Anyone out there?
We’ve traveled over 2400 miles, consumed 94 gallons of gas, stayed in 4 different hotels, traversed 4 different states and 1 District and have now returned home after 10 days (and a subsequent 6 loads of laundry).
It was a fabulous trip. It far exceeded our expectations. A 16 hour car trip (divided into 2 days) was something I was a bit leery about, but the kids were fantastic (as long as they had chocolate and DVDs) and the parents enjoyed every minute of it. I would readily hop in the car again with my family in a heartbeat. We are already planning our next road trip.
If you are planning a trip to DC – let me recommend the following:
1. Mt Vernon: President Washington’s home was one of the highlights of our trip. I’d been there before when I lived there, but not since they opened the new museum/visitor’s center. Honestly, we could have stayed there for hours. The museums are fantastic and had tons of kid-friendly activities. They had a delightful game and dress-up area where kids could try on period costumes. It was a perfect blend of adult/child historical entertainment.
Oh, and the actual house and grounds– stunning!!! It took my breath away.
2. Meet your congressperson: It really bothers me to read/listen/watch the mood of this country towards our federal leaders – and regardless how you feel about your particular elected official, I highly encourage you to meet them, and in our situation, take our kids to their office. We had a Capitol tour by Melissa, one of our congressman’s staffers. She was knowledgeable and entertaining. The new visitor’s center (again, a new DC feature constructed AFTER I moved) was fabulous. A far better way to take a Capitol tour. Afterwards, we went back to the office, where my kids were introduced to their congressman. He is retiring this year to spend more time with his family – wife, 3 year old and 1 year old TRIPLETS! I think he deserves it!
3. Monuments: Visit them at NIGHT!! The monuments are ALWAYS open! Save your daylight hours for things that are only open during a certain time (i.e. Smithsonians 10-5:30pm)
And to throw in a few things bookish on this trip – I bought the following on sale at Books A Million in Williamsburg – they seemed totally appropriate:
Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation by Cokie Roberts
In this eye-opening companion volume to her acclaimed history Founding Mothers, number-one New York Times bestselling author and renowned political commentator Cokie Roberts brings to life the extraordinary accomplishments of women who laid the groundwork for a better society. Recounted with insight and humor, and drawing on personal correspondence, private journals, and other primary sources, many of them previously unpublished, here are the fascinating and inspiring true stories of first ladies and freethinkers, educators and explorers. Featuring an exceptional group of women—including Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Rebecca Gratz, Louise Livingston, Sacagawea, and others—Ladies of Liberty sheds new light on the generation of heroines, reformers, and visionaries who helped shape our nation, finally giving these extraordinary ladies the recognition they so greatly deserve.
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick
“…Such leading figures as William Bradford, Benjamin Church and Miles Standish of the so-called Plymouth Colony (which was not even close to Plymouth or its now-famous rock) emerge from the pages of history as understandable if not always admirable figures, and Guidall's evocations of the sadly depleted (by European diseases) Wampanoag Indians and their chief, Massasoit, are equally believable. The bitter voyage of the Seaflower (a slave ship taking captive Wampanoags to be sold in the Caribbean after a disastrous war with Massasoit's son, Philip), which rounds out Philbrick's masterful account, is treated with energy, respect and a straightforwardness that only increases its power.”
Tomorrow, back to reality: Kids back to school, me back to work, and hopefully in the near future, back to reading books!