A Weekend in Washington, D.C.

Alrighty, folks. Now that this whole crazy election thing is over, I can get back to business!

I got back from my Washington, D.C. trip a few days ago, but have been so busy with work and this election and getting ready for my next trip (tomorrow) to Columbus, that I really haven’t had time to post anything about my little weekend getaway. Plus, I’ve been trying to get a head start on my Christmas shopping so that’s been taking up a bit of time also. (Sidenote: I heard my first Christmas song of the season on the radio at Paper Source yesterday. IT’S HERE.)

So lemme just give ya a quick rundown of my first ever trip to Washington, D.C.

First thing on our list was a trip to the National Zoo. My mom and I have always wanted to see pandas, but there aren’t many zoos around us that have them. Actually, I don’t think there are many zoos in the whole U.S. that have them since technically all pandas are owned by China and then loaned out to zoos or institutions across the world. (Sorry for the bad photo quality…I had to take the photos through some seriously dirty, glass windows.)

Anyway, we were lucky because all four of the National Zoo’s pandas were quite active when we there. And when I say active I mean they were awake and eating. Which I guess is pretty active for a panda. They were so cute and playful, especially the one-year-old panda, Bei Bei.

The zoo, in general, was really impressive. And it’s FREE! We spent most of our time at the panda exhibit, but we also stopped to see the big cats and primates. We didn’t have a ton of time since they close earlier in the off-season, but we saw what we wanted to see and then headed back.

Friday, we rented a car and drove to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate for the day.

This was probably my favorite thing we did on our trip. But then again, I’m a pretty big history nerd (I minored in History in college) so if you’re not into that kind of thing, you may not find it as exciting. But I freakin loved it! I also realized that I really want an estate now. Minus the slaves, of course. But I wouldn’t mind a big house overlooking the river with some gardens and a greenhouse on the property and maybe some stables. I would prefer my bathrooms to be inside, however. None of this outhouse (aka “necessary”) stuff.

Anyway, we also took a National Treasure tour while we were there. They took us into some off-limits areas and showed us where they filmed some scenes from the National Treasure: Book of Secrets movie. Other than that, we just walked around the property, enjoyed a delicious lunch at the inn restaurant, took a tour of the mansion, and visited George and Martha’s tomb.

It was pretty amazing to see the final resting place of our nation’s first president, and to see the place where he lived for most of his life. I have to say that one of the most amazing things I learned is that the whole estate is run by a group of women called The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. So thanks to those ladies for preserving a really awesome piece of American history.

On our last day, we spent the morning walking around the National Mall, visiting some of the monuments and museums. We also stopped by the White House to say hey to the prez. (Although I have no idea if he was even home.)

My favorite stop was definitely the Lincoln Memorial.

Abraham Lincoln has always been my favorite president and I will say that his monument was one of the more impressive ones. As it should be. The guy was pretty awesome. If saving the Union and freeing the slaves doesn’t get you a pretty sweet monument, I don’t know what will.

I also really enjoyed the Korean War memorial. It was definitely the most interesting of all the war memorials (IMO), and it held a little bit more meaning to me since my grandpa served in the army during the Korean War.

After a quick stop for brunch, we headed to Arlington National Cemetery.

It was a truly humbling place and it put a lot of things in perspective for me. The Tomb of the Unknowns and the Changing of the Guard ceremony were really incredible and I highly recommend doing that if you are ever in the area.

We ended the day back at the National Mall. We had a little less than an hour before all the museums closed so we made a quick visit to the National Museum of American History. I would have loved to do several of the other museums, but we just ran out of time. But it just gives me another reason to go back!

We ended our trip with dinner and drinks in Metro Center where I got to meet up with one of my best friends and her husband who are in the process of moving to the area. I’m excited because that means I get to go back and do the million and a half other things I didn’t get to do on this trip! Yay!

Hope you enjoyed that summary of my trip! I’m back on the road tomorrow! Heading to Columbus, Ohio…this time for a hockey game and to visit my cousin at Ohio State University. Check back for a post on that trip!

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