We love DC- Sept 2017

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Saturday Sep 30, 2017 Under Claire, Cobey, DC, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Politics, Travel

Eisenstein Monument

 

I have lost count of how many times we have been to DC now. We go 2-3 times a year and it doesn’t get old. We still haven’t run out of things to do and I already can’t wait till the next trip. I love the beauty and the busyness. I love the patriotism.  I love monuments and memorials and the many memories. I love DC. We love DC.

22046677_10212278660536367_1347840394320054434_nThis trip was our annual homeschool group trip and it started with the FBI Experience. This is a new tour that just started back this summer. It is fabulous and was a highlight of the trip. They call it self-guided but there are several guides in the museum answering questions and telling you about the exhibits. The guides are really what make the experience so ask questions. The focus is to not glorify the criminals.  (kind of the opposite of the Mob Museum) The true heroes are not the criminals but law enforcement. You have to get tickets through a congressional office so plan ahead and request tickets.

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22007427_10212278665256485_3453032526591892642_nOur second stop was a program at the National Archives Museum. This was our second program with them. It was Civil War: Commemorate or Celebrate. I thought the program we did last year was better but Cobey said he liked this one better. Claire liked both but liked last year because she got to be the archivist. The lady in charge of the program told Claire she needed to come intern there which would really be up her alley.

 

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From there we had a tour with Brian at Bi-Partisan Tours. He always does a great job of packing in the sights and stories. This time we ate at Pinstripes in Georgetown. (the meatballs were delicious by the way) Senator Thom Tillis stopped by to say hello which was a special treat. We went to Einstein, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam, Korean, Jefferson, Air Force,  and World War II.  This time the first part of the tour was in the day which is a totally different perspective. You really need to see them all during the day and at night.

 

22090022_10212284518202805_7324207146161745628_n22308552_10155632335148950_1725879026251298101_nDay Two started early with a tour of the White House.  Believe it or not, this was our first time to tour the White House. It was nice and I am glad we did it but we can now mark it off the list.  It goes in the category of Pentagon Tour which is we are glad we did but probably won’t do it again. You must also get these tickets through your congressional office, so again plan ahead.

 

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22140847_10212284519642841_5807573842866149943_nWe spent an amazing afternoon set up by Tillis’s office with visits from Senator Burr, Representative Holding, Representative Hudson and Representative Rouser. We were so blessed to be able to see both Senators and three US Representatives during our visit. I am grateful that they took time out of their busy schedule to visit with us.  We then went to National Museum of Natural History which we had not been too since the kids were little. We liked that mineral exhibit and the African culture exhibit but not our favorite place in town.

 

22050247_10212292408120048_7089886286547203859_nDay Three started off; well. I will be honest. We slept in. My feet hurt and we didn’t have anything scheduled so we took the morning off. We discovered Ben’s Chilli Bowl down from our Brownstone which we loved. There are several locations so check them out for hamburgers, hotdog and of course chili. They are a DC institution. After lunch, we had a program at the Spy Museum. It was on the Cuban Missile Crisis and used real documents that have now been declassified. It was very well put together and executed. I think the kids learned a lot. We then explored the museum for a few hours which is always one of the kid’s favorites.

22008351_10212292412080147_5733731190625529386_nWe then ended the day with a DC By Foot tour of Embassy Row. It was fantastic. Our group’s guide was Bob and he was so knowledgeable, engaging and relatable. I loved how he talked in terms the kids could relate to for example calling the newspaper that was put out 10 times a day the first twitter.  The tour was a highlight of the trip for me. He told us so many stories that I had no idea about. I now have many more places to visit on my next trip because of the stories he told. I would do another tour with them in a minute and I would request Bob from Asheville.

Cobey’s favorite parts of the trip were the Bi-Partisan Tour and Spy Museum. Claire’s favorites were the Bi-Partisan Tour “which included seeing Senator Tillis”, FBI Experience, and DC by Foot Embassy Tour. Three other places we ate that we enjoyed were Poke Papa, Moxie’s and Choong Man Chicken and Seafood.

Oh! And September is the best time of the year to go!  See you next time DC!21768111_10212278664136457_8421956922817056226_n

 

 

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Five Days in DC

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday Jan 11, 2015 Under Claire, Cobey, Good Eats/Not So Good Eats, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Politics, Travel

Arriving DC at Union Station We had the most fabulous time in DC.  I have decided it was a great week because even though it was bitter cold and it snowed, the museums were empty.  Also, the hotels were a lot cheaper.

Triple Chocolate Bread PuddingWe stayed in a Hilton Garden Inn on First Street. It was a newer hotel and the staff was some of the best we have experienced. We ate several times at the restaurant for breakfast, dinner and snacks. The service was good and the food was very good. We loved the triple chocolate bread pudding.  There is a Harris Teeter attached so you can easily pick up anything you may have forgotten or some snacks.  I highly recommend the hotel.

We used Uber for the first time and we also loved that. It was easy and cheap and kept us from freezing. Most of the time it was cheaper for the three of us to take Uber than to take the metro. They were fast, friendly and professional.

The only disadvantage that I found for that time of year was worrying about travel to get there. We solved that by taking the train. The train worked out well for us. We didn’t have any long delays. We ended up getting to sit together. We ended up saving money when you factor in gas and parking in DC.  I would do it again..

Day One  

National World War II Memorial When we arrived, we were picked up at Union Station by Brian with Bi-Partisan Tours for a private night time tour of DC. If you can only do one thing in DC, do a tour with them. It was fabulous. We saw all the monuments, the White House, US Capitol, Ford’s Theater and more.  We got great information that was interesting and fun.  It was the best overview in the shortest amount of time.

 

 

 

 

 

Day Two

 

Swearing In of Thom Tillis

The Crowd

 

Cobey and Senator Thom Tillis

We spent the day watching and celebrating the swearing in of our newest Senator Thom Tillis. It was a wonderful ending of two years of hard work. We started out with a tour of the US Capitol which was interesting and the rotunda is just beautiful.  After watching the swearing in, we then had time before the evening party. We dropped in the Botanical Gardens with our friends the Mixons. The gardens were just beautiful and worth a stop in, We loved the statues of all the monuments.

Cobey at Botanical Gardens

 

Day Three 

We started the day at the National Archives with a tour and possibly future appearances on 60 minutes. (They were filming a show) We really didn’t have a long time there but it was interesting and Claire enjoyed the Kid’s room. We had lunch at the cafeteria which was good not great.

National Cathedral Creche Exhibit

10891533_10204606208129852_1856787978464719168_nThe magic of the day started when Claire and I went to the National Cathedral for Tea and a Tour. We arrived a little early for our tour so we were able to visit the Creche Exhibit.  Since I collect them, it was probably my favorite exhibit in DC.  It is an annual exhibit and so worth the visit if you are there at the right time. They are from around the world and all very unique. Afterward, we had the best tour of the cathedral. It is so beautiful and has so much history. Our tour guide was awesome..  We ended our visit with a very special tea in the tower. It is not overly pricey and so worth it.

 

 

Hudson and the BoysWhile the girls where having tour and tea, Cobey was with friends having another tour of the Capitol. He said the tour was fabulous. It was set up by one of our favorite people, US Congressman Richard Hudson.  They also got to sit in the gallery and meet with Hudson.  That night he told me he wished Hudson was our representative.

We all met up and had dinner at the Matchbox which was really good and a great ending to the day.

Day Four 

Rail Car in Holocaust MuseumWith two days left, I let each child have a day to decide what they wanted to do. Claire got to pick this day and she started us out at the Holocaust Museum. She has read a lot of books on the time period and had been wanting to go. She liked the section geared toward kids – Daniel’s Story but she was disappointed in the rest. She thought the one in Richmond was better.  We had lunch at the museum cafe which we really enjoyed. They had several Jewish dishes that were different and good.

After lunch, we went to the Museum of History.  We  could have spent a lot more time there. They enjoyed the food and transportation exhibit but Claire’s favorite was the First Ladies’ Inaugural Gowns. She absolutely loved this collection and wants to go back. We then rushed over to the National Postal Museum. Brian on the first night had told Claire about Owney, the postal dog and she really wanted to go.  It is a smaller museum but one of our favorites. I highly recommend trying to fit it in your visit.

We had dinner across the street at Kelly’s Irish Times. The food was good but the service was terrible. I got the feeling we were not welcome at all. I am not sure whether it was because we were not local or because I had the kids.

Claire and Owney

 

Day Five

Berlin Wall

National Building MusemThis was Cobey’s day and he made some great choices. We started out  at the Newseum  This was my first time at this museum and I loved it!! It had great interactive and interesting exhibits.It is like seeing history thru the lens of news reports.  This museum needs to be on your list. We stopped in at the National Building Museum. You should at least go in and take a look at this magnificent building. It is one of the most beautiful in DC. You can walk around for free but there is a cost to go into the exhibits. I would say skip the exhibits and enjoy the beautiful building and great gift shop.

Our last stop and Cobey’s favorite of the day was the International Spy Museum. It is a very interesting and fun museum. You start by getting a spy identity which the kids really got into. It was neat seeing history through the perspective of spying. The museums ends with a James Bond exhibit. We left the next morning to come back home. We could have easily stayed another week and can’t wait for our next visit.

International Spy Museum

Cobey’s Favorite – Tour of Richard Hudson                                                                            Honorable Mention – International Spy Museum

Claire’s Favorite- Bi-Partisan Tour                                                                             Honarable Mention Owney at the National Postal Museum, First Lady Gowns & International Spy

My Favs- Bi-Partisan Tour, Tour and Tea at the National Cathedral, Creche Exhibit, Newseum.

Favorite Place to Eat- Matchbox

 

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