Drive to Washington DC

Drive to Washington DC

Yesterday was a long driving day. Seems fitting that our odometer would roll over 200,000 KM during the trip. We went through seven states all together to get to our final destination for the next few nights. We started out in Massachusetts, through part of Connecticut, to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and ending up in Maryland. We have some good travelers!

Our route wasn’t the most direct route but we decided to take a stop over in Allentown PA to visit the Da Vinci Science Center. Every vacation we go on we take advantage of our Discovery Centre membership. With the membership we are included in the ASTC Passport Travel Program. This is the Association of Science – Technology Centers. It means that the large number of places included in the program allow us entry using our existing membership for our local centre. The Da Vinci Science Center is one of the ones included on the list and it’s how we found and choose the stop.

As we pulled in and started walking to the door we started looking for the pass. It was no where to be found! We had just renewed it shortly before the trip and it had arrived in the mail about a week ago. Somehow we neglected to bring it with us 😦 We called home to get my Father in Law to dig through so we could at least get a picture and see if that would work, but he wasn’t able to find it. We had just had a long part of the drive and didn’t want to continue on so we figured we would just suck it up and pay the admission to go in.

The friendly person at the front desk quoted us about $90 for our family. I asked if she had anyway to lookup ASTC memberships and explained the story. She even tried calling the Discovery Centre to verify but wasn’t able to get through. In the end she said no worries and just let us in on our word! I was blown away and so happy. I was feeling pretty bummed that we would have to spend that much money. She turned my day around very quickly by that simple act of kindness and I am so thankful.

Today we headed into Washington DC. It was a beautiful day even if it was a little hotter than I would like. At one point the temperature in the car was showing 37℃ and with the humidity it felt like around 45. We did a fair amount of walking, my Fitbit is showing at over 16,000 steps, but the kids did great for that as well.

We started out by visiting some of the Memorials we didn’t see last visit, the George Mason, Jefferson, and Roosevelt. They are all impressive and very awesome to see in person. They have a great view across the tidal basin of Washington and the Washington Memorial. Once we were done there we went to the Museum of Natural History as part of the Smithsonian Institute. We had been here last time but Alexandria really wanted to go through the Butterfly Pavilion inside which we skipped last visit, so we decided to do it this time.

From there we headed into Old Town Alexandria. We wandered a bit and ended up at Ben and Jerry’s for the first time. Such good ice cream, but a bit more than we intended to spend. There offer a free trolley ride up and down King Street so we used that as a way to see a bit more of the shops along that street. Even though we didn’t get to spend a huge amount of time it seemed like a beautiful little city, and there was lots more we wanted to do. There is some rain in the forecast so maybe we will make it back for some of the indoor things.

Day Eight – Chesapeake Beach and Fireworks

Yesterday was Independence Day. What an opportunity being right next to the Nations Capital. Someday I might look back and regret our decision to stay out of downtown Washington DC for the day, but we had a great day anyway. 

The weather was off and on raining all day. At some points it came down very heavy. We didn’t want to chance getting soaked or the crowds for either the parade in the afternoon or the fireworks at night. Instead we headed towards the Beaches on Chesapeake Bay. 

As we were driving there we actually stopped for a long time trying to decide what els to do because the rain was coming down so hard. We took the kids shopping again though and by the time we came out it looked good so we continued on. 

When we arrived the weather was great but we had a surprise at the cost to enter the beach. We could have likely drive. Further and found a free area, but the weather was good now. So we sucked it up and had a lovely time playing in the water and sand. The water was so warm. After spending days walking around it was a treat to relax in the sun and sand. 

We came back to the B&B andade some pizza for supper, got the kids all clean and went to watch the fireworks put on in College Park at the University of Maryland. They were really close to where we are staying and we heard good things about them too. 

From what I can tell it was the right move. We arrived a bit early but ended up with a great parking place that was easy to get out of at the end. The Fireworks display was brilliant and long and we had a great view from where we were and not a huge crowd. 

Shortly into the show Noah was so tired though he was asking to go home and go to bed. Even sitting on my shoulders was not able to keep him content and he loves it up there. I was thankful for the quick drive back. 

Even though we didn’t take in any of the big events we had a great July 4th in the USA. 

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Day Seven – National Zoo

Our smart phones are our lifeline when on vacation. We use them to most of research when we are out, stay in communication with home, each other, and with our friends traveling with us. Most importantly they are our navigation systems. 

Jen is partial to Apple Maps, but I prefer Google Maps, either way they really guide us everywhere. Sometimes we can rely to heavily on them though and today I did that and made some dumb moves. 

We read to get parking at the zoo you had to get there early as it filled up quickly. Being so close to Independence Day we figured it will likely be even busier than normal. Before we left I took a look at the map and found a good route. We used most of it already to go downtown already so I felt comfortable just at one point it would veer off towards the zoo. 

As I started out Jen picked a route and had me turn off, this is normal as the maps can take into account traffic so I figured it was a faster way. After a bit though I kept saying this seems like an odd way to get to the zoo, but I’m hardly familiar with the area so went with it. Once we were down right by the Washington Monument Jen looked at the map and she had accident dropped a random pin on the map and routed us to that. 

Hardly a big deal, and we were able to see some of the monuments and downtown again. By the time we made it to the zoo after the little detour the parking as full. That’s OK smart phones to the rescue again, we’ll book with parking panda again. We found the closest one for cheaper than the zoo charged for parking and made our way there. 

Mapped our little walk using our smart phone and went along. Made it to a road where we would turn right but we were on top of a high overpass bridge and the road going right was way below us. So we had an extra walking detour to get to the entrance on the other side of the zoo instead. By the time we arrived my feet and shoulders/back were already tired. 

The zoo was great though. We didn’t even get to see everything, partially because we were late getting there, but it was also really busy. Noah is in love with the gorillas, he has a stuffed one he sleeps with every night so he was very excited to see them up close. He ended up buying a new one in the gift shop. 

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

Day Six – More Washington

It was calling for rain off and on today so we planned to be indoors for most of it. After rushing through only part of a museum yesterday it was nice to be able to start the day fresh and with lots of time for the Natural History Museum

The museum has so many great exhibits and the kids didn’t seem to get bored of any of them. This didn’t surprise me about the ones like the dinosaurs but even the gems section kept them looking at everything. 

When we finished up it wasn’t raining so we walked towards the White House. When we were about a block away a bunch of sirens and law enforcement on motor cycles came down the street stopping traffic. We aren’t sure who was in the motorcade but the kids thought it was very cool to watch. 

On the walk the clouds started getting darker and we felt a few little drops. We didn’t have umbrellas so we didn’t stay too long and headed back to the car. The kids wanted to do some shopping so we went back for a quick supper and off to the mall.