The Privilege[d] Guide To Washington D.C., With Boy Children


At long last, the Privilege[d] Guide To Washington, D.C. Everything in one place, for your future reference. Especially tailored for those who have 2-3 days, and a couple of boy children in tow. Gender-typing, I know, but for those two, it’s appropriate. I’ve marked the stuff I actually did with an asterisk but included as well all the recommendations from our wonderful Privilege[d] crew. Thank you all.

The Strategic View

Here’s the high-level assessment. D.C. is one of the easiest places to enjoy I’ve ever experienced. All those things you’ve heard about – especially if you’re an American – The White House, Smithsonian, Vietnam War Memorial – turn out to be not too big, easy on the eyes, conveniently located, and mostly free for visitors. You can spend two days in and around the central park, known as The Mall, and see 80% of everything you vowed you wouldn’t miss.

Do a little research, and you can even come up with a trip customized to your own specific interests, within the framework of Brand Name Artifacts, and Your Birthright, and 8th Grade History. And, if you’ve got ancestors involved in any of the 8th grade history, you can find their ephemera, one way or another. Do even more research, venture out and about a bit, and you could spend 4-5 days here very, very happily.

Where to Stay

I stayed at the St. Regis, 16th Street and K Street NW. It is a couple of blocks away from the White House, meaning it is also a couple of blocks from The Aforementioned Mall. You can read my full review here. My best friend, however, stayed in a short-term apartment rental. Turns out that D.C., because of all those people who must visit their senators, has a great store of short-term apartments at reasonable prices. What do I mean by reasonable? Something like $250/night for two bedrooms and a kitchen. My friend stayed in Foggy Bottom, at 1255 25th Street, NW. Right around the corner from the Westin. Quite swank. You can check this website for other options.

Eating

Inasmuch as my trip involved the aforementioned two boys, we weren’t going to do a lot of ground-breaking food tasting. I ate breakfast every day in my hotel. Day One we chose Chipotle in Georgetown for a chain restaurant burrito lunch. Day Two, we ate in not one, but two food courts, one underneath the Ronald Reagan building, on Pennsylvania Avenue, one at Union Station. They were both perfectly nice food courts. Union Station is far more picturesque.

I loathe food courts, by the way, but I love the aforementioned two boys.

For our one night out, we ate at the Sichuan Pavilion, downtown, having been advised that Californians would not appreciated the D.C. version of Chinese food. Very high-quality, mostly Americanized, but carefully. Nicely decorated restaurant with good service, and prices were not overly inflated. I’d go back.

Other restaurants recommended by the Privilege[d] include:

  • Sonoma on Pennsylvania Avenue (near Capitol Hill)
  • Cafe Atlantico, Zaytinya – any Jose Andres restaurant in DC, really.
  • The White Tiger, a cheap-and-cheerful option within walking distance if you want to make a night of it.
  • Dinner at Old Ebbitt.
  • Lunch at the East Wing dining room in the National Gallery is a pleasure (you’ll need to make reservations).
  • Ethiopian restaurants on U Street, in the area apparently known as “Little Addis.” (Ask around for specifics, your concierge, or your cab driver. Everyone has a different favorite.)
  • “For extra credit, try afternoon tea at Teasism.”
  • “The restaurant adjacent to Mount Vernon is quite a nice place to have lunch also.”
  • “A walk around Georgetown and a stop in at Clyde’s for lunch would be nice.”

Drinking (apparently its own activity in D.C. I credit the aforementioned people visiting senators)

I did not manage to get out for drinks, as you can imagine. Here are the Privilege[d] recommendations, should you keep more adult company.

  • “Head over to the W Hotel and head up to the POV rooftop deck for drinks and the best view of the mall in town.”
  • “Also – drinks at the Round Robin at the Willard and Off The Record at the Hay Adams – both are classics.”
  • “Great Iced Tea at the Four Seasons in Georgetown.”

Getting Around

I was in D.C. for very early spring. Like all East Coast cities, it’s probably gorgeous in the fall, hot and humid in the summer, too cold for long walks in the winter, and beautiful for that one elusive week they are going to call Spring and be done. The thing about D.C. is that there are cherry trees planted up and down the aforesaid Mall, and they bloom in the Spring. Come time to plan your visit, Google cherry blossom predictions, and they will tell you when the elusive white flutter is expected. On the other hand, crowds are few in the less biologically-gifted times.

There are at least three hop on, hop off tours of the city, two on buses, one on trolley cars. Buy tickets at various hotels, and at Union Station. They cost $35 apiece, but when you’ve got kids along, nothing halts a whine session better than a nice sitdown on the top of a double decker something with wheels. Advice from the Privilege[d] includes:

  • “I don’t recommend trying to drive around the National Mall and Arlington Cemetery if you don’t know your way, taking metro is a lot less trouble. The traffic around here is horrible.”
  • “For heavens sake – STAND TO THE RIGHT on the escalators and when you buy a farecard put plenty of fare on it. The lines of confused tourists waiting to buy fare can get long at the stations near the Mall.”
  • “Try not to be riding the trains during peak rush hour (unless you want to, of course; in the evening rush, they are most crowded circa 4:30pm–6:30pm, with rush hour extending from 3pm-7pm), because it can get exceedingly crowded both in the trains and on the platforms due to the large Federal workforce leaving offices and going home for the day. “
  • “A good thing to do is the Monuments by Moonlight tour.” (Note that this, a bus tour of the monuments, lit up, at night, does not run in the winter. Or even early spring.)

Timetable

We did it this way. Day One, buy tickets for bus tour, figure out we bought the wrong ones, dither, buy the right ones, go around the city, get off at the Lincoln Memorial, walk up the Mall, go to the museums, back to the apartment, out to dinner. Day Two, better prepared, walk from the St. Regis to the White House, then up Pennsylvania Avenue stopping only to feed boys, take the Metro the last bit, see the Capitol Building from the outside, take a Library of Congress tour, see the Supreme Court, take the hop on bus to Union Station, eat more, think about taking a tour to Mt. Vernon, decide it’s too late, get back on hop on, drove around a little more, go back to my friend’s apartment, call it a day.

Without boys, and without a best friend whom one sees once per year, more sights, or shopping, could easily have been added into both days. As it was, the series of events were perfect for our circumstances.

Monuments

If you look at a map of D.C., you will see the Lincoln Memorial , the Vietnam Memorial and the Washington Monument, all in one line. Arlington Cemetery lies just over the Potomac, to the west. Did the river not run just there, Arlington might even be part of the long, green, Mall. Otherwise stated, it’s pretty much all in the same place. My friend took a cab to the cemetery the day before I arrived, so that I didn’t see. I will, when I return. My impressions of the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the Washington Monument, are here. An abridged version? The Lincoln Memorial, with its plaque for Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, and the Vietnam Memorial, are why one goes to D.C. for the first time. They aren’t large dead piles of stone, as I had feared. So yes, see them. Maybe even see them first.

And the Privilege[d] added:

“The boys might really like the Korean War Memorial since it is spookily like you are overtaking a hill yourself within the soldier statues. It was too eerie for me (with a son-in-law in combat).”

Museums

Something I didn’t know. There’s no one place that’s The Smithsonian. As the Privilege[d] pointed out: “The Smithsonian museums (and they are many, but most people are thinking of the castle building when they think “Smithsonian”) are the result of Smithson’s grand bequest to the United States. Most of the museums on the Mall are part of the Smithsonian collective (http://www.si.edu/).” That said, my friend and I visited:

  • The National Museum of American History. I dragged the boys through our First Ladies’ Dresses. Attempt at your own risk. Next time I’d make a deal. You look at the dresses without complaining, I’ll drag my tail around the airplanes with you later. We discovered, serendipitously, that the museum has an absolutely fantastic Transportation exhibition, which uses actual buses and subway cars and automobiles to detail the history of transportation in America, and the degree to which our country was forged by our modes of getting ourselves and our stuff from place to place. Fascinating, for adults and kids alike., Oh, and you can see Julia Child’s kitchen in all its mid-century humility.
  • The National Museum of Natural History. Turns out that boy children like the Hope Diamond. You know, anything that’s the biggest, they’re going to like.
  • The National Air and Space Museum. Boys loved it. I sat on a bench and closed my eyes.

Privilege[d] recommendations we didn’t get to included:

  • The National Gallery (by the way, my father was appalled, my mother surprised, that I didn’t see the National Gallery. My feeling is, I can see great art in many cities, I can’t see the bones of America’s Founding. Heretical, perhaps, but there you go. It’s also true that seeing art requires a great deal of my capacity, as I tend to get overturned and overwhelmed. The more sensible among you will feel quite otherwise.) And I quote, “For a more grown up experience, the National Gallery (both East and West) are divine, not just for the astonishing art on display, but the architecture of the buildings, too.” “The collection of Thomas Cole paintings. There’s a wonderful sequence of the stages of life there that I remember” “Homer, Moran, Turner), Sculpture Garden.”
  • The Charles Lang Freer Gallery
    ” (http://www.asia.si.edu/) is my absolute favorite of the greater D.C. metro area museums. The Peacock Room is unique.”
  • The Spy Museum, “Younger men would adore the Spy Museum. Expensive but interactive and educational.”
  • The Newseum

Government Buildings

We saw the White House, from the sidewalk. If you want a tour, go to your Senator’s website and request one. You will need to give them at least 3 weeks notice. The Capitol Building tours also require reservations. However, it’s pretty cool from the outside. The Library of Congress, just opposite the Capitol (how convenient is that?) consists of three buildings. The Jefferson is the most renowned. Just go. The ceiling paintings are phenomenal. And, while you can’t enter the main Reading Room unless you’ve made a formal request and gotten a badge, you can see its full fabulosity from the 2nd story balcony. You can just walk into the Supreme Court building, located right next to the Library of Congress. (See? Convenience is the American way!)  The Privilege[d] recommend that you “sign up for the courtroom lecture – 30 min max, and check the Supreme Court schedule.” You can actually hear lawyers argue their cases.

For me, seeing the Supreme Court justices would be like the Oscar Red Carpet, only without the glam gowns and tuxes. Next time, I’m going to a session. The Privilege[d] added:

  • “When you’re on Capitol Hill one block from the Capitol, there’s an intersection with the Supreme Court on one corner, the Library of Congress on the other corner, the Folger Shakespeare Library on the other corner, and Florida House stands on the other corner. This is a great place to flop in the middle of all that over-stimulation. Back in my day, we’d whip up a White House tour pass in a couple of hours, max. Ugh, to the new rules. Just pretend you’re from Florida, or your grandmother had a residence in Palm Beach, something witty.”
  • The Mint/National Treasury (my friend’s husband took the boys to see the printing presses, the day I left.)

Further Out

Hands down, you all recommended Mount Vernon most highly. We didn’t make it. Apparently by cab it would costs ~$75 each way, or one could drive, or one can take a tour that starts at Union Station. Next time. You all said: “I LOVE LOVE LOVE going to Mount Vernon. Take your friend and her boys there if you can. It’s quite the history lesson—and so well curated. We go there EVERY time we are in DC–and I dream about it in between times. The house itself is lovely, the gardens wonderful, the round barn spectacular. It’s all a great place to go.” “Our boys loved Mount Vernon—at ages 9 and 13. That was the first time we took them and we took them again a few years after that.”

Shopping and Wandering

My friend, her boys, and I, hopped off the bus in Georgetown. We ate at Chipotle. Then, as we passed Lush, my friend was overcome by the smell of soap. So we popped in, she bought gorgeous soaps and insisted on buying me some solid perfume called Lust. I did not protest. Such was our shopping. But you all recommended:

  • “Walking around Georgetown is always nice. Some of the more unique shops are up Wisconsin Avenue around P St as well as Patisserie Poupon, a bakery I really like, also Cady’s Alley toward the waterfront. Old Town Alexandria is pretty too, beautiful historic neighborhood with some good restaurants and shops, and by the waterfront there’s the Torpedo Factory, which is a center for artists. Maybe visit Eastern Market on Capitol Hill on a weekend morning?”
    One of the best hidden gems in the city is a Marc Chagall mosaic in Georgetown on the wall of a private garden. You can see it walking down the street if you know what you are looking for: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/dc/blogging/marc-chagall-garden-mural-mosaic-washington-dc-053548. It’s in the 28th street/Olive 29th Street location of Georgetown.”
  • “A couple of others that may speak to you and your interests: Tiny Jewel Box (http://www.tinyjewelbox.com/) and Ann Hand (http://www.annhand.com/). Just for a bit of fun and comparison, since you enjoy writing about things bejeweled. Maybe purchase a souvenir?”
  • “If you want to wander and window shop, check out 14th Street between U and Rhode Island on a Saturday or Sunday – lots of lovely little clothing, giftie, fun shops including PULP (great cards and gifts), Go Mama Go! and Miss Pixie’s furnishings and whatnot (www.misspixies.com). Nothing high end but very fun and funky.”
  • “DC is as you know a city of two quite separate and unequal halves. If you feel like a walk head north from the White House up to Malcolm X Park (which is also called Meridian Hill Park) and then over to Mount Pleasant (east of 16th) or Columbia Heights (west of 16th) and check out the gentrification.”

Pre-Trip Ancestral Research

  • “The National Archives [www.archives.gov] is a good source for historic documents.”
  • “If you’re truly inclined to pursue some research in re your relatives, you might want to call and make an appointment beforehand at repositories you think have something to share with a private researcher. Many do require advance notice. “

If You Have Extra Time, Say The Privilege[d]

  • “Go to Gallery Place for the Portrait (Katherine Graham and portraits of all the presidents) and American Art (O’Keefe, John Singer Sargent) Galleries.”
  • “The U.S. Botanic Garden is a bit off the beaten path but near to many of the museums on the Mall (http://www.usbg.gov/exhibits.cfm) and a little different.”
  • “I also would recommend the Folger Shakespeare Library (www.folger.edu) – you can only go to the Reading Room one day a year, but they have consistently interesting exhibits with tons of old stuff from their archives (and it’s right by the Library of Congress and my favorite, very erotic Neptune fountain) and a great wee gift shop. They also have a gorgeous little theatre (a replica of the Swan) where there will be live music this weekend.”
  • The National Zoo (panda bears)
  • The National Cathedral, “noonish organ recital.””lots of historical crypts – and a really wonderful rose/herb garden for wandering around in. A little off the beaten track but absolutely worth it – and you can have a cup of tea inside the visitor’s center if you need a wee breakie.”
  • “A place that I haven’t visited but would like to is Hillwood Estate which was home to Marjorie Merriweather Post – http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/. “
  • “The National Museum of the American Indian is really interesting and you can do a quick pop in and out (there’s a lot in here) – it also has, hands down, the best food of all the museums.” (On the Mall)
  • “Roosevelt, you’re right, he didn’t want a memorial and there is a small memorial at the corner on 9th and Penn.” “But about 15-20 years ago, the powers that be decided we needed an FDR Memorial – http://www.nps.gov/frde/index.htm – it’s essentially an island in the Potomac. Quite the opposite of what he wanted.” “I have to put in a good word for the FDR memorial here. It is breathtaking, and it highlights beautifully those achievements of his on which, whether we know it or not, we all depend, regardless of who we are, and which are now largely in danger of being dismantled.”
  • “Theodore Roosevelt Island [administered by National Park Service] might be just the trick with those boys, it’s a great place to romp and cut loose, a little bit of woodland [88 acres] at the edge of the Potomac, in the middle of the hustle/bustle of the George Washington Parkway. You’ll have your walking shoes on anyway.”
  • Dumbarton Oaks
  • Dumbarton House
  • Emily Post’s House
  • National Museum of Health and Medicine (boys would like this–lots of military history involved in the history of medicine)
  • DAR Museum, wonderful antiques displayed in rooms donated by each of the 13 Colonies

There. Everything in one place. If you like any quotation in particular, please go take a look at the comments on my original trip-planning posts to see who wrote what. Thank you all very much for your help. I’ll be, as California’s former governor said, back.

34 Comments

  • 03/24/11
    9:38 am

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    metscan said...

    Wow, I am impressed! Your post just ensured me, that there is no need for me to travel over to US, Washington DC ever. You did it for me. Thank you!!

  • 03/24/11
    10:11 am

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    Naurnie said...

    So happy you posted this. The husband and I have long been discussing a weekend trip to DC, and your suggestions are v. helpful!

  • 03/24/11
    10:47 am

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    Wally Bell said...

    Hi Lisa, I’ve wanted to take my son there for all the reasons you mention. I was there on my own a few yerars back and loved it so much. I still remeber the fireflys buzzing around in the evening. Great post as usual.

  • 03/24/11
    10:50 am

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    Marguerite Krenek said...

    LPC, Enjoyed your trip recs especially the W Hotel POV rooftop bar, as my 26 yr. old son was a bartender and keeper of the red rope there for over a year! Learned much about life and people to enhance his college education. Has since moved on to a calmer, less trendy boutique hotel, the Madison. Glad you had a wonderful time. We love DC and will likely visit again this summer.

  • 03/24/11
    11:34 am

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    Easy and Elegant Life said...

    So glad you enjoyed your trip. It’s a lot to take in, in one go, and well worth a second visit. But do avoid August when we are reminded that Washington was built on reclaimed swamp.

    A good option for hotel is the Sofitel a block from The Hay-Adams, but less expensive. Lunch at the (Palm?) Court in the East Wing of the Nat’l Gallery is always a treat. They base the menu on a current exhibit. A bit pricey, but a nice venue.

  • 03/24/11
    12:47 pm

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    Emily said...

    Next time you come, make sure you try Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street. It’s a DC tradition, surviving the riots of the ’60s, and it’s simply amazing. Make sure you don’t go on a weekend or a Federal holiday, though, because the line tends to wrap around the building.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your trip to our town! It really is a fun place and there’s a ton of (free) stuff to do. And thanks for telling tourists to avoid Metro at rush hours–for us locals, we’re just trying to commute, and any tips we don’t have to unfortunately yell, particularly about not standing on the left, are greatly appreciated. :D

  • 03/24/11
    3:45 pm

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    DocP said...

    The Air and Space Museum is one of my favorites, but I’m a space program junkie.

  • 03/24/11
    4:28 pm

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    the gardeners cottage said...

    omg lisa. you loathe food courts but love the 2 boys. story of my LIFE.

    xo
    janet

  • 03/24/11
    4:56 pm

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    RoseAG said...

    I sometimes rent motel rooms for visiting family in suburban Maryland and the rates for a Marriott within walking distance to the Metro are very comparable to the short-term rentals you list.

    If I were coming with a couple of kids/friends/family I’d make us of one of those listings you included.

  • 03/24/11
    5:30 pm

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    Flo said...

    Another of your typical Summa performances…but… where are the photos of you, the boy children, and the best friend? C’monnnn.

  • 03/24/11
    5:31 pm

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    rb said...

    I’ve been an American for 46 years (since birth, that is) and have never been to DC. My children are approaching the age where they might be interested, so I love the suggestions – thanks!

    Does anyone have any feedback on DC Cupcakes? how long is that line really, in terms of time? My daughter has watched a couple of episodes at a friend’s house and now really wants to go there!

  • 03/24/11
    5:36 pm

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    rb said...

    p.s. when the boys come visit you, you should take them to the USS Hornet in Oakland. Seriously, it is amazing, and I am the type that would have sat on the bench, too.

  • 03/24/11
    8:28 pm

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    Ezza said...

    I’m sorry, but these DC suggestions are pretty lame, and nothing that someone couldn’t find in the most basic of travel guides. And how did you not, as a full-grown (and supposedly very “privileged” and “cultured”) adult, realize that the Smithsonian is not one museum?

    Also, I would never recommend take a bus tour around the city. The Metro goes everywhere worth going. Which does NOT include Georgetown (an outdoor mall!) if you are only in town for 3 days. If you want to see the sites along the way, just walk. Nothing is far from anything else.

    I’m sure you’ll say that had you not been accompanied by little boys, you would have done things very differently. I used to live in downtown DC, and your description of your visit, and what your readers recommend, is downright sad and does not do the city must justice.

  • 03/25/11
    2:05 am

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    Reggie Darling said...

    Excellent, well-researched, thoughtful, and amusing post. What a great job. Anyone visiting Washington would do well to print this out and bring it with them (or have it at the ready on their iPad). As a (former) resident of that city (I grew up there) you have most decidedly and thoroughly covered it. Well done!

  • 03/25/11
    5:51 am

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    Rubiatonta said...

    You’ve done a grand job of pulling these together — and they do make sense for anyone traveling with small boys (or even girls, as my sister and I enjoyed a lot of the same things when we visited lo these many years ago).

    @Ezza, you bundle of joy! Go pee in someone else’s punch bowl.

  • 03/25/11
    7:58 am

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    silvia navarro said...

    love your style!!
    you´re so cute….
    follow u =D
    xx

  • 03/25/11
    8:50 am

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    Stephanie said...

    An impressive and terrific list! And yes, your next visit should definitely include a trip to Mount Vernon. Plenty of history and room for the kiddos to stretch their legs and walk around.

  • 03/25/11
    12:27 pm

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    Carla said...

    There is a section of old Highway 66 in one of the Smithsonian museums that came from the area I grew up in.
    I’ve walked on it and driven on it….and one day…I’ll go revisit it in it’s new home.

  • 03/25/11
    1:42 pm

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    Staircase Witch said...

    Glad you enjoyed Washington–and Union Station is indeed magnificent, perhaps more so than the other union stations in which I’ve camped out between trains (Philadelphia, Chicago, Penn Central, etc.).

  • 03/25/11
    3:28 pm

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    Sylvie said...

    At this moment, I have cherry blossoms in full display outside the dining room window of my Northern Virginia house. It’s quite chilly and the weatherman is actually forecasting a dusting of snow over the weekend. Still the cherry blossoms are a welcome sight. I’m sorry you missed them.

    Reading about your experience makes me long for a warmer weekend when I can get back to the District and share more American experiences with my young sons.

    There really is so much to do and try in around here. It requires much focus, planning and discipline to get as much out of three days as you did while still enjoying the blessing of spending time in the real world with actual flesh and blood friends. Brava!

    Once again, you’ve inspired me.

  • 03/25/11
    5:23 pm

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    Elsa Louise said...

    So pleased to read of your adventures in the District of Columbia, as related by your recent series of postings. You certainly filled your days well. Both your summation of the suggestions received and your own impressions of your visit make fine additions to your blog.

    As you and others have pointed out, to see as much as you did in a scant three days is testament to your planning — even if it was not as detailed a plan as that prepared for past journeys. It was, apparently, enough. Plus, now you have a more informed idea of which sites (along with clearer visual images in your mind’s eye) you might enjoy viewing when you visit again.

  • 03/25/11
    5:58 pm

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    Lisa said...

    Mette – Ha! Needless to say my goal would be to get you to want to come and see for yourself:).

    Naurnie – My pleasure. Thank you.

    Wally – Oh the fireflies must be absolutely beautiful! Thank you.

    Marguerite – What a wonderful way for your son to get his feet wet in life and a career. Next trip, I’m going.

    Easy and Elegant – Ha!. Sounds like Houston! And Reggie Darling also recommends the East Wing. I will have to give it a shot.

    Emily – Good tip. And completely new to me. Thank you.

  • 03/25/11
    5:58 pm

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    Lisa said...

    DocP – You are a more elevated person than I. Seriously.

    janet -:p

    RoseAG – I didn’t think about Maryland, but I can imagine it.

    Flo – You are really way too kind. But I appreciate it very much. As I was the one behind the camera, no pictures of me in D.C. exist. I might be able to get the best friend to allow a photo of the boy children to surface. The best is them bored, sitting on the steps of the Library of Congress, as we listened to the tour guide:).

    rb – I have heard, in the wind, that DC Cupcakes is overrated just for cupcakes alone. But one goes to experience something one has seen on TV, and that is kind of fun. For kids especially. And, the Hornet, hmmm. Thank you.

  • 03/25/11
    5:59 pm

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    Lisa said...

    Ezza – You are right that my trip covered no new ground. On the other hand, with 2.5 days in D.C., having never been before, I HAD to see the tried and true. My goal was to let anyone who is daunted by the idea of a trip like this, see just how easy it is. And I do think some of my readers’ suggestions are a little more insider-ish. I just didn’t have time. We didn’t take the Metro so much because we wanted to be on buses. I like to see cities, just tour around, and have done so in Delhi and Paris, happily.

    And how did I not know the Smithsonian was multiple museums? Um. Good point:). Now remedied. The description of my trip may be poor, but the trip itself couldn’t have been further from sad.

    Reggie – You are a gentleman, as always, and a modern one at that.

    Rubiatonta – Yes. Girls too. I agree. Thank you. And thank you for coming to my aid. Much appreciated.

    Silvia – Thank you!

  • 03/25/11
    5:59 pm

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    Lisa said...

    Stephanie – Thank you. Oh, if we had just planned a little better we could have gotten there this time. But it’s kind of fun to have stuff waiting for me on my return.

    Carla – Oh wow. We drove cross country, on Route 66, when I was young. I wonder if it was in the Transportation exhibit I walked through, and I just didn’t notice?

    Staircase Witch – Had I not been with the boys, I’d have liked to eat in the restaurant that has the second story, sitting in the middle of the station entryway lobby.

    Sylvie – Oh thank you. I can imagine, in my mind’s eye, the snow on cherry blossoms.

    Elsa Louise – Thank you. I had such low expectations, it was so spur of the moment, and the city is so eye-opening, that everything really combined to make a wonderful visit.

  • 03/25/11
    8:52 pm

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    Kate said...

    This post makes me miss DC so much! I even miss the crazy afternoon rush on the metro. Sounds like a great trip. Such a wonderful city!

  • 03/26/11
    9:53 am

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    quintessence said...

    Wow – I think I’m going to have to print this out or bookmark or something to help me remember this post! I want to take my youngest to DC at some point and obviously this would be of enormous assistance!!

  • 03/26/11
    11:52 am

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    Jane Keller said...

    If you go back to Georgetown in the future, go up Wisconsin avenue about three blocks and on your right you will find the Christ Child thrift store. This place abounds in fine antiques, art and up stairs, old silver,crystal and beautiful jewelry. I bought an esquisite emerald ring there. well worth a visit.

  • 03/27/11
    11:59 am

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    Staircase Witch said...

    The two-story restaurant in the middle of the main hall at Union Station is the Center Cafe. Had my mother not sent me off on my journey with an enormous bag of ham sandwiches and chocolate applesauce cake, I probably would have eaten there, too–many of their ingredients seemed to come from the Chesapeake Bay.

    Just an afterthought–for anyone particularly interested in supporting local artisans wherever they travel, there is also a gallery in Union Station called Appalachian Spring–there’s a good selection of gorgeous arts and crafts from around the Blue Ridge. Brought back memories of my years in Charlottesville.

  • 03/27/11
    4:38 pm

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    Jessica said...

    Oh my…I was finally able to have a proper sit and read this post thoroughly…it’s absolutely wonderful! I hope we’re able to be with our nephews for their first trip to DC…they’re 5 & 3 now so it will be a bit, but the information here is perfect and it will serve well when the time comes. I’ll tell my sis-in-law about it.
    My next trip will include Mount Vernon and Monticello…I’ve never been and it’s a dream of mine…and also a revisit to Dean & Deluca in Georgetown, that was pure love!
    Thank you so much Lisa…
    xo J~

  • 03/28/11
    8:42 am

    Reply

    Tara said...

    Extraordinarily sound advice! “Stand to the right” on the escalators, indeed! And definitely avoid rush hour! I can still remember as a young working woman on the Metro being horrified at the number of tourists who were nearly stampeded when they stood in confusion on the left, as well as those trying to force strollers onto trains that were already packed like sardines. Wonderful choices, from restaurants to activities, too! (I have particular fondness for Old Ebbit and Teaism!)

  • 03/29/11
    7:54 am

    Reply

    Lisa said...

    Kate – I can imagine it would be really hard to move away.

    quintessence – I would be honored!

    Jane – Thank you for the tip. Much appreciated.

    Staircase Witch – Center Cafe. Got it. Thank you.

    Jessica – Thank you so much. I hope you go with your nephews and have a wonderful time.

    Tara – Ha! No stampede casualties, please!:)

  • 03/29/11
    12:39 pm

    Reply

    Blighty said...

    Thanks for this very informative post, really want to visit DC now – and pandas too!

  • 03/31/11
    2:38 pm

    Reply

    Janel said...

    Well done — if only we had your guide for every city. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Safely copied and stored away for the day I plan the D.C. trip with my grandchildren.

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