Saturday, June 27, 2015

Virginia and DC Family Vacation 2015 - June

(click on photos to enlarge)

Sunday - We departed of Richmond, VA.  The flight was pretty uneventful except for turbulence going into Richmond.  It seems this is not the time of year to travel because of Thunderstorms. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  Very attentive employees and nice hotel. 11th Floor views were great.

Monday - We went to my daughter's location of choice.  Actually a lot of the trip was planned by my daughter.  I just did the flights, hotel, car, and metro service detail.  

The destination for the day is Virginia Beach, VA.  About a two hour drive from Richmond.  We found the roads to be lush green and full of trees.  A much stark difference with our drought state brown color.  The roads are well taken care of and everything is easily marked.

We spent a very WARM and humid day in Virginia Beach.  We watched FA-18s (Hornets) fly over most of the day.  We were visited by many a helicopter too.  We rented a nice dome tent to keep us somewhat cool.  The water was a great temperature and everyone was thoroughly enjoying it.  The beach was packed full of people.

There was a fishing dock we walked out on that was very cool, I could see the beach for miles either way I looked.  

We then headed home late afternoon and took a scenic drive through VA.  It was beautiful.  We stopped at The Virginia Diner to have a fried chicken dinner.  It was alright not what we expected.  All night I stared at this church wanting to get a photo before the sun went down.  We then headed for the hotel.

Tuesday - We headed over the much anticipated Washington, DC.  I have wanted to go there for a long time.  It is on my bucket list.  I can tell you, that you need several days to visit this location.  It was ridiculously humid and very hot.  I think each day we were in VA it was over 90 degrees.  We drove to Springfield Metro parking lot/station (2 hours from Richmond, VA).  Then hopped on the blue line to DC.  It was about 30 minutes to get there.  

We went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (photos), it has two stories of all kinds of neat exhibit.  This was my husband's choice, he loved the floor of birds.  We ate lunch at this location. 
Recognize this elephant from a certain movie ;)

picture of Bubonic Plague model

We saw the Hope Diamond which was very cool.

We then headed to the Smithsonian American History Museum (photos).  3 stories of museum.  This was my daughter's choice. We mainly visited the third floor.  We saw  beautiful first lady gowns, war pieces, and Twin Towers pieces.  We saw the Hope Diamond which was very cool.

Nice old camera

Pieces from the World Trade Center after bombing

Entrance to the museum

We walked to the Washington Monument, it was spectacular.  So tall and beautiful.  I think I took the most photos of it. The clouds were perfect and there were so many neat views of it especially on the reflecting pool.

We then headed to the World War II Memorial area, it was a sight to see too.

 By now we are wearing out from the heat but keep going. Next stop the Lincoln Memorial, it was more breath taking than in photos.

 We could no longer take the heat and hailed a cab to take us to the Smithsonian Art Museum area. Our taxi driver took us to the wrong Art Gallery.  I wanted the big Art Gallery (my choice).  Guess I have to go back again.  

We visited the Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur Sackler Gallery, and African Art Gallery.  I really want to see the big place and the Portrait Gallery.  There were some beautiful pieces of Art.

We then thought of heading back to the hotel as it was getting hotter and more humid by the minute and one gentleman told us it was going to rain.  Hardly a cloud in the sky.  We ended up eating at a local restaurant and heading home around 7:00 p.m.  When were on the Metro, it started to rain extremely hard with thunder and lightning.  It was incredible.  I drove the car through this weather for about an hour and then lighter weather the rest of the way.  We headed off to bed from a very busy day.  So much more to see in DC.

Wednesday -  Woke up to a day with no humidity, yea! Another adventure for my daughter.  It was Shenandoah.  We went to the National Park - Beautiful country and views from the Skyline Drive.  Country for miles.  Flowers and wildlife.  My husband was getting his fill of birds.  We ate lunch at the lodge and then went to the outlook by that location. I recommend this location for hikers as most views of waterfalls, etc. you have to hike too.  We then drove into the valley of Shenandoah Town.  We hung out at the river and then went into a very small town of Shenandoah. It was kind of sad as most stores were closed up you could tell the economy is not good to this location.  We then drove back to the hotel.  (This is also another 2 hour trip).


From the outlook highest area

White Tailed Deer

Town Sign

Photos from town cementary

Very old headstone made of metal

Me doing one of my favorite things

hay rolls
We ate a nice dinner and took short walk around the area by the hotel. Not to much there as it is the business district and it was quite empty.

Thursday - We went on an unplanned trip to Colonial Williamsburg.  It was about a 45 minute drive to the town.  The tours are $40 a person so we did not pay that just to walk into museums. A little pricey per person.  It was very hot and humid again, but we did enjoy the walk through historic little town.  There are many shops and restaurants.  We enjoyed a nice lunch at a cafe, which was super good.  We visited some shops but we did not buy much, nothing seemed to be what we were looking for.

We decided to look for a book store in Richmond and found a small store in the downtown part of Richmond, VA. We ended up eating dinner downtown at a nice restaurant The Tobacco Company Restaurant. We had to wait about an hour as they serve dinner starting at 5:30 p.m.  I was able to go out and take photos, it was a great area for photos.  One man I think that was reliving his younger years, continually honked his horn for me to take his photo, his music just blaring.  I enjoyed walking around in this area.

We went for a swim and planned on resting. But much to our surprise that was not going to happen. We had a full on storm that rocked the hotel with the biggest thunder storm.  It was so big it set off the emergency alarm system in our hotel.  It was too much water for the location to handle.  We were evacuated down 11 floors (stairs).  Then told we could return to our room. My husband went outside to see water just rushing down the streets.  Our hotel was more down hill and water was running down the streets. This photos does not justice to what was happening. Sheets of lighting and claps of thunder.
Storm in the distance that reached us in no time.

Friday - We packed up and headed to the airport.  We had a beautiful time and recommend others to visit Virginia and DC there is so much to see.  History buffs would love this area.  As I said we plan on going back to DC, just later in the year for less thunderstorm activity.  Little rough on the flight home.

Fun trip that I will not forget :)

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