Thursday, July 14, 2011

All Done With Washington, D.C.

We spent our last few days in Washington, D.C. just kinda lazing around.  We had a fantastic three weeks here but we really needed some “down time”.  Not doing laundry, not cleaning, not cooking.  Just doing nothing.  We were going to drive up to Baltimore again for an Italian dinner but we got some really bad lightening, thunder and rain that day so we just went to an Italian restaurant right down the street.  Well, that was a mistake because the food was awful.

The next day we decided to hop on the Metro and visit the Thai Place.  That’s the place we went to with our friends from Florida when they were here and it was SO good!  It really made up for the bad Italian food.  Glad we ended our trip with a GOOD dinner!

We had an amazing time here and I’m so glad we were here for the 4th of July.  We haven’t gone out to see fireworks for years because of the crowds and trying to get out of the parking lot with so many other cars.  This was so easy because we were able to take the Metro right to the thick of things and then take the Metro home.  No traffic hassles at all.

We got to see so many museums, monuments and memorials while here too.  I think we actually saw everything we came to see.

We left on Sunday and headed to Delaware.  Just another state we’ve never been to and we wanted to explore some of it.  Well, we have found out there’s not a whole lot to explore here.  The state is so small and we explored the east coast of it in one afternoon.  LOL

AND since there is no sales tax, I may need to check into getting the new lens for my camera I’ve been looking for.


We drove down the coast looking for some little beach towns that we like so much but for the most part the beaches are private communities with no access to the beach.  Bummer.

We did find a public beach and had to pay to park.  That’s fine, I think it was a couple of quarters.  All I wanted was some pictures anyway.  The water looked gross.  Not the beautiful blue of the Pacific.  This looked more like the brown water at Corpus Christie, Texas.  At just over 90 degrees it was also PACKED with people.



We also saw the Prime Hook National Wildlife Preserve.  It’s mainly for migratory birds.  There were platforms that were built for birds to nest in but we didn’t know what kind of birds these were.  At first we thought it was an eagle because we could see it had a white head but it was so far away we couldn’t tell.  Maybe my birder friends can tell.


I posted this picture on Facebook and was told (by Molly) that it looks like an osprey.  Cool!


There is a ferry that goes from Lewes to the southern tip of New Jersey at Cape May.  We went to the ferry dock to see just how much it would cost to take the motorhome over.  At a little over $100, I think we’ll pass.





We’re here until Sunday so we’ve got a few more days to look around and then I think we’ll head up to New Jersey for a few days and then on to Philadelphia for a sister reunion.  My sister, Tina, lives in Philadelphia and my sister, Joyce, is flying in from San Diego for a week.  I have never met Tina’s kids or their spouses so this is going to be quite exciting!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

National Aquarium–Baltimore

Today we headed out to Baltimore again to the Aquarium.  We had heard it was a great one and we both love to visit them.

For our friends, Jesse and Ginger who are from Baltimore:


I got online last night and found a coupon for $3 off on parking.  I also found out from their website that they sell out of tickets in the summer so I chose to purchase ours online.  $25 for me and a whole one dollar off for Rod being a geezer.

We had no idea where to park and the coupon didn’t say so we pulled into the first one we saw after the aquarium.  This is what we were greeted with.


The coupon said we had to stay at least 3 hours so I guess it’ll be $17 to park if we make it back in time.  First we had to take our coupon to the Information Desk and exchange it for a voucher.  The information desk wasn’t easy to find but we did and the lady took our coupon and asked for our parking ticket.  Apparently we parked at the wrong one so no voucher for us!

Nothing is included with that $25 fee either.  If you want to see any of the movies or shows that’s another fee for each one.  They are definitely trying to make money here.  There are gift shops everywhere you turn.

This aquarium was very confusing and hard to find our way around.  It’s a huge building with several floors.  It’s not all aquariums either but I have to say, the Australia exhibit was pretty cool.

It was packed with people too and a lot of the aquariums you couldn’t even get up to the glass to see what was in it.  I know that it’s summer but I swear all the kids we saw in D.C. last week decided to come to the aquarium today.  LOL

I wish I could remember the names of everything we saw.




I loved the jellyfish




Upside down jellyfish


The Australia exhibit






Poisonous dart frogs











They have volunteers who come and feed the stingrays and the rescued turtle that had its flipper amputated due to an infection




More fish


This fish was swimming on its side


Sawfish which is also known as a Carpenter Shark


We stopped at one of the cafes in the building to buy a water for me and a soda for Rod ($5.82 total!!) and then left for the parking garage which ended up costing us $22 since we were there for just over 3 hours.  Whew, very expensive day for us.

We got turned around leaving and ended up in “Little Italy” and saw some restaurants that we’d like to try so we figured we’ll just have to come back up to Baltimore tomorrow for dinner!

The upside of the day was that I marinated a flank steak before we left so that was waiting for us to barbecue when we got home.  Along with a salad, fried potatoes and baked beans we ended up with a GREAT meal!


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Twelfth Day in Washington, D.C.

Yesterday we didn’t do much all day but hang around at home and play Facebook games.  We weren’t planning on going into the city until much later to see the fireworks show at the Washington Monument.  There was a parade but that started at 11:45 am but we didn’t want to spend ALL day in the city.  There was also a concert starting at 8 pm by Jo Dee Messina, a country music star.  We’re not country music fans so we didn’t go to that either.  We just hung around the monument and waited for the fireworks to start.  The crowd wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  We had a nice seat on the curb of one of the closed off streets and had a clear view of the fireworks.

Police presence was everywhere



The fireworks started at exactly 9:12 pm just like they said they would and only lasted until 9:30.  It was constant though.  There was no wind whatsoever so there was nothing to blow the smoke away and it really obscured the fireworks at the end.








When the show was over there was a mass exodus to the Metro station.  The closest one to us was about 4 blocks away.  We really didn’t know where it was but we just followed the crowd of over 100,000 people.  Yep, that ended up to be the right thing to do because we found it along with ALL the rest of the people.  Metro was adding extra trains just for this.  The station we found ended up being a straight shot to our station with a few stops in between and we actually got a seat.  By the time we had gone a few stops it was PACKED!

It was a short ride for us to the station where the car was parked and we were back at home by 11:00.

This holiday was the reason we came to Washington, D.C. and I’m so glad we did.  I’d do it again!

I’m not sure what’s on our agenda today.  Maybe just hang around at home.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Eleventh Day in Washington, D.C.

Today we decided to take a driving tour of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  It starts where we were yesterday and ends at Mount Vernon, the beloved home and final resting place of George and Martha Washington.  It was a hot, humid day so a drive was perfect.

We realized by our map that we’d going right by the Marine Corps Memorial.  I was so glad because it’s not one that most people get to see on their visit to Washington, D.C.  It’s not close to any Metro stop or bus stop and it not within walking distance from the city.  Since we had the car it was no problem.

The story goes that when the Marines captured Mt Suribachi on February 23, 1945 they raised the flag.  It actually included a Navy Corpsman.  A journalist named Joe Rosenthal took a picture of it and it became the most famous picture of World War II.  It was the ONLY picture to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication.  Felix de Weldon used the photograph when he designed the Memorial



From there we headed down the Parkway to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens.  This is where he lived from 1754 until his death in 1799 and is buried along with his wife, Martha and her children and grandchildren.


Martha was a widow with two children when Washington married her and they had no children together.

My friend, Lisa Craik Lindell (we visited in Louisville) is the great-great-great-great granddaughter of Dr James Craik, a longtime friend and personal physician of George Washington.  He was one of the doctors that was there when Washington died.


One of the other doctors wanted to do a tracheotomy on Washington the next day to bring him back to life because he believed Washington had epiglottis and would be able to breathe with the tracheotomy but Martha refused.



He wasn’t originally buried in this tomb but it took so long to build that he was buried in another place on the grounds and then his body exhumed and put in this tomb in 1831 along with Martha and other family members.


Martha on the left, George on the right and other family members behind that black wall.


We paid for a tour ticket to see the inside of the mansion and were given a time of 4:10.  We thought that meant our tour would start at 4:10.  When we went to the place where the tour was supposed to start we were told that 4:10 was the time we were supposed to line up and then it would be a 30 minute wait to get in.  Ugggghhh, no thanks!  It was WAY too hot and muggy to stand out there any longer.  AND no pictures were allowed!

The outside of the mansion


The view from the back of the mansion


We preferred the cool A/C in the museum so that’s where we chose to be.  Some of the places you could take pictures but no pictures of the galleries of collections nor could I take any pictures of Washington’s dentures, which by the way, were made by Paul Revere.  Supposedly, they were very uncomfortable and some say is the reason he didn’t smile much in pictures.  LOL

Washington’s swearing in ceremony


Official portrait


Bronze bust


Washington also owned a distillery which is located 3 miles away.



From there we drove back up the Parkway stopping at a few pull offs to see the Potomac River.



Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating our nation’s 235th birthday in our nation’s Capitol.  It’s going to be jammed packed with people but I don’t care!  I’m SO excited.  We’ll be taking the Metro so at least we won’t have to worry about parking or traffic.

In case I get home too late to blog tomorrow night I hope everybody has a fantastic but safe holiday!

Happy Birthday, America!!