Last year, pretty much everyone in my grade went to Washington, DC, as a continuation of our studies of Colonial times.
My family and I had agreed that it would be better if I didn't go, so that we could all visit DC together, as a family, a couple years later. So I stayed behind with one of my friends, playing around during school hours and having a generally good time.
However, I would still look almost forlornly at all the photos my other friends showed me of their time in DC. I would think about all the fun they might've had, and hope that my family and I could visit there soon. I never knew how quickly my wish would be granted.
Fast forward about six months: my family and I decide to travel to New York and Washington, DC, over one of my and my brother's school break. We also decided to bring our dog, Scout. Thrilled, my mom and I started to look for dog-friendly places to stay in DC, and the George (a Kimpton hotel) came up. We showed the hotel to the rest of our family, and we all agreed it would be the perfect place to stay during our four-day trip to Washington, DC.
Once we arrived, I eagerly explored the smaller, boutique hotel with my brother. Our room, quaint and extremely comfortable, had two queen beds and a pull out sofa, which my brother slept on. The room was basically designed in honor of George Washington, so included in it were the appearance of the Declaration of Independence and cute pillows that resembled his shirt.
The staff were very friendly to Scout as well and even had a jar of dog biscuits, which they offered to her as soon as we walked her into the lobby.
But the best thing about the George was its quintessential location. We didn't realize this while booking the hotel, but we were only a block away from Union Station. Union Station is much like the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or the underground restaurants at the Plaza in New York, if you've ever been to either of those places. A beautiful building, with plenty of incredible grab-and-go restaurants to eat at, we found Union Station to be our go-to place for meals. We especially enjoyed Shake Shack, a comfort food-like restaurant that has amazing hamburgers, milkshakes, and fries.
And then, of course, began the sight-seeing. We went to all the places an average tourist in Washington DC would go to - the Lincoln Memorial, the Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Washington Monument, the White House, and the Capitol, just to name a few. But we also wanted to mention the places that people traveling to DC usually don't think of.
The World War II Memorial: With its bronze tablets depicting fighting soldiers and Jews being freed from concentration camps, the awe-inspiring fountain, and the stars to show just how many Americans have passed away due to the War, the World War II Memorial is a must-see. Some part or another of the memorial made us all deeply touched, and some of us even teared up. The murmuring water provides a contemplative backdrop as we walked through and began to get a small sense of what life was like during the war.
The Jefferson Memorial: we visited the Jefferson Memorial just as the sun was setting on the horizon, streaking the sky with incredible purple and orange hues. We walked up the marble steps (much like the Lincoln Memorial) and stood, awestruck, gazing up at the domed memorial. As we stepped inside, we saw the giant, bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson and his eloquent words carved into the marble walls of the memorial behind him. The statue looks out to a beautiful, serene lake. It couldn't have been a more beautiful moment.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial: We took a short walk from the Jefferson Memorial to go see the FDR Memorial. It was dark by now, so the usual crowds of tourists had disappeared. When we arrived at the memorial, I think we were a little surprised to find that it stretched out over the length of a few blocks. The memorial, with murmuring waterfalls, beautiful granite chunks of stone, and Roosevelt's infamous, poetic quotes carved into the chunks of stone, moved us all in ways we couldn't quite describe. It was really an amazing moment. Since it was so quite and dark outside, we just browsed through the memorial, reading the quotes, and didn't really speak much. But that's what made the moment so perfect and beautiful; the simplicity yet beauty of the memorial itself.
The Spy Museum: Although a little bit farther away from the main area of DC, the Spy Museum is something all families should go to. My brother and I really loved the interactive yet surprisingly historical displays. The museum begins with a spy-like, mysterious elevator, which brings visitors up a few stories and to a room, where we picked different code names for each other. We then went on to a series of different displays, which included information on actual, historical events involving spies, a tunnel that you can crawl through, interactive games to test your spy skills, and of course, an entire room on James Bond. Overall, it was a very fun, fascinating experience that the entire family enjoyed.
The American Indian Museum: We first saw the American Indian Museum while walking past it to the Air and Space Museum. It stood out to us because of its artistic appearance. We spent only an hour and a half at the Air and Space Museum, and while we admired the world's achievements in the sky, we felt like we wanted to still see more. We decided to try the American Indian Museum, and as soon as we entered we knew we wouldn't be disappointed. The Museum contained beautiful Native American artwork, history, and architecture. We all found it extremely fascinating, since I had studied Native Americans a couple years ago, and my brother was currently studying it. We learned about the Trail of Tears, saw incredible artwork and weavings, and learned so much more than we could have expected about Native Americans and their history.
A little bit about us...
We're a family of four (a daughter, a son, and their mother and father.... oh, and a six-month old Standard Poodle puppy). But we all share one thing in common: our love of travel and adventure!
Hotel of the Month
Solage Calistoga: the image of perfection. We stayed here recently on our trip to Napa Valley and couldn't have been more amazed at this stunning resort. The rooms, each one an individual cottage, were immaculate and private. The property itself contained multiple pools and other amenities, all of which were designed beautifully. One of our favorite parts had to be the Michelin-star restaurant, which served some of the best food we'd ever eaten. Solage Calistoga was the perfect fit for our family (and dog!), and we are eager to stay there again.