Washington DC trip report

Old Apr 24th, 2005, 03:23 PM
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Washington DC trip report

Okay, we're back! We spent four nights in DC after spending four nights in Williamsburg. Ours kids are "educationed" out! I'm just going to talk about DC here.

We stayed at the Carylye Suites in Dupont Circle. We really liked the hotel. I had read mixed reviews, but here's my review. It was myself, husband, 16 y/o girl and 11 y/o boy. Our room/suite was really large. We had a corner space with two beds and a pull-out couch. The kitchen area had a small refrigerator, microwave, sink, two burner stove, utensils/dishes/pans. Like I had read, parking is difficult, but I knew that upfront. The first night we parked on the street, the rest of the time we got into their lot. We parked in the lot Wednesday morning, left Thursday afternoon, parked in the lot at midnight, and stayed there until Saturday checkout. Maybe we were just lucky, but I did know parking would be tough.
Contrary to my husband's opinion, I am easygoing about certain things!

My mixed feelings are about the bathroom. Typically my husband or I will jump in the shower, one of the kids will go to the bathroom, brush teeth, wash up, whatever. The problem here is the shower is a half shower door of clear glass so not really good for traveling with kids (no privacy). I don't know if all bathrooms are like this. We worked around it, not really a big deal, but something to be aware of. we didn't eat at the hotel. Our rate was $189. And they are upgrading their elevators for those who said they were awful.

We got into Washington about 4:00 p.m. Our first night we ate at Luna's in Dupont Circle. Very good food. Funky atmosphere. We walked around for a while, then headed back to hotel around 10:00. The next day we got up, had breakfast at Trio's (very good), took a cab to the Capitol area. We had a reserved tour at 10:40, although not with a staff member. We originally had a tour with a staff member on Thursday, but we were going to a Red Sox/Orioles game Thursday night and thought we would spend part of Thursday in Baltimore (ended up getting to Baltimore at 5:00), and the only tour we could get was Wednesday. The tour was good, but would have been better with a staff member. Had lunch at Library of Congress cafetaria. Okay food but expensive. Spent the rest of Wednesday exploring the Mall area and a couple of museums. Walked over to ESPN for dinner - food was good, over an hour wait, probably would not do it again. Management was awful. Left ESPN and walked by the White House. Ended up walking back to Dupont Circle.

I'm breaking this into two reports.
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Old Apr 24th, 2005, 08:26 PM
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I'm enjoying your trip report. Please post the rest as part of this thread to make it easier to find. ;-)

Lee Ann
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Old Apr 25th, 2005, 05:26 AM
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Hockeymom: I am enjoying your trip report too! Good details. I cut-and-pasted part 2 of your report here, so we could all read it at once. Hope you don't mind!

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Thursday got breakfast at McDonald's and brought it back to room. Took a cab to the Air and Space and American History Museum, then took a cab back to hotel to get ready for baseball game. Fun time at the game - thousands of Red Sox fans! Got back about midnight. FYI, tickets are cheap and easy to get. We got tickets behind home plate, up above the press box, and they were $20 each. Try to get any ticket at Fenway. Had typical baseball food at the ballpark.

Friday morning got up, had breakfast at Kramers Books (first time my kids had to use a token to go to the bathroom - the servers give them to customers). Very fun place to eat and check out. We then got Metro day pass and went to Union Station. Found out about Tourmobile monument tours at night. Spent the day sightseeing, walking, saw monuments, etc. Went to Holocaust Museum and went into the Children's Room - Daniel's Story. We used the Metro pass a lot. Could have used it the other days as well, since we did take a few cab rides. We went on Tourmobile at night. It was great. I've read good and bad views. Our guide was Rich or Rick. He was really good. I think it was four stops where we got out. It was about 3 1/2 hours long. Definitely worth the money! Even though we saw some of the things during the day, we really didn't know what we were seeing. We got back to our hotel about midnight again.

Saturday got up, packed up, checked out and went to breakfast at Annie's Steakhouse in Dupont Circle. It was kind of pricey, but we didn't eat another meal for eight hours. It was very good. We drove to Arlington National Cemetary and took the Tourmobile. It was really good. Lots of people just walk the cemetary, but we found the narration very interesting. You get out at the Kennedy gravesites, the Lee house, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - it was a very moving experience. The tour was really informative. We left the cemetary and drove to the FDR Memorial. We had seen it the night before but I wanted to see it during the day. Couldn't find parking so husband and kids waited in car - they had had enough!

Got on the road at 3:30 p.m. and arrived at our house in Massachusettss at 12:13 a.m.

Here's what we learned - we should have gotten Spy Museum and Washington Monument tickets online before we left home. If you want to go to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, the line starts forming about 6:30 a.m. The line for Washington Monument starts about 7:00. Tickets for the permanent Holocaust Museum are given out starting at 9:15 or so. It just didn't work for us. You definitely can't see everything. Make a list and prioritize. We were out 12-14 hours a day and still didn't get to everything. We didn't do the daytime Tourmobile around Washington but did do the nighttime and Arlington Mational Cemetary. Enjoyed both of them. Before you get places, check to see if you can bring in drinks or food in backpacks. The Capitol you can't bring anything in at all. You have to throw everything away. Some places you can just bring bottled water. The information is available so you know ahead of time. Look on this board or get a Fodor's or Frommer's book. There are hundreds of school kids everywhere you go.

Sorry this is so long. Hopefully this will help somebody. I know I got a lot of information from here before we left.
Thanks to everyone who helped me.



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Old Apr 25th, 2005, 06:49 AM
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We brought a French exchange student to DC last weekend and had some of the same experiences. ESPN Zone was a perfect place for our group of teens to have lunch but the service left much to be desired. When we were told that it would be a 20 min wait, we bought sodas at the bar to carry around the games with us. Later at our table our waiter told us we had to go upstairs to the bar to get refills!

We were also disappointed to miss out on the Washington Memorial. The web site makes it appear that prepurchased tickets are mailed so you must buy them days before your visit. There is a will call booth right near the monument. Tickets were sold out for the entire day before 11 am.

I don't know what they are building around the monument but it looks horrible. It used to be such a pretty vista from the monument over the reflecting pool. I was ashamed to have our French student see the mall. It really looks bad right now.
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Old Apr 25th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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I'm glad you're enjoying my report. I find trip reports really helpful when planning our trips. You can learn a lot in advance.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:33 PM
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ttt for new poster wanting DC information
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 05:47 AM
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Question about the Holocaust Museum, as I may have the opportunity next month to visit D.C. with my 5 and 9-year-old nieces. I understand there's a children's room (Daniel's story). For which age range is it designed? Would anything there or elsewhere in the museum be too intense for a 5-year-old?
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 06:59 AM
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fisd, Daniel's Story was developed for elementary and junior high aged kids. Lots of school groups visit. It's extremely well done and would be appropriate for the 9 YO. IMO, 5 is too young for a visit to the Holocaust Museum.
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 04:50 PM
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I would agree that 9 or 10 is appropriate for Daniel's story, but probably not any younger. Even though this is a "children's area," it is still fairly intense. I would not take a 5 y/o. There is so much else in D.C. to do! Have a great time.
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 05:18 PM
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Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!
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