Mom and Leslie connected through Atlanta so we were on the same flight into DC, which made things really easy. Mom put us up in a gorgeous hotel that was within walking distance to just about everything we wanted to do (thanks again, Mom!). With her Hilton status, we got a great start to our trip with a free happy hour including appetizers. I fear the day I have to travel without flight and hotel status. I have officially been spoiled by it.
Right away we were out and about in the city. We had a general idea of what we wanted to do, but no real agenda or itinerary - which is exactly how I love to travel. Our hotel was just a few blocks from the White House, so we started there and then headed to the Washington Monument, followed by dinner at J&G Steakhouse (the filet was delicious).
|Leslie, Mom and I - at the White House|
We discovered a fun bar right across the street from our hotel and had a few beers. There was a table full of guys next to us, who were all in the Marines together and hadn't seen each other in 23 years - they had some fun stories to keep us entertained.
|Guess which one we took our mom to! ;)|
|Intensely reading the map|
On Friday Leslie caught a stomach bug and spent most of the day in the hotel. :( The weather was beautiful, so Mom and I decided to walk the city and do some sightseeing while Leslie rested. We spent all morning going to various memorials.
We started out at the Jefferson Memorial, which neither of us had been to during our past trips to DC. Everyone was very quiet and respectful here, and it was so peaceful on the water with a nice view of the Washington Monument.
Next was the FDR Memorial - we were not too impressed.
Luckily, we didn't go out of our way for that one since it just happened to be on the way to the World War II Memorial, which we both really wanted to see since my grandpa (mom's dad) served in the war. We thought they did a very good job with this memorial. We liked it so much that we went back with Leslie on Sunday so she could also see it.
From there, we walked to the Lincoln Memorial.
We were very disappointed that the reflecting pool was under construction.
|Not very reflective.|
We then walked through the Vietnam Memorial (mom has those pictures). At that point we had walked all morning, it was getting hot out, and we were hungry. Leslie met us for lunch near our hotel at Potbelly's. It's a chain, which is generally against my restaurant rules (especially on vacation), but it was a first for us and they don't exist at home, so I made an exception.
We had tickets to the Holocaust Museum for that day, which was Leslie's request. She still wasn't feeling well so Mom and I headed down there and were able to give our tickets to a family of three who really appreciated being able to go since there were no more available tickets that day. Instead, we went to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which was right next door. It was a pretty neat tour. All the workers have slogans hanging near their workstations, and some of them were really funny. My favorite said something like "Just think how I feel. I just printed my lifetime salary in a matter of minutes." Sadly we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside.
From there, we walked to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. My favorite was the exhibit of the Flag and the National Anthem. Nothing against this museum, but we just weren't into it. After walking around for a while, we looked at each other and said "let's get outta here". We decided to go get pedicures instead, which was absolutely wonderful. They were well deserved, too - when we got back from our trip, I went to http://www.mapmyrun.com/ (great website for runners) and put in the route we walked that day...7.5 miles in total. Yea, no wonder we were tired and our feet were killing us!
We went back to the hotel to check up on Leslie and take a nap. I probably could have slept through the night at that point, but I could tell mom was getting hungry. We had a lovely Italian dinner at Potenza, thankfully very close to the hotel - I don't think we could have walked much further at that point.
We walked past the White House again on the way back to the hotel, and I took this picture for Leslie. She really wanted a picture of the Washington Monument with the red lights blinking... it looks pretty creepy close-up if you ask me.
On Saturday, Leslie was back to normal so we let her decide what we did that day. We had a late brunch at Ici Urban Bistro, and then took the Metro to the Capitol Hill area. We spent all morning going to the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Capitol Building, and the National Archives. Leslie has more pictures from the day but here are the few I managed to take.
|Library of Congress|
Saturday afternoon we took the Metro to meet up with Jon, one of Leslie's friends from UF. He just moved to DC a few months ago, and oddly enough several other of their friends from UF happened to be in DC that weekend - total coincidence. Jon hosted an awesome Beer-B-Q at his house for all of us to see each other. We had plenty of appetizers, burgers, hot dogs, and beer - thanks, Jon, for a nice relaxing afternoon during our trip!
|Leslie and Jon|
It was also a great opportunity to use the really cute koozies mom brought us :) Thanks Mom!
We took the metro back, but weren't quite ready for bed. So we went across the street to PJ Clarke's for some wine and a bite to eat. With all the walking we did that weekend I felt like I had earned a huge dessert, so I treated myself :)
On Sunday we went back to some of the memorials Leslie missed on Friday. Unfortunately the weather was not so nice and we got drenched, so it quickly became an "indoor" day until the weather cleared up again. We went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in the morning, grabbed a quick lunch and then went to the Holocaust Museum in the afternoon. I know this will sound weird, but the Holocaust Museum was awesome. We spent about 3 hours there. Tickets are free but we got hours in advance online to ensure we'd be able to go, since they only give a limited amount each day. Part of the Museum does not require a ticket, so we went to those exhibits prior to our entrance time. Everything was really well done and it was just incredible reading some of the stories and seeing some of the horrific pictures. I'm not much of a museum person, but this is one of the few I'd be willing to go back to.
It was a wonderful trip!! Where to next? ;)