On our second day in Washington DC, we simply wanted to chill. Since it was broiling outside, going full tilt tourist and running around to more monuments, museums and anything else that visitors normally do just didn’t sound appealing. Besides, we were severely tested on our first sweltering day around the National Mall, and were more than ready to stay at RAS’s friend’s house in northern Virginia for a couple of days and not do much of anything.
Normally when we go on vacation with the kids, we are always mindful to book at accommodations with swimming pools, just like any family with children would. Even though the girls know how to swim, they really just like to play and splash. But since we stayed in a rental, the girls did not get that luxury (well, necessity to them) while we were in New York.
Lucky for us, Dave’s neighborhood had a community swimming pool, which was probably the highlight of the girls’ DC time. And it saved our sanity 🙂
Before we headed to his home, we visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This is actually the main one everyone knows about, but there is another one out near Dulles International Airport with the official name of Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Our intent was to go to the original, then to either the nearby American Indian or the American History museums. As it turned out, we only had a surprisingly expensive lunch at the former, and never made it to the latter, even though we intended to visit there after our scheduled Capitol visit.
The girls appeared to enjoy the Air more than the Space part, as did I. On my other visits to this most-visited museum in town, I never really looked at the evolution of air travel. We took in full exhibits on the Wright brothers’ inventions, Charles and Anne Lindbergh’s travels and other aviators, famous and not-as-known.
(My apologies for having these stock photos here, but these are essentially the things we saw):
It’s hard to imagine now, but airlines once practiced the art of luxury service, and not just for first class passengers. The seats and cabins in some of the early passenger jets were larger than some people’s living rooms. They served incredible gourmet-class meals. And they had some pretty stylish flight attendant uniforms.
As I mentioned, we didn’t do as much here as we did in New York. In fact, during the next day, our biggest event was going to the National Zoo (also an official Smithsonian museum), where we saw Bao-Bao, an awesome giant panda, and his friends putting on a show for the tourists like us.
We also went to Present, a whimsically named Vietnamese restaurant in nearby Falls Church, with my longtime college friend Diana and her family. They offer even more fanciful names for their dishes like Cow on the Open Field (marinated tenderloin tips) and Basking on the Sandy Beach (soft shell crabs). And the food was pretty darn good too.
Come back later and go with us to the Capitol, and our first day in Delaware!