“… that government for the people, by the people, shall not perish…”

Vacation.  I love that word, don’t you?  A time to getaway, go new places, see new things.  Summer is all about vacations-to the mountains, to the ocean, to Europe, Mexico, grand memorials, the Hollywood hills.  Wherever; it’s your choice and along with that comes this incredible freedom and excitement.  It doesn’t matter if your stuck in the car all day long next to your annoying brother/sister-you’re going somewhere.  It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in a ridiculously long airport security line-you’re going somewhere.  Did I mention I love vacations?

Well, this past week I got to go on a family vacation.  When my dad and mom first confirmed we were going somewhere this summer, I couldn’t stop smiling.  We just don’t go on vacations every summer.  Our last big family trip to Yellowstone was when I was in high school.

So did we choose the beach?  the mountains?  another country?  No, we choose to go to the lifeline of our freedom-Washington, D.C.  Monday through Friday we explored the place that our country’s ancestors created: life, liberty, justice.  It was great, awe-inspiring, and as my mother said, “it makes you feel really really small standing next to such large monuments.”

Washington did make me feel small but powerful to see that which Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, etc. had individually and collectively accomplished.  I saw as much in the past week as I think humanly possible.  From museums to monuments to restaurants, I didn’t get close to checking everything off my list…I guess I’ll have to go back.

Do you want to go to D.C. now that I’ve made the historical place sound so amazing?  I hope you do because it is.  And so, the rest of my blog will offer a few tips that I learned over the course of my travels in case you do get to set off in a jet plane towards Congress.

Washington, D.C. Travel Tips

1.  Don’t forget a map!!  My dad picked up a pocket size travel book that included a map on its pages.  And we used that thing multiple times everyday.  He’d just slip it into his fanny pack (yeah, that was dorky but it could easily fit into a purse) and take it back out again if we needed to confirm direction, street name, or metro stop.

2.  Utilize the metro!! It may seem scary, confusing, overwhelming, but you can do it (and your feet will thank you).  Find the metro station that’s headed closest to your destination and check the metro map in the metro to confirm where to go.  Once again it’s all about maps, people.  Also, I suggest buying a metro card for a larger amount (we each bought $25 card, which lasted about four days) so that you don’t have to get a new card every time you ride the metro.

3.  Wear comfortable walking shoes!!  I wore comfortable tennis shoes every single day, and my feet still hated me by Friday because of all the walking.  So, don’t be foolish just to look stylish and wear flip flops or sandals-you’ll be paying for it with blisters.

4.  Top Three Free Museums:  True there are several great non-free museums like the International Spy Museum, Newseum, and National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington.  But if all you have time for or if you can only afford free, these are the best Smithsonian Museums:

National Museum of Natural History:  This was by far my favorite with large mammal and gem stone sections among many other exhibits.   Don’t forget to see the Hope Diamond.  Summer Hours: Mon.-Sun. 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM

National Museum of American History:  I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the president’s wives’ inaugural ball gowns.  Includes great pop culture exhibit and check out the American flag that inspired the song the Star Spangled Banner.  Summer Hours: Mon.-Sun.  10:00 AM to 7:30 PM

National Gallery of Art (West):  The building’s amazing rotunda took my breath away as did many famous art works by Renoir, Monet, Manet, Rembrandt, etc.  Summer Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Sun. 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM

5.  Go to the Washington National Cathedral!!  Don’t miss out on this beauty just because it isn’t right next to the mall.  Figure out city bus routes (which can be tricky) But for $1.35 each way (have exact change), you can be dropped off less than a block away from the cathedral.  If you have time, stay for an evening service at 5:30 PM, which features a different choir from across the nation each night.

6.  Pre-book a tour to the U.S. Capitol online!!  Available Mon.-Fri. from 8:45 AM to 4:15 PM, if you make reservations for an early tour, you’re sure to have little hassle and lighter crowds.  The tour was excellent with an introductory video, knowledgeable tour guide, and concise overall length.

7.  The same early hour idea goes for the National Archives Museum, which opens at 9:00 AM Mon.-Sat.  See the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution.  But get there thirty to forty-five minutes before it opens to get a good place in line (which will not get shorter as the day goes on).

8.  Take in some local cuisine!!  My family got recommendations from friends who had recently lived in Washington, and I’m able to say they were all excellent.  With a mix and mash of people in the D.C. area there is a lot of cuisine to choose from.  Here’s where we ate:

Lebanese Taverna:  Excellent authentic middle eastern food.  Order two to three mezzas per person, which are about appetizer size dishes meant to be shared between diners.  I especially liked their honey ice cream!  Location: 2641 Connecticut Ave NW.  Phone Number: (202) 265-8681

Gordon Biersch:  A chain restaurant across the U.S., this restaurant features its brewery kitchen’s beer.  Also, one of the restaurant’s wonderful appetizers is a Maryland Crab Cake, the specialty of the area.  Location: 900 F Street NW.   Phone Number:  202-783-5454

Jaleo:  A Spanish bar and restaurant, this vibrant dining venue offers a large variety of authentic tapas.  Tapas are similar to mezzas in size and each person should order about three.  The food was as flavorful as the atmosphere that even though this restaurant is on the pricey side, I’d definitely go there again. Location: 480 7th Street NW.  Phone Number: (202) 628-7949

I could keeping talking about my trip forever, so I’ll shut up now, but I hope you find your way to Washington, D.C. soon and that my tips are helpful. XOXO

Trackback URL

, , ,

No Comments on "“… that government for the people, by the people, shall not perish…”"

  1. tam
    14/10/2009 at 2:13 pm Permalink

    You should have mentioned Kennedy Center, Arlington National Cemetery, Ford’s Theater. All are must see. And Mount Vernon and Monticello are not far and really amazing.

Hi Stranger, leave a comment:


<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to Comments
Skip to toolbar