Day by Day in Washington DC
In April 2019, my sister, Edna, and I planned a trip to Washington DC. Neither of us had been there before, so we would make this the trip of a lifetime, since neither of us would probably get there again. We used our brother’s 10-year-old Fodor’s Guide to Washington DC to plan our trip, and I typed our Itinerary as we planned. When we finished, we had a dozen places to see over 16 days, and we had booked our lodging and flights. We were ready! My life got really busy between May and end of September marketing my books as well as planning and preparations for the Florence Festival of Books, so I didn’t think about it again until two days before our flight.
Day 1—Tuesday, Oct 1
The Festival of Books was Saturday, September 28, which gave me two days to prepare for my trip. I left home about noon, October 1, and drove to Eugene for the nonstop light to LA. Figured it would take some time to find the terminal at LAX. Not so. It was quick and easy. Then I checked both of us in, since I had made the flight reservations. I checked my bag, but knew Edna wouldn’t be checking hers.
Then I stood in a non-crowded area and attempted to call her when someone tapped me on my shoulder. It was Edna. This was LAX; this was too easy! Neither of us could believe how easily we found each other. She had taken a bus shuttle from Bakersfield. Since we had plenty of time, we stopped at one of many places to eat for some dinner. Then headed to the gate for our DC flight. It was an overnighter. We boarded at 10:25 p.m. and took off after 11. We arrived at 6:35 a.m. (EST) in Baltimore at the Thurgood Marshall airport. Our flight was nonstop and took only 4 ½ hours. (This was one of the airports listed for Washington DC. We didn’t realize that it was actually quite a distance from DC.)
Day 2 ––Wednesday, Oct 2
We took a taxi from the airport to our lodging. It was morning commute traffic and took more than an hour and cost $92. A train would have cost less, but it would have not been as convenient. And we were weary—not having slept overnight.
Our lodging, the Marriott Residence Inn on E Street, is only a few blocks from the National Mall, around which most of what we wanted to see is located. It had a fabulous breakfast buffet, which would be open another half hour and we were invited to partake. So we stowed our luggage and had a lovely breakfast. Then they let us have our room about 9 in the morning instead of waiting until 3 p.m.––normal check-in time. We were very appreciative. We each took a long nap in our 10th story room. There was an elevated freeway about a block in one direction and an elevated train in the opposite direction, but we were high enough not to hear either one.
Once we left our room and headed outside, we wandered around lost for awhile heading into not such a great part of town. We finally asked someone where the Capitol was. Sure nuff, we were headed in the wrong direction. The weather was miserable—95 degrees with about 100 percent humidity.
We did visit the Botanical Garden, which was in a huge, beautiful glass greenhouse. It was lovely. Then we headed back to our room for another nap. Later we ventured out to find a place for dinner and wandered around lost again and finally ended up at a Noodles place. It was okay. It was still quite warm outside. Thank goodness our room was air-conditioned. The heat and humidity had really gotten to us, so we showered and headed to bed early.
Day 3––Thursday, Oct 3
I was on the phone early the next morning and got tickets for the Monuments by Moonlight Tour as well as tickets for two-days on a hop-on, hop-off trolley. Then we headed downstairs to the fabulous breakfast buffet. When we went outside, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was much cooler and hardly humid. We walked to the Air & Space Museum. It was fabulous. (We didn’t realize it, but the next day, the main area of the museum would be closed. We really lucked out.) We had a catch-up afternoon, where we did postcards and caught up on emails. Upon recommendation of the wonderful gal at the desk downstairs, we walked to the Holiday Inn for dinner. Edna had salmon and I had crab cakes. The food was excellent, service good, and not too noisy. What more could we want. It was wonderfull. It had been a very good day. We watched TV and to bed early again.
Day 4––Friday, Oct 4
We started with our wonderful breakfast buffet. Before venturing out, we tried familiarizing ourselves with a map of the area. The weather continued perfect. We walked directly to the Museum of the American Indian. The building is a work of art, no corners, surrounded by water with a waterfall in back. We enjoyed lunch there ––wild rice salad and apple crumb cake. We spent most of the day there. The museum covered all the Americas–the native people from Alaska, Canada, US, Mexico, Central America, and South America through several representative tribes. Everything about the museum was impressive. That evening, we went next door and ordered pizza to go and had it in our room and watched TV. Another great day.
Day 5––Saturday, Oct 5
We were up early and had our fabulous breakfast and the weather continued great. We covered both parts of the National Gallery of Art. The East Building was designed by I. M. Pei and is a work of art itself. We saw many beautiful paintings and sculptures. One of the highlights were the sculptures of Alexander Calder.
We had a quickie lunch from what we had filched from the breakfast buffet—bananas, hard-boiled eggs, and yogurt. We saw many more paintings at the older elegant West Building in the next block. Here, the entry area has a rotunda, huge columns, and a fountain in the middle. For first-timers, it’s a Wow! moment.
Afterwards, we walked around a fabulous sculpture garden with landscaping, paths, and interesting sculptures. It covered blocks.
And we actually saw the National Mall for the first time.
So far it has been a wonderful trip. Check in the next two weeks for Part II and Part III.