Monday, March 28, 2011

A Weekend in DC

We just returned last night from a long weekend in the DC area filled with conferences, family, and sight-seeing. What more could you want?

We drove down (about seven hours plus on I-95) on Wednesday night, arriving around midnight since the last supposed 15 minutes (according to our GPS that fails to recognize traffic lights) took close to an hour. Then we were up bright and early on Thursday morning. I had grand plans of getting in line early to get tickets to go up the Washington Monument and to watch money get printed. We were in one line at 7:30 while my brother and sister-in-law were in another. It was about forty degrees with drizzling rain. (What nice relatives I have – I don’t think they were all that interested in seeing either the monument or the money, but they still stood in line in the cold rain for an hour to get tickets.) Due to the misery of the weather, we easily got tickets since anyone with any sense had stayed inside. Here's a picture of the National Mall and the Capital as seen from the Washington Monument.

We had planned to take a peddle boat out on the tidal basin and see the cherry blossoms – but we were forced to reconsider. Or I should say I was forced to reconsider. My children BEGGED to go still, but even their pleading could not persuade me to climb into a boat filled with puddles of frigid water. Here’s a super cute picture of my brother and son walking next to the tidal basin under the cherry blossoms and then a picture of everyone together.

We did still walk over to get a look at the White House, which somehow in all our trips to DC, I had never laid eyes on. We couldn’t actually go inside since you have to get your Congressman to get tickets for you months in advance and I wasn’t that organized. Here are the kids in front of the White House.

By then, we were more or less ice cubes, so we headed for the American History Smithsonian where we saw the original Star-Spangled Banner. I had actually seen it before, but it still gave me chills. It even impressed my kids.

Friday morning, we spent a couple hours at the Air and Space Museum before driving into Old Town Alexandria for lunch. Then, George and I did the kid-switch (he had been at a conference), and I headed to my conference.

I spent Friday evening and Saturday at the Fairfax Genealogical Society Spring Conference. Friday started with consultations. I found it so fun to talk to other people about their research problems which ranged from basic immigration questions to complex records and methodology questions with family stories of Germans immigrating to Argentina, German Russians coming to the US and others. I did one lecture that night then joined some of the conference planners for a late dinner. It’s a fun group of people in Fairfax and I enjoyed the dinner. I did four more lectures on Saturday, mostly focused on immigration and European research again.

Saturday night, we had dinner with some cousins. The next morning we made the long drive back to Massachusetts, with a quick stop for lunch at my brother’s house in Forest Hills, NY (in Queens).

When we got home last night, my husband asked the kids what was their favorite part of the trip. After seeing the White House, Roosevelt Island, the Jefferson Monument, huge spy planes, Dorothy’s ruby slippers, and many other amazing things, as well as playing with all kinds of cousins on Saturday, Sarah Ann (age 5) remarked instantly, “seeing the deer cross the street on the way to Uncle Tim and Aunt Chris’s house.”

I’m so glad we spent 15 hours in the car for that.


  1. You did get the best shots though, nobody in your way. Too bad abt. the weather, but remember, the kids saw a deer. Always fun reading your reports.

  2. After carefully choreographing a trip with my boys several years ago, including traveling down there by train (grafitti was a big hit), Ford's Theater, the money, the FBI, Arlington cemetery etc etc it happened that April vacation was when the hockey playoffs began. We went to a game at the (then) new MCI center. When asked what they saw in DC, the kids answered "the Bruins."

  3. Great report! Kinda reminds me of my daughter who, after seeing a big parade with bands, dancers, equestrian teams, clowns, and acrobats, reported on the most interesting thing ... the horse plops.

  4. I'm looking forward to seeing those cherry blossoms soon. I hope all that rain didn't shake them off the trees! I'd love a nice photo like the one you got of the blossoms.