A Capitol Idea: Exploring D.C.

It’s a funny thing, we were homeschooling and discussing the difference between Capitol and Capital. What a perfect time to put the spelling differences into practice by visiting our Nation’s Capitol.

Our itinerary had us leaving the boat near Norfolk and driving to D.C. After D.C. we will return home for a couple of weeks, then fly to Pennsylvania for a few days before returning to the boat. While we are gone, Saga will be hauled out to look over the props and shafts.

We wanted to time D.C. for the cherry blossoms, unfortunately we were a tad late and most of the blooms were gone.

The trip to D.C. was long (6 hours of driving in a car). Tonia was amazing and found an Air BnB 2 miles from the white house. It was also conveniently located next to a bike rental with bike rental racks throughout the city.

April 8, 2023

We woke up bright-eyed and busy-tailed, ready to hit the sights. Jumping onto the bikes, we cruised through the streets and ended at the Lincoln Memorial. It is a magnificent sight climbing the stairs and taking in the size of Lincoln’s statue. About 18 steps down from the top is an inscription in the stone step signifying where Martin Luther King Junior stood when he gave his “I Had A Dream” speech.

We left Lincoln and continued our bike ride by the Korean War Memorial, WWII Memorial, and Washington Monument, finishing our ride at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

The Smithsonian was fun, but quite crowded with the other tourists and kids on spring break. Michael’s favorite sight was the Hope Diamond while Annette was in awe with the dinosaur skeletons.

April 9, 2023

Happy Easter! It took some planning on my part to ensure the Easter Bunny would visit while we came to D.C. The kids woke to treats and colorful eggs scattered throughout the house. Even Matt and Tonia were visited by the bunny.

After indulging in a lot of candy and chocolate, we were ready to hit the city once again. Our first stop was the Supreme Court. It was not open, but we did admire the architecture.

Right next to that was the Capitol where we continued our stroll with a brief pause for the kids to roll down the hill.

The Botanical Garden was the next for lunch amongst the flowers.

We then found bikes and took a quick trip to the Eastern Market, which is similar to a farmers market/street fair.

The day of touring finished with a trip to the International Spy Museum. This is my favorite museum. It is full of hands on interactive activities, amazing displays, and a lot of information. On display included an authenticated original letter written by George Washington as well as a wooden hand-carved Great Seal that contained a listening device in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

When we returned to the house, Matt and Tonia prepared an Easter Ham dinner for all of us to enjoy.

April 10, 2023

The kids asked for a rest day and Boris had to work, so Matt, Tonia, and I went out on bikes to explore.

We first stopped at the Smithsonian Post Office Museum. Our expectations were low, but we wanted to take a peak inside and were surprised with how much this museum had to offer. The first floor was full of stamps and baseball memorabilia. We saw the first stamp and learned how stamps were printed. The lower floor had displays of the various ways mail was delivered.

Matt made a remarkable discovery. There was a package sorting activity and he picked up one of the packages to sort. Lo and behold, the package address was to Puyallup, WA. What are the odds of being in D.C. and an activity would have Puyallup as the address?

We left the museum to find Union Station. A brief stroll took us to a chocolate shop with amazing Swiss chocolate. I had to buy a few items.

The evening was complete with a dinner out at Ambar, a Balkan cuisine experience. There is a flat fee per person and the server makes recommendations on food, but you are also able to request the food on the menu. The server then brings over small plates of the food for you to try. You can always ask for more or to try other items at any point. It reminded me a bit of Dim Sum and Brazilian Steakhouse. The food was amazing.

When it came to the dessert course, there was a bit of confusion. The dessert was Baklava, but it was not clear on how it was served. We saw someone else order it and it was four pieces with ice cream on one plate, which matches the small plate dinner theme. So we all ordered baklava.

The servers brought over three plates (each with four pieces) and apologized that the fourth plate wasn’t ready yet. We promptly said we didn’t want more and to please not bring it.

A few minutes later, another server came up and tried to deliver a plate of Baklava, but saw that we already had some and was confused. We explained we didn’t want more and he left. Then another server came and tried to deliver two more plates. We told him the same thing. Then our server came back and asked if we received our dessert. We laughed and said yes and that they keep trying to deliver more. At that moment, the manager was coming up with a plate of Baklava, trying to deliver it to us. We begged them to stop trying to feed us. We were very happy and full.

April 11, 2023

We made reservations for the Museum of Optical Illusions. It was a small area with fun activities and puzzles.

After leaving the museum, we rode bikes to the White House. I didn’t make reservations (you have to do that through your congressman or representative), so we just admired it from the outside.

We also visited the National Archives, but photos were not allowed inside. The kids enjoyed viewing the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Michael did find a tree to climb on the side of the building so he was happy.

That evening, I really wanted to see the city at night with the lights. We attempted the bikes, but the station was not responsive, so we took an Uber.

April 12, 2023

Time to go home. We were scheduled to go home on the 13th, but Matt and Tonia were leaving on the 12th and we would have to move to a hotel, so we decided to see if we could fly out a day early. It worked out perfectly. We arrived at the airport, had some time to relax in the lounge, and boarded the flight back home.

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