We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Just Back! Had a Wonderful Visit!

Ohio
Level Contributor
1,557 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Just Back! Had a Wonderful Visit!

I'm paying back for the invaluable information gleaned on this site allowing us to have a fab time!! Thanks to all who contribute!

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.

Mentioned in this post
Union Station
Union Station
1,999 Reviews
Washington DC, DC
Woodley Park Guest House
Woodley Park Guest House
578 Reviews
Washington DC, DC
Connecticut
Connecticut
United States
Georgetown
Georgetown
2,529 Reviews
Washington DC, DC
Georgetown Cupcake
Georgetown Cupcake
1,636 Reviews
Washington DC, DC
George Washington's Mount Vernon
George Washington's...
3,963 Reviews
Mount Vernon, VA
The Fairfax at Embassy Row, Washington, D.C.
The Fairfax at Embassy...
1,981 Reviews
Washington DC, DC
White House
White House
6,864 Reviews
Washington DC, DC
Lincoln
Lincoln
White Mountains, NH
Arlington
Arlington
Virginia
Ohio
Ohio
United States
Dallas, Texas
Destination Expert
for Boston, Orlando, Walt Disney World
Level Contributor
29,488 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
11. Re: Just Back! Had a Wonderful Visit!

Very nice TR glad you enjoyed your DC visit and yes you got to wear comfy shoes since you do a lot of walking there.

Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
157 posts
Save Reply
12. Re: Just Back! Had a Wonderful Visit!

Wonderful report and great point about wearing comfortable shoes.

It is sad to see tourists wearing shoes that offer no cushioning or support. I saw many young women recently wearing gorgeous sundresses but also sandals with thin soles and no support whatsoever. What would their feet feel like after 4 hours of walking? Not only should shoes be the most comfortable and supportive, but socks should have some substance and be soft. Feet sweat and the friction of socks against the foot causes blisters that can ruin a day’s sightseeing. Band-aid has some blister “gels” that you may apply directly to a new blister forming. That saved me in NYC recently when I wore the wrong socks. My advice to tourists is to be the most comfortable you possibly can be and not worry about appearances.

Mentioned in this post
Ohio
Level Contributor
1,557 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
13. Re: Just Back! Had a Wonderful Visit!

Michael F. it is so very easy to get around in DC by way of the public transit system, no need for a car. First use a good tourist map or Google Earth to learn where the sites are that you want to visit. Group the sites by location so you're not zigzagging back and forth across the city to see them. Then go to http://www.wmata.com/ and use the Trip Planner feature to learn how to get from here to there. Study the metro system to become familiar with the different lines and at which stations the different lines can be accessed. Read the info on that site about the different metro passes and decide which one meets your needs. It's really easy to get around if you understand how the system works.

Edited: 7:24 pm, October 07, 2013
Peterborough...
Level Contributor
83 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
14. Re: Just Back! Had a Wonderful Visit!

Thank you. Very helpful ang gives me the confidence to get around.

Lighthouse Point...
Level Contributor
1,022 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
15. Re: Just Back! Had a Wonderful Visit!

Michael F, DC is one had one of the easiest, cleanest and safest mass transit systems in the US. My husband, who hates mass transit in general, likes DC metro a lot. You do not want a car in DC, too much traffic and too expensive to park at hotel. Also, one time at 10:00 at night we stopped momentarily to check our GPS and within seconds were surrounded by Capitol police since we were in a no stopping area near the Capitol! Explained what we were doing but had to move along very quickly!

Sunbury, UK
Level Contributor
5 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
16. Re: Just Back! Had a Wonderful Visit!

We are off there in a couple of weeks time, so useful timely report, esp for the info on public transport.

17. Re: Just Back! Had a Wonderful Visit!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 1:20 am, October 13, 2014