The past weekend was the start of my weekend trips to all the places I want to go before I potentially leave the northeast. I have a feeling I will never get through all of them cause the list keeps growing. I’ve been meaning to go back down to Washington D.C. since I moved here. I spent a week there about 11 years ago for the National History Day competition- don’t judge. We spent a week in the city and stayed in dorms at the University of Maryland. We went to all the monuments, road public transportation for the first time, saw some pandas, and met with our state Senators and Representative. I wanted to take a trip back to revisit some of the sites and experience the city as an adult. I wanted to see and experience neighborhoods, something we really didn’t do, or at least I did not appreciate last time.
When I first visited DC, it was really the first big city I had ever spent time in and it didn’t feel like a big, unending Rapid City. We tool a lot of family trips all over the country, bit the avoided the cities most of the time and stuck to camping and national parks mostly. What I remember was that Washington D.C seemed massive. The buildings were monolithic and grand. The streets were so wide. There were people everywhere and I was certain I was going get left behind or lost on the metro. I remember the things that had a lasting impact on me like the Holocaust Museum, the Vietnam War Memorial and Iwagima Memorial as more if a feeling than actual visual memories. As for visual memories, I remember are silly things, like Jarred trying to catch a black squirrel.
This time around, I was astounded by how small DC felt. The buildings are still monumental and have such great detail, but they are not as tall I remember. The city felt very open and small in scale, not large and over bearing. The White House is tiny. The metro is so easy to navigate and clean, there was no fear of getting lost. I don’t know if this is because of my time in New York, and from all the traveling I have done or if it’s just because I’ve grown up, relatively speaking. This time around Melissa, Christian, and I planned the trip ourselves instead of someone just leading us around. Okay, let’s be honest, Melissa did most of the planning, maybe that was the difference between now and 11 years ago.
It was an awesome little weekend trip and this post is part one. I decided to break it down into the logistics of our trip and then the fun stuff we did. As I said, Melissa did most of the planning. We picked a weekend and decided to take part of Friday off so we could enjoy the weekend down there and to come back Sunday evening. The great thing about New York, is all the cheap buses that head all over the place. We were able to get tickets for around $20 on Bolt bus down and Megabus back. This is about all I planned, looking up the bus schedule. Melissa found us a sweet apartment in the Southwest quadrant on Airbnb that had a view of the river and the Washington Monument.
For transportation, we wanted to rent bikes through the bike share program, Capital Bikeshare. They have bike docks all over the city were you can pick up a bike and then drop it off at the next destination. We went all over for $7 a day as long as each trip was under 30 minutes, which was really easy to do. Melissa downloaded a great app on her iPhone that told us where all the dock were, how many bikes were at each dock and if there was space for us to park our bikes. For the most part, we had good luck and were able to park where we wanted. They saved us from certain exhaustion, or at least me. I don’t think I would have survived all of Saturday on foot. I don’t think we could have done it all on foot to begin with. You’ll understand when you get to part two;) It started to pour Saturday evening and we were back on the Metro. Like I mentioned before, it was so clean, so easy to read and seemed so much simpler than the New York subway. Although now, I would also that the New York subway system is really easy too.
Melissa made this amazing google map with the location of our apartment, the monuments and other sites that we wanted to visit, the neighborhoods, restaurants, bars, and bike docks near all of these. We definitely used this, but since we decided to do our touring by neighborhoods, we didn’t always have places on the map for food and drink. Enter the great Scoutmob app and the Washington Post Going Out App I downloaded on the bus ride down. Scoutmob has deals for restaurants with 50% deals and can list them based on what is closest to you. The Going Out guide list restaurants that are searchable, all the museum and monument information, a Metro map that when you click on a station, it tells you when the next trains are arriving, and events going on around the city. It came in handy a few times and I would recommend it if you are going to Washington D.C.
That’s all I got for the how we did DC. Stay tuned for the what!