Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break: Washington D.C.

It's so cool to me how we all grow, change and develop as we get older.
For me, if someone had told me ten to fifteen years ago that I would be spending my Spring Break vacation learning and reading as much as possible in various museums, I would probably be shocked. I mean, after all, the  best way to spend Spring Break is climbing trees or digging ditches!
(I was a desert tom boy).
So anywho. Husband and I decided last minute that we would take the opportunity to head on over to D.C. again for our first weekend of Spring Break. I don't actually get a break from work, but we figured we could go from Saturday - Sunday and enjoy some nice weather and some good food.
Boy, did we dream small!
We decided to invite a couple that we know from law school, Heather and Chris. To our delight, they were completely stoked to make the trip with us. The trip quickly evolved into an almost four day affair, from Friday night to Tuesday morning! Heather and I took Monday off of work, and we extended our stay to leave at 6am on Tuesday morning to roll into work as late as possible. :)
But I'm getting ahead of myself.


We loaded up the car after work, and met at Chris and Heather's. They had offered to drive, since they just got a new car and I think Chris was eager to drive it around -- this was amazing for us, since we still needed to replace our tires and were in need of an oil change. (Don't worry, our tires were finally replaced last week!).
We started to figure out pretty quickly that the four of us were compatible travelers. We had the same agendas, and the same love of food and coffee.
We arrived late Friday night and couldn't wait to explore on Saturday!


We woke up and headed into the city, and started the morning off right -- Starbucks. :)

We then headed on to Au Bon Pain, which is a delicious breakfast place. Both Heather and I got a smoked salmon bagel sandwich, with herbed cream cheese and wasabi! One of the most interesting breakfast things I've ever tasted. Unfortunately, I got in trouble for taking know how protective they can be about their I didn't venture to take a picture of the breakfast. But it was yummy!

Our sight-seeing plans for the day started out with Ford's Theatre.
It was a heavy-hearted tour for me, walking through Abraham Lincoln's last moments. It was incredible to read about Booth, and how he had really thought he was doing the right thing by ridding the nation of its president. So much so, that he was shocked that people didn't name him a hero for his wicked deed.
Something that stuck in my mind was that Abraham and Mary had been holding hands, right up to the moment that he was shot. Mary had been worried about what her young guest would think about them holding hands, and Abraham replied (as his last words): "She won't think anything about it."

We then crossed the street to the house where Abraham was taken after he was shot. It was the place where he actually died.

<-- This was the front room, where Mary would often sit with her children in between tending to her husband, and waiting at his bedside. Still gives me chills to think about.
This next picture is the room where he died. This plaque states that "President Lincoln died in this room at 7:22am on April 15, 1865."

I thought this was beautiful.
This excerpt is from a poem Walt Whitman wrote right after Lincoln's assassination.

Moving back into present day, (which is almost impossible in DC!), we began walking toward the Capitol to take a tour. Simply walking around this city is mesmerizing. There's just way too much to see, and you just lose yourself in it.

Our tour of the Capitol was really fun, we were hoping for something a little more in depth but there were still some incredible details and the art and architecture was so beautiful. I had never been inside before. Unfortunately my camera died inside :( so I only got the first part.

It was an audio tour. :)

This room was pretty amazing. I could have stayed in there much longer! The art on the walls and the details going all the way up to the ceiling were incredible to look at. I got lost in there!

Another fantastic part of being in the city at this time of year was the cherry blossoms!!
We were a bit early for the official cherry blossom blooming festival, but they were definitely beginning to bloom, and were so gorgeous!

We then headed to two fantastic museums in China Town.

 Never a dull moment in China Town!
Our first stop was the Spy Museum.
My not-so-professional opinion? Fun, interesting, but not worth the $20 a person...
We just did the regular tour, and there was also an option to pay a little extra and do a very interactive spy type mission in a specialized room in the building; it sounded like a full-on set! But we were a little too tired for that. So maybe we would've liked that one better.
But our next stop, the Crime & Punishment museum, was fantastic! We had a blast.

This man was NOT being very helpful.

This was TED BUNDY'S car.
His actual car!
Talk about a weird thing to be standing near! Creepy. 

The museum started out with Medieval Torture and crimes of days long gone. It moved up through Piracy, and then to the days of Jesse James and other outlaws!
 It was also really interactive at each stage.
Dusty and I had a gun fight; we tied. :)
It reminded me of playing the gun arcade game in Disneyland!
They also had the story of Bonnie and Clyde, as well as the car they used in the original movie!
I gotta say, their story was quite upsetting to me.
They were brutally shot down without warning or attempted arrest while driving in their car, hundreds and hundreds of bullets...and Bonnie wasn't even wanted for anything, as there was no proof she had actually participated in any of the crimes. She had never even been known to carry a gun. Clyde was killed instantly in the shooting, but she was alive for a while.
Testing out his mug shot poses.

How to escape from jail!
(Chris crawled through from the other side and scared the bejeezus outta me!)

The crazy real gun simulator, where you have to open fire on an armed perp!

 The CSI center.

It was a great day!
I gotta say, I could barely walk at the end of it. :)
All this desk-job stuff is making me weak, I tell you!


I was really anticipating this day.
We decided to make the drive out to Mount Vernon. It was such a beautiful day! Again, we started it out right, with some coffee...this is basically just how we roll.

Coffee in one hand, smoothie in the other. I think this may be the best smoothie I've ever had. It was blueberry based, with almonds and whey protein...oh my word, it was good. I want another one. One sip dirty chai, one sip sip dirty chai, one sip smoothie...

We all decided that we'd totally live there.

It was awesome to get to tour the house, and see what it must have been like to live there when it was in its prime. The house had almost gone to complete ruin, but was saved by an association of women who didn't want such a beautiful and historical property to go to waste. So while it wasn't entirely original, they really did their best to restore it to its original state. It was beautiful.
The water stretched out behind the house, and there were gardens and lots of animals!
Namely, sheep. I love sheep.

They also had the most adorable little piglet babies. Probably the cutest I've ever seen!
I wanted to take one home, the case of pigs, the children always turn out just like their mother. Sigh.

We were also able to walk down to the place where both Washington and his wife were buried. That was a lovely, quiet place.
The whole experience was pretty surreal.

Walking through Mount Vernon's museum, I learned a lot about his life.
I had no idea that he died, essentially, of a cold. He had been working for 5 hours in the cold, wet sleet, and went on in to dinner without even changing out of his wet clothes. No one thought anything of it...especially Washington, who said "you know I never take anything for a cold. Let it go as it came."
He died only two days later.
If only they had access to antibiotics, they could have probably prevented his death. They speculate that he died of epiglottis, which slowly suffocated him.

We ended the night by driving back and heading into DC, and taking a night tour of the monuments!
It was a gorgeous evening. It was quiet, and the streets were relatively empty!
It was quite peaceful.


This was our day to head back. We had originally planned to take off around 7pm.
However, the more the day passed, the more we wanted to stay!
We were staying with some long-time friends of my husband's family, and they had been out of town for most of it. They had gotten home late Sunday night, so we really wanted a chance to see them before we came back. So that's when our plan evolved into staying one more night, so we could meet them for dinner and have some more city time!

Our morning began with (Starbucks, duh) the Supreme Court building.

Our lawyers!

Gorgeous day!

It was pretty cool to go and see the courtroom! Liberty's law school has a pretty spot-on replica, so it was pretty cool for the boys to see the real thing!

Meanwhile, us girls were just there to look pretty. :)

We then headed out to do a few key spots. For Dusty and I, it was the Natural History Museum!
Boy, we need to go and dedicate a whole day just to that place. It is insanely huge, and there is way too much information to gather in one run-by. We focused our small amount of time on the Ocean, Dinosaur, and Gem areas. :)

I had really wanted to see the Hope Diamond. People were crammed around this stone! I wish you could see the bright color, and the level of intense sparkle that it had...this picture doesn't nearly do it justice.

My favorite was probably the set of Emerald gems.
Holy moley, these things were fantastic.
I would legitimately wear this.

Heather and Chris had gone ahead to another museum, so Dusty and I took a deep breath and plopped down onto a bench along the mall. It was such a beautiful day. Dusty (because he's a gentlemen, and he's great) went over and grabbed two lemonades for us. I just sat there, watching squirrels jump from tree to tree. It was such a happy moment.

And lastly, for most definitely the highlight of our trip (for me at least!) we rented some Capital Bikeshare bikes and rode them all the way to Georgetown! It's such a cool system. There are bike docks all around the city, and you pay $7 to rent a bike for 24 hrs. Each time you take a bike out of a dock, you have 30 minutes of free riding time. As long as you place it in any dock around the city within 30 minutes, (and then check it out again by swiping your card), you can ride for free the rest of the day! We couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather, and the ride down there was lovely. A great trip.

Georgetown was a pretty fun place!
I love all the brick everywhere on the east coast. It's rather fabulous.
It was quaint, and there seemed to be a lot of cool (and expensive) stores and restaurants all around!
Despite the fact that we got bombarded by cusses and insults by some random guy (some of which were "You're lame! You're bland!" among other things...), we had a really nice time there!

We even got to go to Dean & Deluca :) which, as those of you that watch Felicity will understand, was pretty fun for us! It wasn't just a coffee shop though, it was a gorgeous food mart.

The coffee center :)
Our trip was fantastic.
Tuesday morning we awoke VERY early to get on the road, and we went back to normal life.
I miss the daily Starbucks, and definitely wish we could be back there enjoying the weather and the food and...well, even though our money ran out it was totally worth it.
I hope you've enjoy this long and hefty blog post -- there is more to come!
Stay tuned for an entirely FOOD dedicated D.C. post, detailing our most extravagant exploration of the finest and most delicious culinary finds in the D.C. area. :)

In love,


  1. Thanks for posting this. Heather and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with you and Dustin. Hopefully we can do it again sooner than later!

  2. I am so glad you get to soak in the history of the area!! I love that part of traveling the most. Well, the food is pretty enjoyable....

  3. Aw, this sounds awesome. I'm so glad you got to do this! Sounds like a photo album to me:)