Driving, Gorgeous Land, and Rain!

09 May

Day 6, Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday we actually didn’t get to do a whole lot of stuff, because this was the day we drove to our second hotel in northern Virginia so we are closer to D.C.

On the way up I happened to catch a glimpse of one of those famous brown history signs and asked my son if he wanted to go to a battlefield. He was up for it, so off to Fredericksburg we went. We went to the visitor center where the man working there gave us a nice little talk and then we followed the trail they had along with various signs explaining the battle and things we saw along the trail.

There was a house that was actually there during the battle and it displayed bullet holes as proof. There was an actual part, as well as a reconstructed area, of a stone wall that was there the Rebel army hid behind, as well as some monuments and a soldier cemetery, where there were something like 30,000 buried, but most in mass graves because only less than 3,000 could be identified.

We also had time at the end of the day to sneak in a visit to Mount Vernon , though we really should have had more time for it.  It is GORGEOUS!!! The grounds, the house, the location on the river – both my son and I agreed we’d both gladly move to Mount Vernon to live. The house is impressive and that land and the layout is awesome. Interestingly enough, George and Martha’s tomb is there and they are still laid to rest there, but it was an interesting sight to see.

Overall it was a day well-spent.

Day 7, Tuesday May 7, 2013

Today we had our reservations for the Capitol Building, so our day mostly revolved around the fact that we had reservations at 2:00. I wasn’t quite sure exactly what else we’d do today, but then the weather decided it for us. It RAINED. LOTS AND LOTS OF RAIN!!!

We battled buying cards for the Metro (not a fun task – it’s waaaaaaay easier and less complicated buying a Metrocard in NYC) but it was very easy to figure out the lines, much like the NYC subway system, so that wasn’t too bad. The weather was a bit gray and cool like it has been, but I figured we could deal with that. My son even asked if he had to wear his warmer waterproof coat because so far it’s been cool, with no rain, but I insisted he wear it because he has a bit of a cold.

Two minutes after emerging from the Metro, right near the Smithsonian Castle, it started raining and basically didn’t stop for quite awhile. We made our way into the Information Center to avoid the few drops that were coming and I decided for sure to go to the American Indian Museum, an idea I’d been juggling around in my head. It really wasn’t a far walk, but trust me, in the pouring rain it’s pretty far, especially if you’re trying to avoid puddles to keep your feet as dry as possible. We were SOAKED by the time we got there. Not to mention, they had the AC on, so being wet and cold wasn’t all that fun. It was an interesting museum though, with lots to see.

A bit of my problem with wet feet was solved at the Air and Space Museum, where we went for lunch. Some woman was in the bathroom and I noticed she was using the air dryer to dry her socks! I asked her to verify if that’s what she was doing (it looked like a pretty good idea, but I didn’t want to be the only one doing it) and though it appeared she didn’t speak English she showed me she was holding her socks up to the dryer and I gave her a thumbs up because I thought it was an awesome idea. After she left I was there drying my socks and shoes under the dryer and someone else thought that was a good idea too, so there we were dominating the dryers with our socks while people were trying to dry their hands! I moved to let people in, but I wasn’t going to give up till I was done. I DESPISE wet feet! Warm socks made me feel 100% better so it was totally worth it. (Pretty simple idea actually, not sure why I never thought to consider it, despite the fact I had already planned a date between my shoes and the hair dryer later on to dry them out.)

Anyway, we had our tour of the Capitol with an interesting tour guide. Since we arrived there early, and getting through security didn’t take that long, they bumped up our time to 1:30 instead of 2:00 so we didn’t have to wait around any longer than necessary. My son found out he was doing something illegal as he sat on the floor while waiting in line – doing so is considered a form of protest and if you don’t stand up after their third time of asking you to stand they will “escort you out.” You watch a short film before you go on the tour which is pretty interesting. There was lots to take pictures of and I learned on lot on this tour, unlike my previous experience on such a tour back on our class trip many years ago. My child seemed more interested in taking pictures than listening to the guide, but afterwards, when I asked him to tell me 2 things he had learned, he was able to do so quite quickly, so I was pleased overall with our experience with it.

Since we still had a bit of time left we headed back over to the Air and Space Museum to actually check out what it had to offer, and not just eat there. My child loved it, and basically he was able to do whatever and go wherever he chose (I followed, it wasn’t a total free for all) with a little guidance from me (he would have missed a few exhibits if I hadn’t nudged him in that direction). He had a blast, especially in the areas that were extremely hands on. For the most part it was pretty boring for me, minus a couple of things they had regarding Amelia Earhart since that story has always been fasicinating to me, but other than that I was tired, wet and sloshy, and bored out of my mind. I seriously believe this was the most boring place I’ve ever been to. Of course, we went for him though, and if he liked it, that’s what matters.

It was a pretty good day though. Wet or not, we were able to turn it into a memorable, fun experience.

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