Our 2010 Road Trip Adventure has begun!
It was a bit tricky at first. The day before we headed out our car failed us. So we ran to the nearest Hertz and rented what we could afford: a sedan. No DVD, no GPS system, no technology to entertain the kids! But we’ve been there before.
We left this past Saturday and headed over to Alexandria, VA, where we stayed at the lovely Residence Inn by Marriott Alexandria at Carlyle for two nights, and from where we had planned to head out early on to celebrate fourth of July in Washington, DC.
I haven’t been to Washington, DC in over 13 years and honestly, I don’t remember having that much fun the last time I went. But this time, I went with my kids. And if I have learned anything, it is that my life as an uneven five is nothing like my life before them, and thus traveling with them, even to places I have already seen is like a new experience.
What I discovered, and I suppose many families knew this already, is how incredibly great it is to visit DC with kids as all the museums are free!! I know. I am acting as if I discovered gold.
I’ll write up my review of the places I visited in a few, but for now, I just wanted to mention that even after being there an entire day there is still so much we need to go back to see. We started our day watching the parade, however couldn’t watch it in its entirety as the little ones were getting hot and restless.
We visited a lot of the memorials, but not the Lincoln Memorial as this was closed off for the holiday (fireworks were going to be shot from the area). I also couldn’t get close access to the White House, as this was also closed off for a private event.
The day was hot beyond belief, and the museums really saved us. We especially enjoyed the National Museum of Natural History and found refuge and something to eat at the Ronald Reagan Building, which I thought was architecturally stunning.
That brings another point to mind. I thought the architecture in some of these buildings was amazing and themselves served as museum displays would. We loved walking through them when possible. The Environmental Protection Agency headquarters was one of my favorites from the few I saw that day.
We also happened to be there around the same time The Smithsonian folklore Festival was taking place, which was really a treat we weren’t expecting. Even the heat couldn’t keep us from tasting all of the good food and when it did, we were able to enjoy music and art from different participants.
As time approached for the fireworks display we found a spot on the National Mall area, where a stage had been set up and the United States Navy Commodores played jazz. I had put aside a nice, big, comfy blanket for the occasion, and then realized too late I had forgotten it back at the hotel. So, we sat on the ground, which was neither soft nor comfortable, but rather dusty and prickly. But the crowd was nice, and the music was great, and when those fireworks went off I almost lost my breath!
Of all the displays I have seen, even on 4th of July in NYC, I have never seen any as wonderful as the display in DC. And there, sitting on the dusty, prickly grass of the National Mall, sun set, cool breeze blowing, the sky lighting up all colors, as music played, I watched my kids and my husband smile and I realized how perfect that one moment was. I think that the fireworks were so awesome, that I would be willing to endure the heat, the completely incomprehensible DC metro card purchase system, and the INSANE crowds at the DC subway when it’s all over all over again!
Our adventure had begun. With forgotten items and scorching heat, we forged through, as a family, and saw all we could see considering the limitations of the holiday and the heat and we had an amazing time!
Here is a short video of our day in DC. I hope you enjoy watching as much as we enjoyed living it.