Washington DC vacation reruns again!
I just got back from a girlfriend getaway in DC, which you can read about here.
And 6 days later I was back there again accompanying Hubby on a work trip. The good news was that it was a performance reward trip so there weren’t a lot of meetings he had to attend. It was a quick trip, but the boys were all away at summer camp or trips, so why not?
We got to rest our heads at a much better Kimpton Hotel in DC, than my last trip, called the Hotel Monaco. It was once the old post office in DC and a gorgeous old building. I love that the rooms do not feel cookie cutter like most hotels. I spotted several people taking photos down the wide hallways with stunning rugs and drum shade lights hanging from the high ceilings. They also have a complimentary wine/beer hour every evening. Inside Tip: Be sure to enroll in their free loyalty program. Even if you don’t have status, you are rewarded with a $10 credit towards your mini bar. So when you need that bottle of water out of the mini bar in the middle of the night, you can grab it without guilt.
So, after you’ve seen the majority of the monuments and most of the mall, what do you do next?
This was the second weekend in a row that I found myself asking that question. A good rule of thumb is to check out trips just outside of DC. The ones that you don’t have enough time to do during conference type business trips. We decided to fill most of one day biking to and fro Mount Vernon. We purchased our self guided tour from Bike and Roll online that included the bikes all day, and admission to Mount Vernon. Starting in Old Town Alexandria, the bike ride is about 10 miles each way through the beautiful Dyke Marsh and Belle View Park.
Getting to Old Town Alexandria from our hotel in downtown DC was as easy as Uber. The ride took about 20 minutes. Hubby and I had referred each other to the app, so we each had a free ride on our account. Here is my Uber referral link to help you get your first ride free too. We walked to the Bike and Roll kiosk and picked up our included Mt. Vernon tickets, bikes complete with locks and a little storage bag for stuff while you are biking. The ride was gorgeous, with lots of shade, and a few rolling hills. I wore bike shorts and threw a short roll top jersey skirt over them once we got there. I only consider leggings pants, if you have a long tunic over them.
The Mt Vernon visitors center is shiny and new. After checking to see if there was any space on the National Treasure spy tour (sounds like it would be awesome with kids too, but sadly it was full), we headed up to the main house. There are timed tickets to enter, but the biking tickets are exempt from a specific time, so we walked right in. The short house tour is great, but don’t forget the outbuildings, gardens, Washington’s gravesite, and the farm. Baby piglets were born that morning and they were so cute!
After perusing the dismal “food court” options, we decided to eat at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant instead. If I’d known the “food court” was going have such unappetizing options, I might have packed a sack lunch. Even at 2:00pm we had to wait about 20 minutes to eat at the Inn, but it was definitely a better choice. They do take reservations for dinner, which would help if you had a large group, or kids in tow. I had the Hot Brown Sandwich, and was not disappointed. I would have felt a little guilty about eating such a hearty meal, but the 10 mile bike ride back helped me justify it.
One of the best parts about the bike ride was starting and ending in Old Town Alexandria. What a cute downtown area with shops, pubs, and restaurants, not to mention the waterfront area. I sort of wish we had more time there. After turning in our bikes, we settled into a pub for a drink and had home made ice cream in one of the many shops, and then ubered (is that a word now?) back in to DC for the night.
The other major attraction we visited the next day was the Newseum. One of the top visited paid for museums in DC, I have to say it was a favorite and I can’t wait to go back. We started at the largest display of unaltered portions of the Berlin Wall outside of Germany. It is accompanied by a 3 story guard tower that stood near Checkpoint Charlie. It was an aha! moment for me, because my oldest son was in Berlin with a school group that very week.
One of Hubby’s favorite rooms was the News History Gallery that showcases the front page news of nearly 400 historic events. We stayed in there so long, my neck got cramped from looking down so much. The 9/11 gallery and the map that showed press freedom levels all over the world were very eye opening concepts. They also had temporary exhibits featuring the FBI and Anchorman the movie. Not together, obviously. Don’t forget to stop by the Greenspun Family Terrace for what is surely the best view of Capitol Hill.
This photo is courtesy of their website, as we were alone on the terrace and enjoyed the moment rather than taking selfies. I can’t say enough about the Newseum. Even with all of the “free” museums in DC, I’d pay to go to this one again.
In my next post, I’ll talk about the dining I did on both of my trips to DC and a great scavenger hunt app that Hubby and I tried out for the first time. Can’t wait!