Washington DC, October 2017

We spent a short week in Washington D.C. in mid October. We camped at a state park outside of town that had easy access to metro and highways. We spent one day exploring Capitol Mall and one day exploring Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.

The Pohick State Park was very nice. Our site backed to a playground and giant field, so the girls were set. There was a few walking trails that went to and overlooked the lake. There was also a water park, but it was closed for the season. I had quite a few enjoyable dog walks in the area.

We took one day to tour the Capitol Mall. Our first stop was lunch. We bought an overpriced, subpar lunch, but we enjoyed our picnic on the lawn anyway!

We pointed out the important landmarks, but I’m not sure how impressed the girls were. We had been studying civics and government, but it hadn’t been a major theme. Nonetheless, we pointed out Congress and the Supreme Court. We did get a glimpse of the White House, but we didn’t walk to it. Our original idea was that we would return the next day, so we left some sightseeing for that. Unfortunately we didn’t end up returning, so we did miss a few things I wanted to see.

We took a long walk down the mall and stood under the Washington Monument. I did pick up a couple of JR Ranger worksheets, but we didn’t really have the time for them.

The WWII memorial is pretty close to the Monument, so we took a visit there and talked a bit about WWII to the girls and their family connections to the event.

The Reflecting Pool was our next visit, and we walked along it to get to the Lincoln Memorial. The girls are quite familiar with Lincoln, so they did get a lot from that. It was a pretty warm day, and the little legs were getting tired, so it was time to head back.

Our walk back incled the Vietnam Memorial, which is one of my favorite war memorials. I think it is jarring and it makes me cry every time.

To change things up a bit, we decided to hit up the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. All of the museums along the Mall are free, so it is an easy thing to go in and out at your leisure.

We went through a very nice butterfly house, saw some bones, took a quick visit through Ancient Egypt, and walked out through the Oceans exhibit! It was a fast visit, but we enjoyed ourselves.

For their good behavior, the girls got to ride the Carousel. They were thrilled about that, and so was Bear.

On our way back to the train, we walked through a small garden, which I thought was really pretty. I was impressed with their succulent displays especially!

The next day, we changed our mind about a visit to the Capitol Mall and decided to head to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. I fully recommend this trip, the entire estate is open to walk around. There is a Main Museum, another museum, a tour of the home (no pictures), gardens and farms (complete with heritage livestock) and probably more that’s slipping my mind.

On site there is also a Slave Memorial. We took a walk to it and explained how George Washington left the presidency knowing that he had not done what he should about slavery. He did free his slaves upon his death, but Mount Vernon did use slave labor and I was glad that it was recognized.

Also on site, it the resting place of George Washington himself. We took a moment there, I got a bit weepy. I find I’m embarrassingly sentimental when it comes to memorials.

Our trip to D.C. had come to a close. I felt we saw a good amount of sights and made use of our two days in the area.

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