We headed out to the airport early on Christmas Eve. The kids plus all their stuff was about as much fun as I expected, although, blessedly, the security line was nonexistant. We arrived in DC, one plane change later and only 15 minutes later than scheduled, on a rainy, dreary afternoon.
We were thankful to find a minivan cab right away--as we've already discovered these are not overly common in DC and we can't all fit in a sedan-style cab. There was a slight problem with our hotel reservation when we arrived, which added a bit of stress, but was easily resolved. We are staying in a suite hotel with a full kichen, so we were pleased to see a Trader Joe's directly across the street. Although I have heard much about the aweseomness of Trader Joe's, I found it to be a bit overrated. Still, we were glad to be able to stock our kitchen, knowing that everything would be closed on Christmas.
As soon as we got back, we headed out to the National Cathedral by way of bus. It was cold and wet, and we were happy that we didn't have to wait very long, although the bus ride seemed to take forever and we arrived only a few mintues before the service started. The National Cathedral is simply stunning, although I wish we could have seen more of it and we were seated so far back we really could see anything that was happening except on the monitors. We'd like to go back and do a tour, but I don't think we'll have time on this trip.
Christmas morning, the kids opened their stockings and we headed out to Mount Vernon. This will (hopefully) be our most expensive day. Tickets to Mount Vernon cost more than an other attraction we are planning to visit and it was no easy task to get there. We took the metro to the end of the line, and then started waiting on a but that apparently only ran every hour on normal days, and who knows how often on a holiday. After about a 15-minute wait, a mini-van cab showed up and we grabbed it. A $30 cab ride later, and we were there.
Mount Vernon was beautiful and interesting , but I'm not sure it was worth the hassle and expense of getting there.
Coming back, we stopped at Arlington National Cemetery. It is truly the most humbling place I have ever been, and seemed a particularly appropriate place to spend Christmas. Pictures simply don't convey the hundreds of thousands of gravestones that go on as far as the eye can see. It was especially beautiful with Christmas wreaths laid at every headstone. We visited Vicksburg a couple of years ago, which was impressive on its own, but incomparable to Arlington.
We ended our day with dinner near Dupont Circle and a brisk walk back to our hotel, where we all collapsed in exhaustion. This is a beautiful city, and I love it already. I feel like I live in a barren wasteland in comparison. Today we hit a couple of the Smithsonians. Maybe we'll see some of the monuments, if the weather cooperates, although it sounds like it is sleeting right now.