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Back from DC

mt. pleasant, sc
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Back from DC

Hello -

Just thought I'd give a report from our Spring Break trip.

We were in DC on Tuesday, April 10 - Sunday, April 15. Stayed at the Madison Hotel. Hotel was nice, but a couple of caveats: 1) Expedia led me to believe that the Luxury Double Queen was a fair amount larger than the Deluxe. Since we needed a rollaway, I sprung for the extra $30 a night. As it was, it was a really tight squeeze with the roll-away. They had to move the beds closer together and turn the night table. 2) the concierge, Tony, gave us a bum recommendation for dinner at McCormick and Schmicks. He led us to believe it would have a lot of good selections for the kids. It did not - just overpriced adult fare and regular kid fare (pasta, grilled cheese, etc).

Tuesday night, arrived at Union Station and found dinner at Potbelly. It was really yummy and filling. If you aren't sure about the hot peppers, they'll give them to you on the side. They are really hot, but good.

Wednesday, we went to Natural History and spent most of the day there, stepping out to the Pavilion Cafe and walking the sculpture garden until it started raining. Had dinner at McCormick and Schmicks (just ok) and dessert (yummy) at the restaurant.

Thursday, did breakfast at Old Ebbit Grill (really good) and toured the Air and Space in the morning, had lunch at the American Indian museum (interesting choices, though the different windows can be chaotic). The food was pretty good. We left there to meet up with a prearranged Capitol tour. It was great, though we didn't really have time to stop and examine anything. It was very crowded with tours and I almost lost my group once. Also had a "golden ticket" for the senate and house galleries, but didn't realize (yes, I should have) that it wasn't in session so we waited in line and had extra security checks just to walk in and see it. There was no docent or anything. It was a bit of a let down.

Thursday night, had reservations at Founding Farmers which was terrific. Glad we went.

Friday, we planned to do the Duck Tour, but the time we wanted was sold out and we couldn't get another for an hour and a half. Decided to do the HO/HO tour. What they don't mention is that once you hop off, you are SOL. Waited an hour or so to get on the bus for Arlington that never stopped. Had to skip Arlington and go straight to American History. NMAH was terrific - very enjoyable. Especially enjoyed the newly re-opened Star Spangled Banner exhibit. Also, the "Sit-In" class. Had lunch in the cafe there and it was really tasty. Managed to catch the bus outside of American History and took it to Chinatown.

Met up with family at Austin Grill. The food was mostly pretty good. Nothing was bad, but nothing was outstanding. Just good, reasonably priced food.

Saturday, our last day to tour, we finished up at Air and Space, had lunch in Chinatown at Chop't, went back to Natural History to do the butterflies (we thought it was well worth the ticket price)

Had difficulty finding dinner that night in Chinatown. Every place was 1+ wait. Decided to do Potbelly Sandwich Works. Delish!

Took Amtrak back home - almost 10 hours door to door, but it was a lovely ride. Very comfortable and the conductors (do you call them that?) and the food-service man were all really nice.

Great trip - tons of lessons learned about what to do NEXT time!

Tracie

Hillwood Museum & Gardens
Historic Sites, Art Museums, Gardens
U.S. National Arboretum
Gardens, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Hiking Trails
Dumbarton Oaks
Art Museums, Gardens
Washington DC...
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1. Re: Back from DC

Thank you for posting an informative trip report on your visit. Sounds like you had a reasonable time and saw most of what you want to see.

"Decided to do the HO/HO tour. What they don't mention is that once you hop off, you are SOL. Waited an hour or so to get on the bus for Arlington that never stopped." Just what we often say on this forum. Those buses are good for riding and getting the lay of the land, but as a means of transportation, they are just expensive and frustrating.

mt. pleasant, sc
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2. Re: Back from DC

How could I forget to include MY highlight of the trip? Upon leaving A & S on Saturday, we swung by the National Gallery of Art (West) and took a quick walk through. Got to see the DiVinci (only Di Vinci painting in North America), several great Monets, Rembrants and Van Gogh. My son has been studying the Renaissance in World Geography and did report on Raphael - got to see one in person!

After lunch, I convinced my family to check out the Museum of American Art in Chinatown. Saw the Portrait Gallery. While my kids checked out the Exhibit on the Art of Video Games, my husband and I got to take a quick peek at the other exhibits.

Whew - I think that is all!

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Back from DC

The American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery, in the same building, is one of the best museums in DC. And so often overlooked by tourists despite its downtown location. I'm glad you enjoyed it too. My favorite.

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4. Re: Back from DC

Wow, sounds like a great time! We also really enjoyed the Star Spangled Banner exhibit. Too bad about the bus, next time you can put Arlington at the top of the list.

Thank you for the great report back! :)

Pittsburgh
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5. Re: Back from DC

Just so I know, which HO/HO tour were you on? The only time I tried one was 5 years ago, when I think we had the Old Town Trolley, and they did come and get us at the Lincoln Memorial without a problem after we had hopped off to see that and the other memorials around the Mall. My wife wants to do the HO/HO stuff again in two weeks, so I want to be sure that we aren't buying trouble this time around.

Washington DC...
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6. Re: Back from DC

I think it can happen to any of those HOHO companies whenever the crowds are bigger than they expected. I would never recommend anyone use them as their main means of transportation. Just get on and ride if you must. But if it is a busy time, once you get off you may never see another empty seat come your way. You just can't depend on them.

Manila, Philippines
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7. Re: Back from DC

Oh no, am curious too because I was just about to buy our tickets to the Old Town Trolley for Tues, April 24.

I was hoping to get an overview of The Mall, get off at Air and Space, continue to Arlington (get off) and then off again at Amer History.

Is this feasible? Or is there a better option?

Thanks in advance.

Washington DC...
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8. Re: Back from DC

Air & Space, American History and Arlington Cemetery are all easily gotten to using Metro. Even three taxi rides are likely to be cheaper than the bus, for just one person. For a family, much cheaper. Getting an overview of The Mall is easy. Just get out at the Smithsonian Metro station and look 360 degrees. Those HOHO buses just aren't a great means of transportation.

Manila, Philippines
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9. Re: Back from DC

There are 2 of us traveling.

We wanted to join the tour to see the other points of interest on their Mall Loop and then get off to visit the 3 places mentioned earlier.

Will this be better?

Thanks.

10. Re: Back from DC

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Removed on: 28 April 2012, 19:39
Edited: 28 April 2012, 19:39