A few months ago Adam asked me to pick a place to take the kids for spring break this year. His only specification was a drive that was less than five hours away.
So, I dutifully got on Google maps and looked around. Every city I saw was one we had already visited. Many had one or two unique places that were great to see, but none of them rivaled Chicago in terms of epicurean and cultural pursuits.
So, I panned out. And out again. What other city, within driving distance, can compete with Chicago?
Then I saw it: Washington D.C.
It is a city steeped in history. It is a city every American should see at least once in their life time. It is a city twelve hours away from us.
Adam came home that evening and saw it on the computer and said to me, “Great idea.”
Because the drive was so long, we did it in two days.
The first night we stopped in Pittsburgh. I was absolutely charmed by this city. So were the kids.
Heinz Field in the background.
We walked around downtown, running around Point State Park.
We crossed the bridge and ate a delicious dinner at Burgatory, located between Heinz Field and PNC Park.
We also started the first of a week of free hotel breakfasts. The kids will tell you, I’m a sucker for free breakfast.
Adam is pretending his hands are Aaron’s!
We arrived in D.C. and walked to the White House and beyond. The kids immediately started playing tag in the first spot of green grass we encountered.
See all the “kids” playing tag?! We spent a lot of time walking (and running!) the National Mall.
Adam wrote to Dick Durbin, our Senator, and scored a tour of Congress.
Roof of the Rotunda
We were shown the Rotunda, where heads of state are laid for viewing, and where they hold the luncheon after presidents are sworn in. We passed Nancy Pelosi’s office. I love how any citizen can have the opportunity to do this. Being in the same room where such historically significant events take place gave me goose bumps.
I’m not sure how much the kids enjoyed or even understood of it. I was pleased that Jack knew almost all the answers to activity booklet they passed out. Who helped the Lewis and Clark expedition? Jack yelled out, “Sacagawea!” (I think he actually said, “that Saka something person”, but still!)
Tuesday Adam went to the office so I took the boys to the park for some soccer. Then, there was more running and walking the National mall. We went to Georgetown to check it out.
Watching the rowers on the Potomac.
We ate dinner at Filomena’s. Delicious Italian fare in a basement with the craziest Easter decorations I’d ever seen. (Aaron kept asking if we could buy the 45 pound chocolate Easter egg they had for sale.)
Wednesday we were treated to a VIP tour from a friend of mine who works at the Department of the Interior.
We had a Park Ranger drive us right up to all the monuments and talked to us about each one.
With our tour guide, Carlos, in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
We learned a lot of stuff we would have missed without a tour guide. At the Korean War Memorial, he explained that each of the 19 soldiers represented different branches of the military. Carlos showed us how the soldiers are reflected in the wall. What is 19 plus 19? It’s 38, representing the 38th parallel, the dividing line between North and South Korea. Carlos also spent a lot of time asking the kids questions, which kept them engaged and feeling important. Here he is explaining the radio statue at the Roosevelt Memorial, which represents Roosevelt’s famous Fireside Chats.Aaron on Roosevelt’s dog, Fala.There are four rooms in Roosevelt’s memorial, one for each term of his presidency. This one was during World War II, signified by the broken rocks with the words “I hate war” on them.
Martin Luther King’s unfinished legs represent that he died before his work was done. My favorite quote of many at the Martin Luther King Memorial…We all agreed this tour was the highlight of the trip!
Thursday morning we went to see the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. It was spring break for everyone in the area and it was super crowded! Look at the line behind us!But it was still pretty amazing to see. In the afternoon we took a tour of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Jack is worth 2 inches more than me!It was pretty cool to see them print money, and to walk by stacks and stacks of $6.4 million dollars ready to be shipped out.
Sunny day treat!
Afterwards Adam let them all pick out a souvenir and they all picked monuments. Jack had them arrange the statues as if they were placed on a map.Aaron is really attached to his Lincoln, he kept it close the rest of the vacation.On the way home we stopped in Akron Ohio and finally enjoyed the hotel pool.
It was a much more difficult trip then heading to a beach, but now that it’s all over, I’m glad we exposed the kids to some history and culture.
Now that we are back home, the kids have forgotten all the fighting, sore muscles from long walks, the school like tour lectures, and that one scary moment in the restaurant where Adam had to give Aaron the Heimlich maneuver, and have all agreed it was a great trip!