As promised, here is the recap of our uber-festive Fourth of July weekend in Washington, DC! Casey and I booked the trip back in March on a whim. We had leftover free flight vouchers on the verge of expiration, and no travel plans solidified enough to use them on. Since we already had a free place to stay (thanks, Blake!), we figured throw in some free flights and we'd have a nice little all-expense paid holiday weekend!
Things started out a little shaky when we got to the airport to discover that our flight had been canceled, and we had been re-booked on a flight leaving at 3pm the next day. Not good. However, I didn't even have time to break out my super-bitch-mode-travel-tude at the United counter before a friendly fella had us re-booked on a Delta flight that would get us in three hours early - the lucky travel streak continues!
Blake picked us up from the airport around 9:30, and we headed to his friends' condo (which they were graciously letting us spend our weekend in!), to get some sleep and rest up for the next day. In order to save money on food, I packed a bunch of Clif and Luna bars, and brought my trusty shoulder bag (typically used as a race-day sidelines bag) to haul our loot around the city, and so I wouldn't be bothered with a purse. I strapped my Garmin 205 to the front of my bag so that we could track our walking mileage over the course of the weekend.
First things first - we set out for breakfast. I quickly learned that Blake was new to the neighborhood, and didn't actually know where any local spots were, thus landing us in a greasy breakfast-serving bar on day one. This would be the last meal that I did not methodically research ahead of time! After an attempt at a healthy breakfast (egg white veggie omelet and toast - asked for fruit and got laughed at), we headed towards the National Mall.
I made a point to get my picture taken in front of the Library of Congress, as a shout out to my favorite librarian ! Once we got to the Mall, we walked all over, stopping at the Capitol for some pictures, and passing up the Archives because the line was too long. We explored the Smithsonian's new American History Museum, where we saw the original Star Spangled Banner - very cool. It was overwhelming to see it in person, and made me want to sing (I resisted). We continued along the mall to the White House, despite protests from the boys. It was the only thing I insisted on the entire weekend, even though it was sort of off the main path.
Here we are at the White House, where they were setting up for a Fourth of July Party! It was soooo crowded due to the holiday weekend, and it took about five minutes just to get room to take this picture!
Look what else we spotted - Michelle Obama's vegetable garden! Totally awesome. The boys thought I was a loser for taking this picture, but I think it is very cool that the Obama's are promoting healthy eating and using local food sources. Go, Michelle, go!
We stopped and saw ole' Abe in his chair at the Lincoln Memorial. Look how many people are in there! We also saw the Vietnam Wall, Korean War Memorial, World War Two Memorial, and several others (can't remember them all!). We got to the Jefferson Memorial and stopped for a few more photo opps in front of the fantastic view of the Mall. We met up with our friend Wes, who recently moved from Cincinnati to DC, and he joined us for a few more memorial tours. I might add that by this point, the Garmin was reading 8 or so miles of walking, which was really nothing for me and Casey. But Blake and Wes were starting to groan and fade, so we knew our touristy time was numbered.
The FDR memorial was one of my favorites. Awesome president, and a touching memorial. There was a quiet intensity as we walked through all the memorials, taking it all in and remembering how much has been done and sacrificed to get us where we are today.
The boys were pretty good sports about my touristy nerdiness, and didn't complain too much about my constant picture snapping. If you ask me, I think they were all just secretly hoping to be featured on the blog!
My new friends at the FDR memorial. Why not, right? After we payed our respects to FDR, we decided it was time to give our feet a break and grab some lunch. We headed to DC's oldest restaurant, the Old Ebbitt Grill . This place had come highly recommended by several people, so we had pretty biased expectations. However, to say it disappointed would be a gross understatement. I will spare you the details, but we were there for over two hours.
After the longest (very late) lunch in history, Blake and Wes were tuckered out. They jumped into cabs and buses and headed back to rest their walking feet, but Casey and I wanted to do as much as possible, since we were only there a few days. We continued to walk around the Mall, and we went to the Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights - very cool. After a few more miles of walking, the sun was starting to go down, so we headed back to Blake's house, stopping to pick up some delicious take-out on our way back, and enjoying the sunset over the Capitol building.
End of the day Garmin reading - 14.5 miles of walking. And that was just day one! Day two to come...