January 2, 2011

Virginia Vacation

We had an action-packed winter break this year. After a weekend trip to Waco for Jimmy's ordination we packed up and headed north with Matt's mom for a 10-day trip. Matt's brother moved his family just south of Alexandria in the fall so of course we were all over spending Christmas in the DC area this year. It was cold and got dark early, but the upside of visiting in December is that you really do have the places to yourself.

The itinerary is below and more pictures are here.


Day 1 - Tuesday, December 21st - Driving Day
  • Left around lunch time after dropping Duncan at Woof City for his pet vacation
  • Drove from DFW to Tennessee, stopping late in Hurricane Mills, just west of Nashville after 620 miles

    Day 2 - Wednesday, December 22nd - Driving Day 2
    • Left our cheapy hotel early then attempted a quick stop at Andrew Jackson's home - but it was still closed and nothing was visible from the gate :(
    • Drove through foggy Smokey Mountains and snow-covered hills with a quick stop Charlottesville for a walk around the pretty University of Virginia campus
    • Made it to Rob & Melissa's around 8:30 and had time for a quick visit before bed after 690 miles

      Day 3 - Thursday, December 23rd - Family Day
      • Took a neat tour of the FBI Academy where Rob works
      • Went on a snowy hike in the neighborhood to Government Island, where stone for DC buildings was quarried in the 1800s
      • Trekked to Maryland for dinner and a Christmas concert at the LDS temple and got our first taste of DC driving - crazy!!

        Day 4 - Friday, December 24th - Richmond
        • Drove to Richmond to check out the sites
        • Visited the Museum of the Confederacy and toured Jefferson Davis's home, used as the southern White House during the Civil War
        • Explored downtown, Monument Avenue, and Hollywood Cemetery filled with soldiers and notables from the Civil War
        • Lunch at the Capitol Ale House - I recommend the pretzel bun bratwurst sandwich, yum!
        • Stopped at the Tredegar Iron Works/American Civil War Center on the canal
        • Enjoyed fun Christmas Eve activities with the family

          Day 5 - Saturday, December 25th - Mount Vernon Christmas
          • Enjoyed a fun Christmas morning with the nephews - who knew Stinky the dump truck was the toy of the year?
          • Visited George Washington's Mount Vernon complete with great holiday decorations and a soft scenic snow fall after our tour
          • Walked King Street in Old Town Alexandria stopping for tapas and sangria
          • Ventured into DC to and checked out a few memorials at dusk - very fun!


          Day 6 - Sunday, December 26th - Snow Day + Fredericksburg
          • Woke up to snow so relaxed at the house, ran errands and watched football while waiting on the weather
          • Drove south into Fredericksburg to check out the battlefield and cute downtown area in the afternoon


          Day 7 - Monday, December 27th - Monticello
          • Drove into Charlottesville and explored the town and UVA campus a bit
          • Grabbed a traditional lunch of old Virginia at historic Michie Tavern (almost as good as Babe's!)
          • Spent the day at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello - Matt and Betsy's favorite activity of the trip


          Day 8 - Tuesday, December 28th - DC

          Made it into DC and parked at Union Station (just getting there was definitely an adventure) and spent the day on a trolley tour walking, exploring, and enjoying the...
          • Air and Space Museum
          • National Archives - and got an up close view of the founding documents and a surprisingly good lunch at the cafe
          • Natural History Museum - Hope diamond!
          • American History Museum
          • Ford's Theater - a show was going on so we only saw the lobby :(
          • White House and National Christmas Tree - and saw the President's helicopter practice landing on the lawn
          • High-tailed it home on the HOV lane before traffic got too horrible


          Day 9 - Wednesday, December 29th - DC

          Made it back into the city for the second day on our trolley pass and saw plenty more...
          • Library of Congress - my favorite, so pretty!
          • Capitol Visitor Center
          • Botanic Garden - complete with a great holiday display of monuments made from plants and tons of poinsettias and trees
          • Enjoyed lunch at the neat Mitsitam Cafe at the pretty National Museum of the American Indian
          • Jefferson Memorial
          • Franklin Roosevelt Memorial
          • Took another trolley line out to Arlington Cemetery and were of course impressed with the changing of the guard
          • Korean War Memorial
          • Lincoln Memorial
          • Vietnam Memorial
          • Lafayette Square and the north side of the White House - definitely the better side to visit!
          • Hopped down to Old Town Alexandria to wait out rush hour traffic - grabbed pizza and shopped for art at the Torpedo Factory and took home an etching of the city by Mary Morrison


          Day 10 - Thursday, December 30th - Driving Day
          • Got up early and headed home - left at 5:00am, arrived at our house 20 hours later - who says you need two days to drive 1,300 miles?!

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