Travel Diary: Washington, D.C. – Day 7

I had originally planned to go to the US National Arboretum, our last day in Washington, D.C., but after a relative told us not to miss the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I changed our plans.  After a leisurely morning at our Airbnb, we hopped on a Capital Bikeshare bicycle to explore the Museum.

But first I have to share a photograph from the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art.  This tree is entitled, “Graft”.  My husband waited on a park bench while I wandered through the Garden.  At 45 feet high by 45 feet wide and weighing 16,000 pounds, this piece by American sculptor Roxy Paine is marvelous!

According to Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art–“Graft presents two fictive but distinct species of trees—one gnarled, twisting, and irregular, the other smooth, elegant, and rhythmic—joined to the same trunk. Among its rich associations, this sculpture evokes the persistent human desire to alter and recombine elements of nature, as well as the ever-present tension between order and chaos.”

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A friendly squirrel, looking for food, stood still long enough for me to snap his portrait…

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Travel Diary: Washington, D.C. – Day 3 continued

Washington D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood is colorful, vibrant, funky, and fun!  We started our day bicycling from our Airbnb in the Bloomington neighborhood on the East side of D.C. to the quaint neighborhood of Georgetown on the West side and finished in Adams Morgan, having drinks with a former 2 Star Admiral Navy Seal!  After docking our bicycles at the Capital Bikeshare station on 18th Street, we walked down the street in search of an outdoor bar for some afternoon refreshments and met Chuck and his dog, Bravo.  Having been in the military myself for four years, it was fascinating to listen to Chuck’s amazing lifetime experiences as a former high-ranking officer.

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With puffy white clouds, blue sky, and mid-70’s temps, we relaxed for a couple of hours, talking with Chuck and people watching.

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Travel Diary: Washington, D.C. – Day 3

Exploring the quaint neighborhood of Georgetown was a refreshing start to our third day in Washington, D.C.  Filled with shops, bars, restaurants, and interesting architecture, there’s much to see and do.  Georgetown was originally part of Maryland until 1871 when the U.S. Congress created a new government for the District of Columbia.

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My husband and I stopped at a Capital Bikeshare station around the corner from our Airbnb to pick up a bicycle for the 3 mile ride.  It’s a great way to wheel around Washington D.C. above ground and budget friendly.  You can purchase use of a bicycle for 24 hours – $7.00; 3 days – $15.00, or a month – $25.00.  I purchased the month membership because I knew we would use the service for more than 3 days.   I ordered a key for both of us to make it as simple as possible.  Once you’re at one of the 300 stations, you insert your plastic key in the slot of the bicycle you want and then just pull the bike out.  If your trip is 30 minutes or less, there’s no extra charge.  If it’s between 31-60 minutes, there’s an additional $1.50 tacked on; and between 61-90 minutes – $4.50.  You can download their app to your Smart Phone and check to see where a nearby station is to drop your bike that has a dock and/or if bicycles are available.

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Itinerary for Washington, D.C.

I’m so excited to be leaving for Washington, D.C. soon and wanted to share my itinerary with you.  I couldn’t resist after snagging a flight on Frontier Airlines for $30 per person round-trip.  Of course, that’s not including the baggage fees, but still for less than $150 total for my husband and I, it’s a steal!  I found an Airbnb in the Bloomingdale neighborhood located only 2 miles from Downtown for less than $500 for the week!  Flying into Dulles, the new Silver line takes you into D.C. for only $3.60 pp with a SmarTrip card ($2.00pp).  The Silver Line bus service travels 4-5 miles to the train for the 40 minute ride into D.C.  We’ll walk less than half a mile to the condo and after getting situated, have a quick lunch nearby, and walk 15 minutes to the grocery to load up for the week.  By then, it will be around 3:00pm, so I only planned one sight-seeing activity…Arlington National Cemetery.  We’ll take the 25 minute Metro, transferring once, for transport.

Our itinerary for Day 2 is to take the Metro to Alexandria, Virginia, where we’ll pick up a bicycle from Bike & Roll, and ride 9 miles to Mt. Vernon.  I have reservations at the historic Mt. Vernon Inn Restaurant for lunch, and we’ll tour George Washington’s former plantation  home and it’s outbuildings, distillery, gristmill, and lavish gardens and grounds.  At 4:00pm, we’ll take a boat ride back to Alexandria, have dinner and hop on the Metro for returning to D.C.

I’ve signed up for the Capital Bikeshare, similar to a program that was recently launched here in Cincinnati, and one that I took advantage of in Denver, Colorado last year.  You may join for a day, 3-days, a month, or a year ($7.00; $15.00; $25.00; $75.00).  I purchased the month membership for $25.  There are hundreds of stations in the area, and once you’ve picked up a bicycle, the first 30 minutes are free.  If your trip takes between 31-60 minutes, it’s only an extra $1.50, and if the trip takes 61-90 minutes – it’s an extra $4.50.  With most of the D.C. attractions located only 1-3 miles apart, it’s the perfect way to see D.C.  We’ve downloaded their Smart phone app, so we’ll be able to check where stations are, if a dock is available to drop off the bike, or if a bicycle is available at that location.

On Day 3, the agenda is to bike a total of 7 miles, with stops at Dupont Circle, Georgetown for lunch and browsing the shops, followed by a walk along the C & O Canal, riding along Embassy Row, through Adams Morgan neighborhood, and dinner back at the Airbnb.

Day 4 includes biking to the National Mall, Downtown, Penn Quarter, and Chinatown.

A trip to D.C. wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the U.S. Capitol (and possibly the White House) on Day 5.  Next, a walk through the U.S. Botanic Garden, lunch at the Eastern Market near Capitol Hill, a quick stop at the National Archives, and a light dinner at Union Station, before heading back to our home away from home.

I saved touring some of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museums (Natural History and Air and Space Museums) for Day 6, during the week with less crowds.  Along with lunch at the Old Ebbitt Grill, walking the grounds surrounding the White House and President’s Park, and dinner back at the condo.

For our final day in D.C., I’d like to bike 3.6 miles to the U.S. National Arboretum with a packed lunch for some time in nature.

The following day, we’ll need to take a taxi at the ungodly hour of 3:45am to Dulles Airport, since our flight leaves at 6:00am back to Cincinnati.  Of course, my rough itinerary is weather and energy dependent, but it’s nice to have an idea of what we’d like to see and do, and the accompanying details arranged, so we’re not spending valuable vacation time researching.

My list of other activities, if we happen to have free time include: Washington National Cathedral, Tidal Basin, Basilica of the National Shrine, Hillwood Museum & Gardens, Rock Creek Park, and the Supreme Court.  If anyone has any other ideas or thoughts, I’d love to hear them!