Our Nation’s Capitol – Washington DC

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill

We found a campground about a half hour from the main area of Washington DC, just outside of the University of Maryland called Cherry Hill Park. Seems campgrounds in large cities are hard to come by on the east coast so we did our best to be within easy travel range of the stuff we wanted to see.

A family ride on a pedicab

A family ride on a pedicab

Cherry Hill Park was great in that it was close to grocery stores and a Target and the metro that takes you into the city. It also felt safe, even though it was in a pretty urban-suburban area. They had a pool that we tried to go in with Zeph but it was wayyyy too cold. They had a huge laundry room with like forty washers and dryers, which I loved. The campsites were packed in, but we didn’t spend much time there other than to sleep so we didn’t mind.

Chris and Zeph in the grass takin' a break, Lincoln Memorial in the distance

Chris and Zeph in the grass takin’ a break, Lincoln Memorial in the distance

Washington DC is something to behold. This was my first time visiting our nation’s capitol. To see with your own eyes the Washington Monument, the White House, the Library of Congress: no college course or textbook can compare to being in these places in person. I loved every minute of our time in DC. The public transportation system on the metro was fairly easy to navigate, and the size of these underground stations is pretty shocking for this west coast girl. These places are huge! I felt like a character in Star Wars, changing ships to go from Naboo to some other strange moon. The tunnels are large with rounded cement block ceilings. The people in the city we came across were pretty friendly, which was nice. Most of them seemed to be tourists.

Awesome minerals in the Museum of Natural History

Awesome minerals in the Museum of Natural History

Once we got into the city from the metro, Chris took me that first day to see some of the major monuments around the “Mall.” There is the giant obelisk of the Washington Monument, which had been damaged in a recent earthquake and was surrounded on all sides by scaffolding while they fixed it. The WWII memorial was beautiful and quite large. I think the Vietnam Memorial was most profound and moving for me. So many names in such small print on such a large wall.

Contemplating Vietnam

Contemplating Vietnam

We visited the National Holocaust Museum. This was an incredible place, and Zeph happened to be in a very silly mood while we were in there so we sort of rushed through trying not to disturb the serious and somber vibe. I can’t believe two out of every three Jewish people died during WWII. That is a staggering statistic. I looked at our small family of three and thought to myself “if we had been Jews alive in Europe during that time, two of us would not have survived.” Talk about giving you some perspective. Wow.

We climbed the large stairs to the top of the Lincoln Memorial. That dude is big! People were trying to frame their pictures so it looked like they were giving Lincoln “knucks.” It was pretty funny.

The boys checking out the WWII Memorial

The boys checking out the WWII Memorial

We walked to the Korean Memorial (Chris’s favorite), and the Martin Luther King Memorial, which hasn’t been open long and is done quite well. We took a pedicab taxi from there to the White House, and saw Marine One (the President’s helicopter) take off from the front lawn. Apparently they have two Marine Ones flying together so no one knows which one to shoot down if they want to take out the President, so we don’t actually know if President Obama (or some other important person) was in the one we saw or not.  It was still cool to see, regardless of who was inside. Once we got to the back of the White House (the front lawn was closed due to whatever commotion was involved with the helicopter), we saw a convoy/caravan of what appeared to be Secret Service agents driving into the White House driveway in about four black suburbans. I saw one flash his lapel pin at the police officers managing the area so I guess that’s what made me think they were Secret Service. There were protestors outside the White House, I guess there always are, with signs for peace, and even protesting the sale and eating of meat.

Zeph and I sayin' hi to the Prez

Zeph and I sayin’ hi to the Prez

We went to the DC Zoo. It’s free, which means when you go on a Saturday it’s going to be very crowded. So crowded that you have to wait in line for an hour to get a look at the panda bears. We skipped that and took Zeph on the carousel instead. And then it started raining so we hopped on the metro to Chinatown to find somewhere to get dry and get some food. We shared a fig and blue cheese pizza while Zeph napped in his stroller.

Chris and Zeph ridin' the train at the Zoo

Chris and Zeph ridin’ the train at the Zoo

We visited the National Portrait Museum, for about ten minutes, before Zeph kinda had a meltdown and wanted to be outside. We also went to the Museum of Natural History, where we watched an Imax movie about the giant waves in Teahopoo, Tahiti.

We saw Capitol Hill, the Ulysses S Grant memorial, the Library of Congress – another favorite. They had a display of Civil War artifacts there and we actually saw the piece of paper where the thirteenth amendment, abolishing slavery, was written.

The Ulysses S Grant Memorial

The Ulysses S Grant Memorial

We went to George Washington’s family home, Mount Vernon, after a few different friends told us we couldn’t miss it. What an amazing piece of property! The land is set up on a hill about 200 feet above the Potomac River. The house is restored to just how it was when the General and Mrs Washington lived there. The open grass lawn surrounding the main house offers breathtaking views of the river and plenty of space for Zeph and I to run while Chris did some work. Mt Vernon was totally worth the visit.

Mt Vernon, "The General" George Washington's home

Mt Vernon, “The General” George Washington’s home

From DC we headed to Connecticut to Chris’s Aunt Connie’s house, and NYC after that. More on that soon!

Zeph enjoying the open land on Mt Vernon

Zeph enjoying the open land on Mt Vernon

All the videos are available in HD, just change the setting (the little gear) to 720p or 1080p to see the High Def version.


  • Jen Hub

    Looks incredible! I thought the minerals were candies at first. They looked yummy, and perfectly in line with your pursuit of desserts and candy! 🙂