Category Archives: National Monuments

Cherry Blossoms 2012 in Washington DC

WHEN

March 21, 2012

CONDITIONS

Beautiful

ABOUT THE TRIP

Spring has sprung indeed in the Washington, DC area! Since it was the Cherry Blossom’s 100th anniversary and since the weather was unseasonably spectacular….and since my commute was tolerable, we raced down on bicycles via the Mount Vernon Trail to take in all of the trees full-blooming splendor. We’ve seen the Cherry Blossom’s before, but not in full bloom. You can recap our first experience back in 2007 here. Yes, we know…..back then we were total amateurs. Then we went again two years ago to see the blooms with my family, but they weren’t all the way bloomed either, so this time….we were ready, equipped, and prepared to complete our mission successfully. We followed the Cherry Blossom webcam and reports to find “the best and finest time” to visit these delicate candy-like beauties. And we nailed it this time! We locked our bikes up at the Jefferson Memorial and followed the whole Tidal Basin in a counter-clockwise fashion. Not sure if the other way would have been better because the place was JP. But, we survived the crowds. We got to see the sun set behind the Martin Luther King Memorial…not together unfortunately as I literally “ran off into the sunset” to try to catch photos of that fiery orange bowl just before it dipped below the trees. Dave caught up shortly thereafter…funny that his pictures turned out better than mine! We walked through the Roosevelt Memorial. I think what we remembered most about the day was how happy everyone was. Everyone seemed to be living in the moment. Lots of people met after work and had their telescopic SLR cameras (wishwehadanslrcameratoo…maybe soon), people were picnicking, painting, reflecting, enjoying, and loving everything about the day.

So after the sun set, we were about 3/4 of the way around the Tidal Basin. The sky turned into a purple haze and the yellow lights from the city made it a photographer’s dream shot we’re sure. After returning back to our bikes, Dave realized that the battery to the front of his bicycle was dead. Whomp, whomp. And I didn’t have any bike lights…double whomp. So that meant that we got to ride all the way home in the dark which meant that we were super embarrassed because we know that if the tables were turned, we’d have classified us as “those people.” So, I improvised to let fellow bikers/runners know of our presence…….I simply yelled “ring ring” to pretend that I had a bell. People probably thought I was crazy….but hey, you do what you gotta do. The important thing is that we got home safely.

It was a great evening and a wonderful way to break up the busy work week. We are certainly grateful to live right down the road from such a beautiful metropolis.

WHAT WE BROUGHT

[listcheck]

  • IPhone 4s
  • 1 Camelbak
  • Bike Lock
  • Helmets
  • Athletic clothing
  • Sneakers
  • Light jackets/long-sleeved tees
  • Panisonic DMC-FZ8

[/listcheck]

LIVE AND LEARN

We need bike lights that work and bells from Amazon ASAP.


Show me the dough

GRAND TOTAL: $0.00..yes, you read that right.


PHOTOS

Boston, Massachusetts

DETOUR TRIP

WHEN:

February 11th-13th, 2011

CONDITIONS:

High 30s….Windy….and FREEZING! (Don’t mind my ridiculous garb)

ABOUT THE TRIP:

Our very good friend Jeremie lives in Boston. Dave and his friends from college went to visit him the year before and I had never been and really wanted to visit. So we coordinated our schedules and were able to get a great flight deal and so off we went for a brief weekend getaway. After touching down, Jeremie picked us up at the airport. On our first night, we just relaxed and caught up on each others’ lives. We ordered pizza and drank some vino before retiring for the evening. The next morning, we ate a delicious and hearty breakfast at the house before venturing out to walk……The Freedom Trail!!! The weather was freezing cold and the wind was fierce, but hey, you can’t let the weather stop you from having fun! We parked outside of the Boston Common, the starting point for the trail. We pretty much hit all of the major sites on this trail…except for a few. From the Boston Common, we visited the following:
[listcheck]

  • The State House (the building with the gold dome)
  • Park Street Church
  • Granary Burying Ground (Here lies Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Sam Adams; it was covered in snow, so we couldn’t walk through the cemetery)
  • King’s Chapel (*Note—we quickly learned on this tour that to see the extra and interesting stuff, you have to cough up the cash. Example, we really wanted to see the crypt and bell tower, but it was $8.00 each.)
  • King’s Chapel Burying Ground (Covered in snow…unable to walk through)
  • Boston Latin School and Old Corner Book Store (somehow we missed these, but we did see the Old City Hall building!
  • The Old South Meeting House (which is where there was heavy discussion as to what to do with the hundreds of barrels of tea!)
  • Old State House (the Boston Massacre occurred right outside of this building)
    Faneuil Hall
  • Paul Revere House (our favorite!) It was such a small and humble house. Hard to believe that he had 16 children! He left that very house to make his legendary ride to Lexington to warn the colonists that the British were coming.
  • Old North Church-Before riding to Lexington, Paul Revere stopped here to notify the church how many lanterns to hang in the steeple; they hung 2 to indicate that the British were arriving from the sea.
  • Copp’s Hill-a burying ground that we could not tour due to snow.
  • Bunker Hill-The British won this battle, but not by much. It gave the colonists hope that they could succeed. The monument was closed because there was ice on the steps!!! What a disappointment!!! So, we went across the street to the Bunker Hill Museum instead.
  • USS Constitution-We ran out of time. Jeremie volunteers his time to a local basketball team and they had a game that afternoon and we all went to that instead. Oh well…there’s always next time.
  • At one point during the day we stopped at Mike’s Pastry. I ordered a chocolate cupcake. Why I didn’t order the Boston Cream Pie, I couldn’t tell you. Why no one else asked me why I didn’t order the Boston Cream Pie…again, I just couldn’t tell you. Although the word is that the “Ricotta Pie” is one of the desserts that they are most famous for.

    We also walked through the local market. Funny story: There was this guy who kept going to every vendor and was haggling and lying and saying that the other vendors were offering their produce for cheaper in hopes of getting a bargain. The vendors totally knew what he was doing and well..let’s just say that they collectively called him out on it and there’s was lots of jeering and profanities that were exchanged between both parties. We got a kick out of it.

    After arriving home, we got ready and went out to dinner and then though exhausted, we headed out to a local bar. The next morning, we had a lovely brunch before heading back to the airport.

    WHAT WE BROUGHT:

    • Canon Powershot SD1000
    • 1 bottle of H2O
    • 2 Cliff Bars
    • Sunglasses
    • Warm clothing
    • Cash
    • Sneakers

    [/listcheck]

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    Paul Revere’s House hands down. It’s just so much better to learn about history in the place where the events actually occurred. Reading about it in a book just doesn’t bring it to life.

    LIVE AND LEARN:

    We’d get the Boston Cream Pie! And see the USS Constitution. Had we traveled to the city at any time besides winter, it would have been fun to take the Duck Boat or Swan Boat Tour. And tour Fenway Park too! We made the best of it despite the weather and the short amount of time that we had.


    SHOW ME THE DOUGH:

    Plane tickets: ~$220.00
    1 magnet= ~$3.14
    Paul Revere Tour=$3.50 X 2= $7.00
    Mike’s Pastry cupcake and cookie= ~7.00
    Dinner and drinks not included!

    GRAND TOTAL: $237.14


    PHOTOS:

washMonument

Touring the Washington Monument

About the Trip

Gain a new perspective of this giant 555 foot stone structure dedicated to George Washington; from the inside out. If you pass the security check, you will be handsomely rewarded with access to an elevator ride up to the 500 foot observation deck. A bona fide park ranger will bestow you with a wealth of interesting historical facts. On a clear day, you can see up to 30 miles from all angles of this beauty. Once you get an up close and personal tour of this inner obelisk, you will forever view its exterior in a whole new light.

Admission to the Monument is “free,” but you will have to pay a service charge for your tickets.  You will also want to book your reservation online and far in advance. We booked this trip on October 3, 2008 online at: http://www.recreation.gov/tourParkDetail.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=77811 NOTE: If you are planning a trip to DC in the spring or summer, make sure to book your reservation at the very beginning of spring….seriously.

Since we live right down the road from DC, we decided to drive into DC and park on one of the side streets.  We actually got a pretty good parking spot too!  Our tour was scheduled for 11:30 am, but we had to pick up our tickets at the gift shop, which is located right next to the Monument 30 minutes before the tour–if you cannot find the gift shop, just ask the park ranger or a friendly tourist who is waiting in line.

WHAT WE BROUGHT

A camera, a car, street clothes, and our smiles.

HIGHLIGHTS

The views from the top were incredible!  On the way down, if you look through the elevator window, you will be able to see parts of the original monument in the elevator shaft (see the picture at the end of this post.)  The weather was beautiful and the sky was the prettiest shade of blue.  Most people always see the Monument from far away, but to really appreciate its beauty, treat yourself with an up close and personal tour of it.

LIVE AND LEARN

When we travel, we love to share our adventures with our friends and family.  Pictures, as we all know, do not ever do the sites and scenery justice.  It is all about the actual experience.  We would really like to take our family and friends to visit this “obelisk of opportunity” next time.

[warning]This trip is not recommended for people who are claustrophobic or have a fear of heights![/warning]


Show me the dough

Service charge for 2 tickets=$3.00
Fuel cost= approximately $.50

GRAND TOTAL: $3.50


PHOTOS: