Fall Getaway to Washington, DC

Last weekend, Clay and I travelled to Washington, DC for a short trip, leaving on Thursday morning and returned on Sunday.

This was our first time flying on JetBlue Airlines, and we plan to fly with them again, as our flight was much better than other airlines. You get one free checked bag, which is really neat even though we didn’t need a checked bag for this trip. The flight from Charleston to DC is only a little over an hour, the plane has TVs with DirecTV on them (bring headphones), and you get free sodas and snacks. Animal crackers are always a win.

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We stayed at the Sheraton Suites in Alexandria, VA, for the weekend and took the Metro into Washington DC each day. The hotel had a shuttle to take us to and from the airport and Metro station at the airport, and this was great because we did tons of walking in the city. It is also a short walk from Old Town Alexandria.

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After we checked in and rested awhile, we went to lunch at Chart House with Clay’s boss, Ted (the company is based out of the Washington, DC area). Chart House in Alexandria has a beautiful view of the Potomac river, even if it was a bit cloudy and rainy that day. I had the salmon for lunch and it was delicious, probably some of the best salmon I’ve had because it wasn’t too salty.

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After lunch, Clay and I went to Tyson’s Corner Center mall to walk around and shop. We hung out at the candy store, Christmas store, and I went into the American Girl shop. I loved American Girl dolls when I was a kid, but since we didn’t have stores for it back then, I had to visit as an adult. I didn’t stay long or buy anything- it was slightly weird being a 20something female in a doll store with no children…

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We took the Metro from Tyson’s back to Old Town Alexandria, where we ate dinner and shopped on King Street. I loved how the main street in Old Town Alexandria is named King Street because one of the main streets in Downtown Charleston is also King Street. We had dinner at an Irish Tavern restaurant.

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On Friday, we visited the National Zoo, which was a lot of fun even though we had to wait forever to get in. The National Zoo and the San Diego Zoo are the only zoos in the U.S. with panda bears, and I was excited to see the pandas (they hid in a tree and Clay never spotted them). The otters were pretty fun too, and they had a petting zoo with farm animals. Lots of the animals were hiding or asleep, but the petting zoo animals really liked people.

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We had lunch at the Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adams Morgan. You paid a flat price for the falafel sandwich, which you could top any way you liked. The restaurant was divey, offbeat, and fun, and the falafel was tasty and cheap too.

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We also took the Metro to the National Mall, where we walked to all the monuments and took pictures. Between the National Zoo, Adams Morgan, and the National Mall, we probably walked about 10 miles. I was glad most of the monuments had benches and water fountains around because it was pretty warm outside.

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Most of the attractions in Washington are walkable and free, and while metro stops are located near them, I was really glad Clay and I are both able to walk around easily because it might be tough for someone older like my parents or someone who’s mobility impaired.

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Saturday was spent entirely in museums, and we visited three- the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Newseum.

The Newseum is a museum of journalism and communication, and is one of the few museums that costs. We got free passes since the last weekend of September is the Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live weekend, but I would have paid to see the exhibits- especially the Ground Zero exhibit and pieces of the Berlin Wall. We also saw a 4-D movie that was pretty fun.

The outside of the Newseum has daily newspapers from every state in the U.S. The South Carolina newspaper featured is The State from Columbia, SC.

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The Berlin Wall- you could take a picture by it, and there was a smaller piece you could touch.

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These are newspapers from September 12, 2001.

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If you visit Washington DC, and decide to visit the Newseum, go early in your trip because you pay one price and can get in the museum for two days.

Our feet and legs were super tired from walking inside the museums and between museums, so we stayed in on Saturday night to watch the South Carolina vs. Missouri game. We ate delicious Thai food that we had delivered, but unfortunately, the game didn’t go our way (this football season isn’t going well for us). Once the game ended, we got a good night’s sleep before flying back to Charleston the next day.

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Clay and I had a great Fall getaway, and while I hesitate to call it a vacation since we were only away for three full days. I really want to visit DC again or maybe run a race there someday. We probably should’ve researched a bit more because we spent a decent amount of time on this trip trying to decide what to do, but at least we know which museums and monuments to visit next time. I wish we could’ve stayed longer.

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16 Responses to Fall Getaway to Washington, DC

  1. Coco says:

    I’m glad you had a nice time in my hometown! I grew up in Old Town and wonder if I used to work at that Irish Pub. 😉 You covered a lot of territory, but there is so much to see and do. There are tons of great races around here, so let me know if you do want to plan another trip around a race!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It’s John Strongbow’s. They have a Medieval Times style show on weekends, too. I really didn’t care for the salad I had but Clay liked his sandwich. The whole place was fascinating inside, though. Loved looking at everything and the food prices weren’t bad. I’m just kind of a salad snob…

  2. Hey, Amy!! This was a great read. I’ve bever flown JetBlue, but I’ve heard excellent reviews about them. They actually don’t have many destinations around here in Ohio, but you never know. They could branch out. 🙂

    I actually haven’t flown since Sept. 2012. In fact, that was the last time I even left Ohio. I would love to go on a getaway like you and Clay, but I don’t have the money. Hopefully someday though. My parents have been to FL to see my brother abd his family a couple times this year, but I’ve had to stay behind. 😦

    Anyways… the newspapers from 09.12.01 are fascinating… can you believe how much faster news has come out since then, with social media and all? Of course, whenever I do get the chance to read a paper, I do it. You gotta do the old fashioned reading and get ink on your hands sometimes. 🙂

    Love the infamous Clay picture! Where’s yours?

    Glad you had a great time!! I still haven’t been to Washington D.C.. Have a great day!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      We just do the bed pic of Clay. I don’t usually do one :).

      I’ve often wondered what would happen if 9-11-01 happened now, with social media and how instant news is. That was another fascinating part of the museum, you could learn about the history of news and they had exhibits on how modern news works, like how most people use their phones or twitter for news, how that’s impacted the press, and also blogs.

      There was also an exhibit on news bloopers, such as the news stations calling Florida for Al Gore back in 2000’s presidential election, and there were memorials for journalists who died covering news stories.

      We still have newspapers from 9-11-01. I wonder if anyone saves newspapers anymore.

      • Oh, that’s neat about history of journalism and news. Journalism was my minor, so that’d be something I’d like to see.

        I’ve only saved one or two papers from the past. Honestly, I think they got thrown out somehow during my college years. 😦 I never kept anything from 9-11. I wish I would have. The closest thing I have is in my 8th grade autobiography, our 8th grade promotion program has “united we stand” on it.

        Aw, the memorial for journalists who died covering news stories would be honorable to see.

  3. Ashley says:

    I love this post- makes me miss DC! I absolutely love old town Alexandria… so much to walk around and see!! I can’t believe there was a line for the zoo!! That’s crazy! I’ve only been a few times but usually you just get to walk right in! I guess the pandas bring more visitors?

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The zoo actually opened late that day due to a water main break or something. It didn’t open until 12 so we got there early and had to kill 45 minutes. Of course there are no other attractions near the zoo really, so we basically got a snack at 7-11 and sat and waited. I wish we’d checked Facebook or something for the zoo before we went to see that, they did post they’d open late.

      I felt sorry for the parents of young children who took them to the zoo because most kids take a nap at 1-2 so there were a lot of child meltdowns at the zoo that day…

  4. Amy says:

    That is totally a little vacation! We are heading to NYC tomorrow for a couple days and I am so excited for a trip away from things here at home. I’ll call it a vacation! I love the Newseum and (as morbid as it sounds) the Holocaust museum in DC, neither of which are Smithsonian but I think are really well done. I spent a few summers inDC in college and I do love that city 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      We didn’t go to the Holocaust museum (I’ve been and really didn’t want to go back… although I was a lot younger when I visited; maybe I could handle it better now as an adult), but I’d love to visit some of the other Smithsonian Museums.

      I bet you could spend a month or a summer in Washington, DC, and still not see everything there.

  5. DC is an awesome city. I went for the marathon and was only there two days.
    Hopefully we will both get to go back at some time because there is so much to do.

  6. JetBlue is one of my faves. I flew on it more when I lived in the West Coast.

    DC is great. We go to DC at least once a year because it’s not too far from NYC. You’ll love the DC 10-miler in the spring. The race fee is cheap if you don’t get the extras.

  7. MB says:

    Looks like you had a great time! I love flying JetBlue too and DC is on my bucket list!

  8. allieksmith says:

    Yay for free animal crackers on the plane! That’s something that would totally make my day, haha. It’s the little things. Also, I love how you always post a picture of Clay looking passed out asleep on the bed wherever you stay. I feel like you could make a scrapbook of those pictures! I’m sure it would bring you lots of fun memories of traveling 🙂

    Oh man does that salmon look good. I hate when seafood (or anything really) is too salty, so I totally get what you mean! Now I’m craving salmon hardcore. I’m bummed you didn’t get to see the pandas at the zoo! When I went to D.C. in 6th grade on a trip, the pandas had just been shipped in, and they were advertising them like crazy. I remember it being a big deal. It was super cool to see them, and they were cute. I think they were red because they were a different kind?! Like Japanese or something?! Anyways…

    I’m glad you and Clay had a nice trip. D.C. is so amazing, and it’s awesome that it’s only an hour away by plane!

  9. harveylisam says:

    What a great weekend trip! The animal crackers were the biggest seller for me, haha. 😛

    My nieces are obsessed with American Girl, but I honestly had no idea it existed until they were born. I guess being Canadian, we didn’t really have American GIrl haha.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    My hometown! Glad you enjoyed your visit here!

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