We just got back from spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Washington, D.C. The twelve hour drive across five states went by surprisingly quickly. I've come to discover that there are only a small number of distinct landscapes in this country when traveling by highway. Driving into the nations capital was like driving into any other major city I've been to. The main reason behind our trip was to spend time with my sister and see our new nephew! Trey wasn't coming home from the hospital until Friday evening, so we were able to get some sightseeing in on Thursday and Friday.
Most of Thursday was spent re-learning board games from our childhood. It is fun to watch my niece grow up and be able to teach me the rules to Uno, Chutes and Ladders, and Pirate-opoly (and watch how creative she is in trying to cheat at said games). In the evening we walked around Georgetown. It being Thanksgiving, most of the stores were closed, but we did enjoy some Häagen-Daz ice cream and walked around the Old Stone House. The night ended with a large feast that provided enough leftovers for the weekend and beyond.
We got an earlier start on Friday, taking the metro to downtown D.C. Our first stop was the National Air and Space Museum. I could have easily spent an entire day walking around the museum taking in all the information they had to offer, but our time was limited. We then proceeded down towards the Washington Monument, where wind gusts over 50 miles per hour were threatening to make little children into flying projectiles. The freak wind/rain storm lasted only a short while. By the time we were passing the World War II memorial the storm was winding down. The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was completely drained, so the ambiance of the walk between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial was taken down a notch. After a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, we proceeded to the White House, making stops at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. The view of the White House from Pennsylvania Avenue is quite restrictive; from street level, you can only see the North Portico. Leaving the White House behind, we traveled to the International Spy Museum. The gift shop alone convinced me to purchase tickets for the self-guided tour of the museum. Upon entering, you are asked to memorize details about a cover identity. You are tested on your recall shortly after and at the end of the tour. Needless to say, both Stephanie and I were recommended for further duty. The exhibits in the Spy Museum kept on coming. There were training videos and computer programs throughout to increase your skills as a spy; spy gear throughout the ages, cryptography information, famous celebrity spies, a fully tricked out Aston Martin DB5 from the James Bond series, and much more.
The rest of the trip was spent relaxing with the family, playing board games, and getting to know our new nephew! Some pictures from our trip are up on my Flickr account in the Washington, D.C. set (note: most pictures are from the National Air and Space Museum; unfortunately, the International Spy Museum didn't allow photography).
Stephanie and I have a busy month ahead of us with trips to Texas, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Arizona planned before the year ends.