Travel Diary: Washington, D.C. – Day 4

Washington D.C. has a diverse population and my husband and I were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to join the throng of spectators gathering to watch a Hispanic parade.  We bicycled to the Smithsonian Institute of Natural History to begin our tours of some of the wonderful and free of charge (kinda…taxpayers pay for it) Museums.  As we walked along National Mall, we passed people gathered in groups, putting makeup on and making last minute adjustments to costumes, preparing for the parade along Constitution Avenue.  The mood was festive and the costumes colorful!

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Itinerary for Washington, D.C.

I’m so excited to be leaving for Washington, D.C. soon and wanted to share my itinerary with you.  I couldn’t resist after snagging a flight on Frontier Airlines for $30 per person round-trip.  Of course, that’s not including the baggage fees, but still for less than $150 total for my husband and I, it’s a steal!  I found an Airbnb in the Bloomingdale neighborhood located only 2 miles from Downtown for less than $500 for the week!  Flying into Dulles, the new Silver line takes you into D.C. for only $3.60 pp with a SmarTrip card ($2.00pp).  The Silver Line bus service travels 4-5 miles to the train for the 40 minute ride into D.C.  We’ll walk less than half a mile to the condo and after getting situated, have a quick lunch nearby, and walk 15 minutes to the grocery to load up for the week.  By then, it will be around 3:00pm, so I only planned one sight-seeing activity…Arlington National Cemetery.  We’ll take the 25 minute Metro, transferring once, for transport.

Our itinerary for Day 2 is to take the Metro to Alexandria, Virginia, where we’ll pick up a bicycle from Bike & Roll, and ride 9 miles to Mt. Vernon.  I have reservations at the historic Mt. Vernon Inn Restaurant for lunch, and we’ll tour George Washington’s former plantation  home and it’s outbuildings, distillery, gristmill, and lavish gardens and grounds.  At 4:00pm, we’ll take a boat ride back to Alexandria, have dinner and hop on the Metro for returning to D.C.

I’ve signed up for the Capital Bikeshare, similar to a program that was recently launched here in Cincinnati, and one that I took advantage of in Denver, Colorado last year.  You may join for a day, 3-days, a month, or a year ($7.00; $15.00; $25.00; $75.00).  I purchased the month membership for $25.  There are hundreds of stations in the area, and once you’ve picked up a bicycle, the first 30 minutes are free.  If your trip takes between 31-60 minutes, it’s only an extra $1.50, and if the trip takes 61-90 minutes – it’s an extra $4.50.  With most of the D.C. attractions located only 1-3 miles apart, it’s the perfect way to see D.C.  We’ve downloaded their Smart phone app, so we’ll be able to check where stations are, if a dock is available to drop off the bike, or if a bicycle is available at that location.

On Day 3, the agenda is to bike a total of 7 miles, with stops at Dupont Circle, Georgetown for lunch and browsing the shops, followed by a walk along the C & O Canal, riding along Embassy Row, through Adams Morgan neighborhood, and dinner back at the Airbnb.

Day 4 includes biking to the National Mall, Downtown, Penn Quarter, and Chinatown.

A trip to D.C. wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the U.S. Capitol (and possibly the White House) on Day 5.  Next, a walk through the U.S. Botanic Garden, lunch at the Eastern Market near Capitol Hill, a quick stop at the National Archives, and a light dinner at Union Station, before heading back to our home away from home.

I saved touring some of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museums (Natural History and Air and Space Museums) for Day 6, during the week with less crowds.  Along with lunch at the Old Ebbitt Grill, walking the grounds surrounding the White House and President’s Park, and dinner back at the condo.

For our final day in D.C., I’d like to bike 3.6 miles to the U.S. National Arboretum with a packed lunch for some time in nature.

The following day, we’ll need to take a taxi at the ungodly hour of 3:45am to Dulles Airport, since our flight leaves at 6:00am back to Cincinnati.  Of course, my rough itinerary is weather and energy dependent, but it’s nice to have an idea of what we’d like to see and do, and the accompanying details arranged, so we’re not spending valuable vacation time researching.

My list of other activities, if we happen to have free time include: Washington National Cathedral, Tidal Basin, Basilica of the National Shrine, Hillwood Museum & Gardens, Rock Creek Park, and the Supreme Court.  If anyone has any other ideas or thoughts, I’d love to hear them!