Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Washington D.C.

Matt's uncle got married right outside of DC in Virginia at the beginning of September. I had always wanted to go to DC and I love weddings. We had to go! His uncle and his new wife are so sweet and it was such a special time. So glad we got to be a part. My husband and I spent 2 days with his family in Virginia and 2 days by ourselves in the city. It was so fun. The best way that I can describe DC is that it's America's scrapbook. So much history! So many things to see! It was my first time but Matt had been many times throughout his life. It was fun to experience it together. Here are a few things that we did in the short amount of time we were there that we loved. We can't wait to go back!

We were there August 30-September 4 over Labor Day weekend. It was the perfect time to go because there was no one there. We got to do way more than I planned on doing. 

The wedding was in Chantilly, VA and we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfax, VA. It was really nice and cozy. We drove up there with the fam in a rental car. 14 big thang. We left at 5:30 AM and got there at 10 PM. Wasn't too bad. 

The next day was rehearsal dinner day. We took advantage of our spare time before the dinner and spent the day at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. Note that there are 2 Smithsonian Air and Space Museums. One is in Chantilly, VA and the other is on the National Mall in DC. The Chantilly one is more about planes and the DC one is more about space. Since this was so far outside the city we didn't think we'd get to go. So glad we did! It was so cool. 

Here are some things they have:
Enola Gay (dropped atomic bomb on Hiroshima), an actual spaceship, Nazi planes, super old planes, military planes, FedEx's first plane, etc.

The day of the wedding we went to George Washington's estate, Mount Vernon. Such a beautiful place right on the Potomac River. It really brought history alive and it wasn't very expensive! 

Wedding! Isn't he cute!

The next day we woke up early and headed to DC by ourselves while the rest of the family drove home. The hotel had a free shuttle to the nearest Metro station in Fairfax. It was about $4 each to get from Fairfax to DC. MUCH cheaper than a cab ride. It was about an hour commute. We got off at the Metro station by our hotel. We stayed at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill. Beautiful view and very nice with a bar and restaurant in the lobby. I'm pretty sure it was less than $100 a night too!

400 New Jersey Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

Our room was ready when we got there at about 10:30 AM so we dumped our stuff and started exploring. We walked the ENTIRE National Mall. I was picturing it being ehhhhhh a half mile. It was 2.3 miles. My feet were killing me. We walked over 10 miles in the 2 days we were in the city. Wear your walking shoes!! We went from the Capitol Building to the Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial then to the White House. All before lunch!

After this we caught a Metro to go to Ray's Hell Burgers. Apparently the president frequents the place and Matt heard that it was good. OMG. Best burger ever!! I got mac and cheese (of course) and a burger with Vermont white cheddar and Brie. When can you get fresh Brie on a burger?? So yummy. 

1650 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209

After this we went back to the National Mall to hit some museums. A great thing about DC is that most of them are FREE! 

We first went to the Smithsonian National History Museum. SO much to see. We just kinda busted through it but it was really cool. Night at the Museum??

Hope Diamond. Not bad!

Next we went to the National Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and many other things. I just thought it was incredible. No pics were allowed inside.

Lastly we went to the other Air and Space Museum. We saw Sputnik, the Spirit of St Louis, the Wright Bros plane, Hubble Telescope, and so many other things.

We ate dinner at a random place directly across the street from our hotel. I had reservations somewhere but we were so tired and not in the mood to go really far. It looked good. OMG IT WAS SO GOOD!!!!!! It was called Art and Soul and the chef used to be Oprah's chef. I'm so glad we ate there. We shared fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and MORE mac n cheese. So delicious.

We slept in till about 9:30 the next morning and went to more museums. Our good friend found out we were in DC and has a friend who works at the Newseum. He got us tickets FO FREE! They're normally $21 a person. It was awesome. 

Some things they have:
Plane parts, the antenna from a Twin Tower, and other artifacts from 9/11, piece of the Berlin Wall, amazing room full of news stories of major events, Unabomber's cabin as well as other artifacts from other bad guys like Al Capone, incredible view of the Capitol Building, etc. You don't want to miss it.

We ate lunch right down the road from the Newseum at Paul's Bakery and Cafe. Yummm.

After lunch we headed to the American History Museum. They had Dorthy's ruby slippers, the Star Spangled Banner flag (one of my favorite things in the city), and other amazing artifacts you don't want to miss.

Lastly, we went to the Holocaust Museum. At certain times of the year you have to reserve a time for your visit. It's always free. Starting in September you don't have to make a reservation. So incredible. I've now been to the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem and the US. The horror. Can't even imagine it.

We went back to the hotel and freshened up and took a cab to Georgetown. The cab ride was only like $14. Definitely worth it to not have to walk.

We HAD to go to Georgetown Cupcake. There was no wait and it was so yummy.

I had made reservations to eat at Il Canale in Georgetown a few months before we got there. We didn't need reservations but I'm glad I found it online. It was delicious authentic Italian food. We even got a table on the upstairs balcony. So relaxing. I would definitely recommend it. 

We walked to the nearest Metro stop after dinner and rode it back to our hotel. 

The next morning we got up around 10 and walked to Union Station (like 1.5 blocks from the hotel). We took the train from DC to the Baltimore airport. It was $6 a person. The plane ticket prices from DC to Memphis and Baltimore to Memphis were huge. Like $300+ huge. It was definitely worth it to take the train for $12 to avoid spending $300+ more than we had to. 

We weren't there very long but it was a wonderful little trip. So much history. We were exhausted when we got home but it was a ton of fun and definitely worth the memories.