East Coast Christmas

We enjoyed a fast and furious vacation over Christmas break this year. We drove through Tennessee to Virginia along with Matt's mom, then stayed at his brother's house (with their 3 kiddos) for 5 days in their suburban DC home. On the return trip we looped back through the south east with stops in Charleston, Florida, New Orleans, and my sister's house outside Houston. At two weeks and over 4,000 miles this trip ended up being longer than it looked on the map!

We had a great time taking in all the history of the area, and thanks to Matt I am becoming a Civil War expert too. There's not too much we still need to see in DC, but I'd love to go back to Charleston and Florida soon. The history, food, and shopping in these places was exactly what I look for in a great vacation. A few highlights from the big trip...

Washington, DC
  • Two days of dissertation research at the Library of Congress - and one of the main reasons we made the trip to DC again so soon
  • Ford's Theatre and House Where Lincoln Died - very cool, definitely exceeded exceptions
  • Amazing art and architecture at the National Gallery of Art and National Portrait Gallery
  • A return trip to the United States Botanic Garden, the best for Christmas decorations
  • National Museum of the American Indian 
  • Iwo Jima Memorial, Theodore Roosevelt Island Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
  • Capitol Tour and FBI private tour with the whole Hamilton Crew
  • Our first time ever riding the subway - glad that's not something I have to do everyday!
  • Appomattox Court House - site of Lee's surrender of the army of Virginia
  • Exploring pretty Alexandria
  • Civil War stuff - Spotsylvania, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Malvern Hill, we had planned to go to Antietam and Harper's Ferry too but bad weather got in the way, guess that means we'll have to go back  
  • Colonial Williamsburg!!!! A little cheesy but still lots of fun, we loved walking the streets and our colonial lunch at Shield's Tavern
  • Historic Jamestowne Settlement - very neat
  • Yorktown Battlefield - Cornwallis's surrender site during the American Revolution
  • Beautiful Berkeley Plantation, a British style plantation home with beautiful gardens and a unique history
Charleston, South Carolina
  • Fort Sumter ferry ride and tour, complete with beautiful Charleston harbor views and dolphin sightings
  • Shopping in the market, walking the parks and seawall, and lovely historic homes around every corner
  • Great food at Henry's House and High Cotton - Charleston by far had the best food of the trip, shrimp and grits!
  • Exploring Amelia Island and great crab cakes at Barbara Jean's
  • Shopping and walking St. Augustine, the Spanish-feel made it quite different from other places on the trip
  • Visiting pretty Castillo de San Marcos right on the water on New Year's Eve
  • Quick stops in Jacksonville and Tallahassee
New Orleans
  • A return trip to the Chalmette Battlefield (and 80 degree temperatures!)
  • Shopping the French Market for new art, dinner on Jackson Square, and drinks on Bourbon Street (with tons of Sugar Bowl fans)
  • Breakfast at Cafe du Monde and a long day of driving in the rain back to Texas
  • Fun times and our last Christmas stop at Maggie + Jimmy's cute new house in Spring
  • A wild ride back to DFW, our car wouldn't start!!!!! but after a jump start and an hour and half stop at the Toyota Dealership (where they couldn't find anything wrong) we made it home in time to relax before heading back to work
4,025 miles of fun!
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