By right it should be boring. Let’s face it while the politics that happens in Washington may be full of intrigue and excitement for us adults, for kids that isn’t high on the list of vacation selling points.
But this is a city where families thrive.
It’s not our first visit here. I have cousins who live in neighbouring Maryland and so over the years we’ve popped into the city a few times. This trip is different. We’re staying in the city!
We’re in town for the National Geographic Live presentation by Travelers of the Year (of which our family is one!) on February 5. (You can still get tickets!) And we decided it was time to get to know the city a bit better.
After arriving here Friday afternoon, we’ve already realized just how much there is to see and do. The weather, though only slightly warmer than Toronto, has offered the sun and blue skies we were missing making it less difficult to leave the hotel and explore.
So what have we done right so far?
1. Staying at the Four Seasons Washington in Georgetown: I write for the Four Seasons Have Family Will Travel blog so while the stay is technically work, as always it’s way more pleasure. Each of the Four Seasons resorts likes to add special touches to the stays of families. Here, we were surprised with a campout theme. The pastry chef who designed our in room “barbecue?” Genius! And the pop up tents on the beds were a hit too. We dined at Bourbon Steakhouse for lunch Friday and the combination of our friendly Trinidadian waiter, West Indian Limeade and delicious duck fat fries made the meal memorable. And our surprise lunch guest? Simply presidential.
2. Touring the Capitol: I didn’t expect to be impressed with this one ( though I’d been waiting a long time to sing “I’m only a Bill and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.”) but wow, was I wrong. Our tour guide Mrs. Neumann was phenomenal and gave guests of all ages a real understanding of the history of the building and importance of the work being done here. We laughed as she told us of the farmer’s market that at one time operated out of a hall outside the House and I cried as she told us her own horrific experience on 9/11. The kids were never bored and left with a better understanding of U.S. government.
3. The Spy Museum: Again, I was blown away. I’d heard great things about this museum but I wondered if it would keep the attention of my non-traditional boys ( at 10 and 8 they’ve only just discovered Lego and Star Wars). There was no need to worry. From climbing through the ducts to exploring the world of James Bond and mastering their own spy techniques, they were engaged throughout the visit. We budgeted about 1.5 hours for the museum. We could have easily done 2 or more. One thing to note: While most museums in the city are free, the Spy Museum is one that requires you to pay admission. Worth it. Also, you’re not allowed to take pictures inside. Sorry, you’ll have to visit to see.
4. Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens: Again, I would never have expected to like this as much as I did. The Museum is inside the mansion of the late Marjorie Merriweather Post – the daughter of the creator of Grape-Nuts cereal! She was an avide collector and the collection in her Mansion home of Russian Art is incredible. Don’t miss the movie at the start of the tour – it really helps to put the place in perspective. The museum itself is a really accessible way of exploring the art with kids through Faberge eggs, photos, art work and porcelain artifacts. There is a special headset audio tour just for kids that turns the museum in to a treasure hunt and brings the place to life. I’m not usually museum inclined and don’t own a set of “good dishes” but I loved this stop.
And that’s just the first two days!
Looking forward to the next three
Have you been to Washington D.C.? Anything I absolutely mustn’t miss?
Heather – love your reviews. I hadn’t heard about Hillwood Estates – will put that on the list for the next trip. And though we’ve been twice with the kids, we haven’t done th e capital yet. Here are three museums you won’t want to miss. I’ll put the other link in the next comment – you’ll love them all! http://jerseykids.net/2011/11/21/three-museums-not-to-miss-in-washington-d-c/