the trip to be enjoyable--yet educational. I want to see all the sights--yet take our time. I want everyone to be comfortable--yet I want to take us out of our comfort zone.

Here are a few of the things I have planned:

The Spirit of St. Louis in the National
Air & Space Museum
1. A day at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and the American History Museum. The main reason I want to go to Washington, D.C. at this time is to see The Spirit of St. Louis on ground level. I've seen it in the air--but I want to see it up close, from an eye-level perspective. I worked at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site (his boyhood home) for ten years, and I recently wrote a story focusing on the impact his 1927 flight had on our hometown. I'm a big fan of Lindbergh's flight--and I can't wait to show the airplane to my daughters.

The First Ladies Exhibit at the American History Museum
We will also go to the American History Museum--and I have to admit, I'm looking forward to this almost more than anything else! I was there once, for a very brief moment, and I didn't get to see nearly enough. I've scheduled plenty of time to explore!


2. A boat cruise up the Potomac to Mount Vernon. Ahh!! I've never been to Mount Vernon. I can't wait to see George & Martha Washington's home--and to arrive by river! I haven't done a whole lot of research, yet, but I know they explore plantation life, including slavery. I am eager to talk about this part of our nation's history with my girls, and help them (and myself) understand what it was like for slaves before emancipation. I'm also looking forward to exploring the grounds and the house. I know I'll walk away with story ideas!


3. A city and monuments tour. My husband used to pick on me when we were first married, but I almost always find a city tour when we travel--and Washington, D.C. is no exception! (My husband now loves city tours and is the first one to sign up!) I think this will be a good way for my mom and mother-in-law to get an overview of the city, with minimal walking. It will also be fun to sit with my daughters and answer their questions--instead of being distracted trying to get everyone from place to place on my own. It will be a full day, with lots of information and picture opportunities!


4. Tickets to Ford's Theater & a half day in Georgetown. Last time we were in D.C. (in 2002), Ford's Theater was under renovation and we couldn't get inside. Ever since then, it's been on my bucket list. The Petersen House, where Lincoln passed away, was open in 2002, and it was a powerful experience to be in the room where he died. I am looking forward to seeing these buildings, and showing them to my daughters. We're also planning a half day in Georgetown--just because I remember how much I enjoyed it last time! It will be fun to do a little shopping.

My mother-in-law (in pink) and my mom taking
pictures of my four kiddos just before trick-or-treating
5. A fun time with my mom, mother-in-law, and daughters. This is what I'm most looking forward to. I love making memories, especially with multi-generations. Everyone has a different perspective and adds to the layers of experience. We might face a few challenges along the way, but I know this will be a wonderful experience all of us will hold in our hearts for many years to come.

Next month I'll share pictures from our trip.

Your Turn: Have you been to Washington, D.C.? If so, what was your favorite site to see? Any recommendations for us? If you've not been to D.C., I'd love to know your favorite vacation memory and who you were with.

9 comments:

  1. This sounds like an amazing trip, Gabrielle! We live so close and yet don't go up there because of my own mobility issues and also my son has sensory issues so we have to watch too much stimulation like huge crowds. I have been to DC a number of times. I really love the train station there, so lovely, and the zoo, and I would like to get back to the Smithsonian. We're hoping to make some trips up now that my foot is doing better. Your ideas sound great!

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    1. Sometimes it's hard to get to the places closest to home, isn't it? I can't wait to see all the places you mentioned above. I hope you can return to Washington, D.C. soon.

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  2. We planned trip out there when by youngest was one. It was cold and rained every day for the entire week we were there and saw nothing. We were only able to go to one museum.

    We drove by the Lincoln Memorial, Arlingtion National cemetery and the White House but you really can't see much from the car due to distance and the rain :(

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    1. Bummer! I usually love rain, but not on vacation. Hopefully the weather is nice for our trip--and hopefully you can return one day and experience better weather.

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  3. DC is an awesome place. I had been three times before I found the Octagon House. It was the Tayloe home to which the president and his wife retired when the British burned the White House. I had the docent to myself, so I got to explore the kitchens in the basement and learn about the legend of the ghost. It belongs to the American Institute of Architects and is just two blocks north of the DAR buildings.

    The National Cathedral is a half day exploration and reachable by public bus. Then there is the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, http://www.nationalshrine.com/site/c.osJRKVPBJnH/b.4719297/k.BF65/Home.htm

    My mother's cousin Ruth and her husband are buried at Arlington, so I always try to get there. Would love to go back to DC.

    Have a wonderful time with your girls days out trip.

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    1. The Octagon House sounds amazing, Judith! I will definitely need to check that out. I love little-known places and having docents all to myself. :) I was a tour guide for ten years and loved when I had a curious visitor who wanted to ask wonderful questions. I'm sure the docent appreciated your visit. The National Cathedral is on our list of places to see, and we'll be staying close to Arlington Cemetery. Thank you for all the suggestions!

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  4. Gosh what a great trip. You will love Mt. Vernon and what fun to get there via a cruise on the Potomac . . .so beautiful and an amazing place. Don't forget the Spy Museum and the Holocaust Museum too. Also there is an extended Air & Space Museum out by the Dulles Airport (holds "our" space shuttle. . . FL gal). Not sure if you know David Barton & his Wallbuilders organization, but they have a great guided tour and book on historic places with a Christ-centered emphasis. Have fun. Praying for a great trip for you all. Oh, if you ever have the opportunity to attend a Marine Corps Parade at either Iwo Jima Memorial or the headquarters at 8th & I do so. It is the most patriotic experience I have ever had . . . short of the 4th on the mall!

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    1. Thank you for all the great suggestions, Chris! I am familiar with David Barton--but I wasn't aware of his tour book. I'll definitely check it out! I love learning more about how our Christian faith is woven into the fabric of our nation.

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  5. Gabe, this sounds like an amazing trip! I've not been to DC. I would love to visit the National Air and Space Museum. Please post lots of pictures so we can visit vicariously with you...;)

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