A Weekend in Washington DC
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Yes, yes, yes! I know I am majorly behind on my travel diary updates. But the last month has whizzed by and routine has gone out of the window.
But here I am writing an update for you about our time in Washington DC. Plus, you have Dan’s wonderful video to accompany it.
Day 5 – A Train Ride
If you have already read my post about catching the train from NYC to Washington DC then you’ll know all about this bit. But if not, I will do a brief recap.
On Friday, we packed up our stuff and headed out of our New York hotel and towards Penn Station. The plan was lunch then jump on the train.
It was a great plan and we executed it perfectly. We found a great place for lunch, even if the kids did have a chocolate pancake. The important thing is that I got a gluten-free salad thing which was delicious.
After that, we found our way into the station, grabbed some snacks, had 6-8 wees and then jumped on the train.
The trip was exceptional, and the staff were so helpful and lovely. Train travel is fabulous and I totally recommend it for families.
Arriving in Washington, we had to jump on the Metro to get to our hotel. Despite the slightly complicated ticket issuing system, I really rate the Metro system in Washington. It’s clean, efficient and works so well.
Once we surfaced in Washington, the kids were hungry. Therefore, we had to hunt down some food. Lo and behold, the first place we found not only did gluten-free sandwiches but also pesto pizza.
Our hotel turned out to be fabulous too. Our hotel in New York was basic and a bit run down, but this place was pristine and luxurious. And to our surprise included breakfast. We went to bed that night quite content and excited about free breakfast.
Day 6 – Exploring the National Mall
It turned out to be an absolute corker of a hotel. The breakfast was modest but the kids got to have doughnuts and Fruit Loops so that kept them happy.
The best thing was that it was walking distance from the National Mall which has the majority of the good stuff in Washington.
Walking in a straight line from our hotel, we immediately arrived at The White House. Cue posing for photos and trying to explain to the kids what it actually was. But it was a great start to seeing Washington DC.
From there we headed to towards the Washington Monument. You can’t miss the thing as it looms over the entire site and it had us all intrigued.
The construction of this impressive obelisk started in 1848, but being the huge structure that it is (and a 23 year break due to lack of funds), it wasn’t completed until 1884.
This monument was commissioned to commemorate George Washington, the first president of the United States. Being the world’s tallest obelisk, it is a true sight to behold.
The World War II Memorial
This is one of my favourite places in Washington. I’ve gushed over it a lot already on Instagram, but it is stunning.
A water feature and a monument all in one, it is a calm and interactive experience. We spent a fair while sat at the edge and dipping our feet in.
While we were sat there, we watched a group of black female photographers. Suddenly, they became interested in Emily and Alice who were quacking at a duck.
I got chatting to some of the women who explained that they were out on a photography walk. They were friendly and kind and offered to send us some of their pictures.
The Reflecting Pool runs from the World War II memorial to the Lincoln memorial. It does exactly what you expect and reflects the Washington Monument and the Lincoln memorial that stand at each end.
The walk alongside it was calm and peaceful, even if I did have resist the urge to shout “Jenny!” and wade in. (That’s a Forrest Gump reference by the way!)
The kids had a good laugh at all the ducks floating on it with their little bums wiggling in the air. We had to tell Emily to shut up in the end because she kept shouting “DUCK BUTT!” and it was ruining the walk a bit.
First thing I noticed about the Lincoln memorial was all the bloody stairs. Washington had proven to be so accessibility friendly that the sight of stairs felt a bit odd.
But luckily, they’d thought about this. Gold ol’ Washington! Ramps and lifts tooked us all that way into the Sanctuary chamber which house Lincoln himself.
I was blown away by the Sanctuary chamber. It is huge! To the point that it makes Lincoln look small by comparison.
Again, like many of Washington’s great monuments and memorials, there is sense of stillness and reflection and it is not hard to figure out why.
Many great events have either transpired or been inspired on those steps. It is almost overwhelming the extent of the significance of that venue.
The kids got bored quickly. Probably due to the lack of snacks being offered or buttons to press, so there was no time for deep personal reflection.
Air and Space Museum
After lunch and a very messy ice cream that was melting faster than the kids could eat it, we headed to the Smithsonian Institutes Air and Space Museum.
Being completely honest, the Smithsonian was the main reason that I added Washington to the trip list. Night at the Museum 2 might have had something to do with it.
Anyway, the Air and Space museum is bloody awesome! It is full of all kinds of aircraft, spaceships and more. We were hooked instantly.
There is a great section called “How Things Fly” that is full of experiments for kids and grown-ups. There are buttons to press, levers to pull and knobs to turn. A true scientific sensory feast.
Throughout the rest of the museum, there are many interactive parts with things to see and do. I wanted to go back on my own without the kids and take time to read all the plagues. There was just so much to look at.
Day 7 – Natural History and Pizza
By this point in our trip I felt that I was starting to learn more about life travelling in big cities. Staying in hotels without a kitchen meant that food had to be bought on the go.
However, we learned that a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut would go a long way. Therefore, the kids were easily sustained with this snack/meal.
Also, being a coeliac, research was key! If I wanted to eat, I needed a plan and I was wising up to the level of detail that was needed.
The National Museum of Natural History
The first stop for the day was to visit another Smithsonian museum and this time it was the natural history museum.
Having visited The American Museum of Natural History in New York just a few days before, we were excited to see what we would find in here.
It did not disappoint! Filled with dinosaurs, gems, early humans and a giant squid. We were fascinated from start to finish. There was loads to see and do and the kids loved it.
For lunch, we went to a place called Pi Pizzeria, which had shown up in my research as doing gluten-free pizza and being near the Natural History Museum.
It was short walk to get the pizza and my mathematical heart was filled with joy at the giant “pi” on the restaurant front as we arrived.
We ordered our pizza and carried it back to the National Mall where we sat and ate near a fountain. There was another cheeky squirrel to watch (see this post for previous squirrel experience).
The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling out in the National Mall. The kids enjoyed the downtime and it was great to relax after a busy week.
Day 8 – Flight to Florida
With our time in Washington at an end, it was time to hop on another plane. This time we were taking a domestic flight to Orlando.
A quick trip on the Metro took us straight to the airport, where we were able to head to straight through security and grab some food.
We spent the morning chilling in the departure lounge, eating Five Guys and catching Pokémon. Before we knew it, it was time to jump on the plane.
A couple of hours in the air and we were landing in Orlando. Although Washington had been warm, the heat still hit us as we stepped out of the airport.
You’ll have to wait for my next update to see what we got up to in Florida. But if you can’t wait you can watch our video. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.