Last week we visited Washington DC because for once, I wasn’t at a convention or in meetings and could be a tourist! Thank goodness my hubby has spent so much time here while I was busy working because we didn’t even need a map! I just told him where I wanted to go and away we went!
Hotel: Hampton Inn in Silver Springs, MD. It was not a great hotel and I wouldn’t stay here again. We got there 40 minutes before 3pm which is check out time and there is absolutely no parking at the hotel so we had to drive around for 40 minutes before they would check us in. Plus we have to pay $15 per day for valet parking (which I did know when I made the reservation). When we did check in, we had to wait 30 minutes for a luggage cart and it seems that they only had 2 carts for people to share! They say on the website and in person that the metro is only 3 blocks away but I don’t know if they use a different counting method, but I counted 5 blocks! The ice machine doesn’t work on our floor and I have to go up 2 flights to find a working ice machine. Okay, enough complaining about the hotel!
Metro: We wanted to buy a week pass for the metro and tried 3 smartrip machines, had 3 workers trying to help us, plus put in a call to the credit card company but couldn’t get them at the metro. Finally they sent me to the CVS to buy our cards and then we had to come back to the metro to load the pass on the card. The card cost $10 plus $35 for the week pass (for non-peak times). After an hour of this adventure, we were finally on our way!
Day 1: We visited The Museum of Natural History, Chinatown, The Portrait Gallery, The Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Gallery, and the Freer Gallery.
Day 2: We spent the whole day at National Zoo. Due to some work on the metro lines, it took about 45 minutes to go from Silver Spring to the Woodley Park Station.
Day 3: We spent the day at the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of American History.
Day 4: Rainy! We spent the day at the Air and Space Museum.
Day 5: Heavy rains! We spent the day at the Postal Museum.
Day 6: The sun came out and the temperature climbed which made it a humid day but it was glorious. We walked over 24,000 steps/10+ miles for the day! We went to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, the Holocaust Museum, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the WWII memorial, the Vietnam War memorial, the Korean War memorial and the Department of Interior museum. When we got back to our hotel room, there was a baby crib in our room! Obviously they delivered this to the wrong room. Then around 9:30 we had a knock on our door from housekeeping and they said someone came by the front desk and asked that they send housekeeping to room 401! Wrong!
Things I Learned:
1. Bring a raincoat when you travel.
2. Wear comfortable shoes.
3. Be flexible because there may be long lines at one museum so plan an alternate.
4. Bring a snack and bottle of water with you.
5. Check for new exhibits or soon to be closing exhibits on line before you go.
6. Look at the weather when making plans. If you want to go to the zoo, you want to pick a day it isn’t supposed to rain.
7. Be prepared to go through security and be patient.
8. Don’t expect to absorb everything in one visit.
9. Buy a week’s pass for the metro so you don’t have to worry about getting on or off and having to pay more money.
10. Don’t forget to stop and eat lunch!
Original photo by Pat Hensley