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Flew into BWI for $100 per ticket less than flying into Regan or Dulles. A free shuttle bus, caught just outside Baggage Claim, took us a mile to the rail station where we boarded a MARC train to Union Station. We bought the $6 one-way train tickets in advance online and they were delivered via Regular US Mail to our home in 5 days. The ~40 minute train ride to DC was nice and easy.
We purchased SmarTrip cards in advance online and they arrived via the mail in 4 days. So with card in hand, we boarded the red line at Union Station for a 10 minute trip to our hotel, the Marriot Wardman. A beautiful place to stay and being located immediately adjacent to the Woodley Park metro station made travel SO easy. Connecticut Ave was out our window and a good range of food choices was available close to the hotel.
We had signed up online for Monuments by Moonlight Tour for our first evening in town. A telephone call confirmed arrangements to be picked up for the tour just around the corner from our hotel at no additional cost. The 3 hour tour was definitely worth the time and the money, we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. At the end of the tour, the trolley dropped us right where it picked us up at. Very convenient. Some of the monuments weren’t lighted well enough to see well at night so leave some time to return during daylight hours.
The next morning we took a free 1 hour guided tour of the Capitol that we signed up for online. Again, more than worth the time it took. We moseyed our way up Independence Ave to the Air & Space Museum. I wasn’t too hip on visiting but am so glad we took the time to see. Very interesting and so worthwhile! We continued walking on Independence Ave to 14th St and spent 3 hours at the Holocaust Museum. Unimaginable. Just go. We spent the evening in Georgetown, having gotten there by bus. The area was nuts, a sea of people. We had dinner at Clyde’s, shopped just a bit and at my daughter’s request, waited in line for 30 minutes for a Georgetown Cupcake. It was ok but…..
On Day 3 we visited the Museums of Natural History and American History. Both are fantastic. Don’t miss either. You could spend 2 weeks at each place but unfortunately, I didn’t have that kind of time and could only afford each a few hours. We glossed over the things that weren’t of particular interest and studied more closely those that were. I didn’t feel cheated when I left.
On Day 4 we went to Mt Vernon, George Washington’s home. Easy to get there via the yellow line metro to the Huntington Station and the Fairfax Connector 101 bus for the last 7 miles to the estate. You can use your SmarTrip card for this bus too. It’s an easy trip to navigate and definitely worth your time.
On our last day we visited Ford’s Theatre and Petersen House. Very impressive. Seeing it lets you try to wrap your head around that evening some 150 years ago. We walked by Lafayette Park and the White House and listened for a minute to those protesting whatever their cause. We meandered around the Ellipse and to the WW II Veteran, Korean Veteran, Lincoln and Viet Nam Veteran Memorials to see by daylight. I have no words for the emotion evoked, I cried throughout. Then to Foggy Bottom for a late lunch and a rest. Onward Ho! We took the blue line to Arlington Cemetery and paid the $8 pp for the guided bus tour, our dogs were barking!! What an awesome sight to behold, row upon row of headstones marking the resting places of so many who gave their lives for our country. Thank you, Soldiers and Sailors, I am forever indebted to you and your families. Our trip’s final act was to observe the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Impressive. A must see.
Some observations: Two female travelers, mom and daughter, never felt threatened. The areas we visited were free of litter and graffiti, including the metro stations. Surprisingly clean. The people, in general, were friendly and helpful. Using the metro and buses is easy easy and getting around is a piece of cake. All the National Museums are free. Absolutely free. Eating out is more costly than it is in NW Ohio, being about 30-40% more in DC. Drivers generally obey the ‘stop for pedestrian in crosswalk’ law but still be careful, I saw plenty enough rogue drivers. Yep, saw some street people too but not any more per capita than my hometown of about 150,000.
Some tips: Wear only comfortable shoes, forget looking good. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and blisters are miserable. Just miserable. A trip ruin-er. My daughter can attest to it with proof. Yep, she with those 8 blisters from her pretty shoes. A lesson she’ll only need to learn once, I’m certain. And that’s the end of the tips cuz none other matter if you can’t walk! Thanks for reading, I hope it’s helpful to some.