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Trip Report DC Trip report

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Brief Overview: DH and I spent a long weekend (Aug 4-7) in DC, with a few hours in Baltimore on Sunday. Stayed at Homewood Suites on Mass Ave NW. Did a Hop on Hop Off Tour at night and the next day.
DH and I took a nonstop flight from our home in Panama City, FL to Baltimore Thursday afternoon. We chose this route for three reasons -- we could fly nonstop, we had to use unused travel funds by Aug 7, and our fare was less than $150. pp roundtrip. This was our first time to fly Southwest and we were a bit disappointed that the crew behaved just like any other airline crew -- no jokes, dancing, etc.. We had reserved a full size car, and easily got on the road within 20 minutes of retrieving our luggage. We brought a portable GPS unit from home, plus I had printed mapquest directions. We arrived at our hotel in DC by 10:10 pm. Check in was a breeze. Note: We had reserved rooms at the Capitol Hill Suites for $67.00 per night through Expedia. We received a call a few weeks ago that we would have to stay at the Homewood Suites on Mass Ave NW. Expedia honored our same rate, gave us a $100. credit and upgraded us to a king bed.
About our room-- we had a separate living room/kitchen, which included a small table, sofa, ottoman, chair, a two burner stove, dishwasher, full size refrig,and microwave. Flat screen TV in both the living room and separate bedroom. Free internet access. We frequently stay at Hilton properties and have found them to be consistently clean and comfortable. After getting our luggage to our room, we set out on foot to a find a bite to eat. By this time, it is almost 10:45 pm. The neighborhood was still alive and we felt very safe walking. We got directions to Frankie's, a little sandwich/pizza place a few blocks away and had a quick meal. We then stopped at a CVS for a diet coke to tide me over in the morning. We got to bed around 1:00 am.
As I had mentioned in an earlier post, DH specifically wanted to tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is only open weekdays. We got up at 6:15 am and had the complementary Homewood Suites hot breakfast buffet. The buffet included juices, coffee, milk, scramble eggs, bacon, hash browns, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, fruits,toast, bagels, muffins, and cereal. The buffet was fine -- about what you would expect from a buffet. The seating area was not crowded at 6:30, and the staff kept restocking food as needed.
Thanks to Fodorites suggestions, we left the hotel around 7:00 am so we would be in line early for tickets. We asked the front desk for a taxi, and the bellman called over a man who claimed to be a taxi driver. I was wary, as he did not have a marked cab, and I had heard about hotels that steer you to someone instead of calling a cab. DH asked the man how much for the ride to BEP, and he said $12.00. Thanks to Fodorites, I had already researched fares through a website, hop something, and knew that $12.00 was probably about right, so we got in the man's SUV. He dropped us off on the wrong side of the BEP -- we still had to walk around the building to find the line, but we arrived in plenty of time to get tickets for the 9:00 tour. I think there were only about 40 people ahead of us in line. We chatted with some people in line ahead of us and the time flew by. It was breezy and very comfortable compared to our brutal Florida heat.
The tour was interesting -- we got to see how money is made, and then spent a few minutes in the the gift shop. As we walked past the ticket booth around 9:45 am, there was no line, and there were signs that tickets were still available for a few late afternoon tours.
We walked to the Smithsonian Castle, and viewed the exhibits there. I was especially excited to see the football signed by Bear Bryan when he became the winningest coach (at that time) in college football, as I am a Bama fan. We walked back to the National Forestry building and collected literature. We have an interest in forestry, as we purchased some timberland last year and hope to harvest some of our pines in a few years. We walked a few more blocks and caught a cab back to our hotel. This time we paid only $8.00, but where we caught the cab was closer to our hotel.
We got our car and drove toward the Marine Base at Quantico. We had lunch at a small diner a few miles north of the main gate, then went in search of Raider Hll, a small museum honoring the raiders who fought in the Pacific in WWII. My brother's father-in-law was a member of Edson's Raider's so we wanted to see that particular museum . I misunderstood our directions, so we rode all through the Marine base before we reached Raider Hall. However, it was an enjoyable ride, as I had never been on a Marine Base. We thoroughly enjoyed the Raider museum.
After the museum, we drove to Old Town Alexandria, and walked all around. Then, we drove to Union Station where we purchased tickets for a night time tour of the Monuments on a Double Decker Tour Bus.
more to follow.

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