Sunday, April 18, 2010

Next Stop Washington, DC

We had decided to rent a car & drive to DC, because according to the mileage, it should only be about a 3 hour drive...right? And of course, before we could even take off, everybody had to wake up; this can be a bit challenging when traveling with a teenager. I decided that since he had been unwilling to pose for any pictures thus far, I would take whatever I could get. At least when he is sleeping he cannot cover his face.

Once we were all up & ready to go, we called Enterprise, because, "they'll pick you up". Of course they don't say how soon they will pick you up. And in our case, of course, it was about a 2 hour wait...even though when I reserved the car I was told to just call when we were ready to go. (The return of the car did not go much better...) But finally, we had our car & off we went. I found it very curious to learn when we stopped for gas that, according to the signs, it is illegal for a person to pump their own gas. Since it was mighty chilly, we were fine with them having a bunch of guys at every gas station to stand in the cold for us, we just weren't used to it.

And even though looking at the mileage it is only a three hour drive, it was really more like 5, given that practically half of the trip was in rush hour traffic. But after all of the waiting & driving, we did make it to our hotel in time for dinner. And we had a nice view of the Capital from the outside of the hotel.

We had hoped to tour the White House, but even though the White House website makes it sound like they try to grant most request....according to our representative, they almost never grant the requests...ours included. But she did offer to schedule a capital tour for us, and Tyler actually wanted to see that, since he had seen a TV show that said it was haunted.

He was not quite as excited when he found out our tour was scheduled for 9 AM, and that we'd be walking. But miraculously, he did make it up in time, and managed to make it all the way there without collapsing from

Look at their excitement as we waited for the tour to begin... that looks pretty close to a smile from a 14 year old who was forced to go on vacation with his parents & little brother.

Do you see the light are right behind this guys shoe? That is the exact center of Washington DC. (I know, you thought I just really like his shoes!)

There are tons of statues, some I recognized, some not so much.

This was really amazing to see, although it made me a little dizzy looking up at it.

See the spot in the picture? Chris & Cameron are convinced those are "orbs" aka ghosts. There were several pictures that had them on, in different places, but I'm still not 100% convinced.
After the tour, we started walking, because there is not much parking available there, even if we did want to drive. There are a lot of impressive looking buildings, but there are just so many of them that I've forgotten the name! I believe this one is the national archives.

I cannot remember what this one was...I was not so great in Social Studies!

It was kind of a long walk to get to the White House, but we made it. You can't go to DC without seeing that!
A nice Asian man offered to return the favor after I took a picture of him in front of it.

Next stop was the Washington Monument, the Reflecting Pool & Lincoln Memorial.

(The teenager had run out of money for souvenirs in New York, so in order to get something in DC, I said he had to take some nice pictures with us. It almost killed him, but he pulled through.)

I'm not sure what I expected, but the Lincoln Memorial was a lot bigger than I thought it would be!
We stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch, and then stopped at the Wax Museum to meet some famous people. Thomas Jefferson...

Abraham Lincoln...
George W. Bush...

Mrs. Kennedy was sweet enough to loan me the fur coat for our photo op.

Cameron stopped off the meet Will.

Ben Franklin...Chris, of course had to stop to see Tiger...
Tyler was willing to pose for this one photo...although I'm having trouble remembering if this was Babe Ruth or not.
I'm not real sure why they had this set up, especially since we got scolded after the picture because I guess nobody was supposed to go behind the podium.

I stopped to be interviewed by Katie before we left.

This was pretty much the last fun stop. From here we retrieved the rental car & headed out for our 5 hour drive back up to New York. And it still took 5 hours going back too. We stayed in a different hotel the last night,only to discover that the fact that it was 3 miles away from the original hotel made it outside of Enterprises area in which they would "drop off us" after we returned the car. Our hotel was willing to help us out...until their van got stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel, which ended up being closed both directions because of accidents.
Thankfully, Chris found a cab that brought him to the hotel to pick the boys & I up to head to the airport. And even with the horrible weather, our flight left on time. According to our cab drive, we were very lucky we were flying out of Newark instead of LaGuardia, or we would have probably been stranded.
Overall, it was a great vacation! I would recommend it to everyone. The little ones had a great time with Nana & their aunties! I was a little worried about Caleb, since he is the most clingy, but Marnee won him over with a Globe Trotters game...he can't resist anything that involves a ball. Maybe we'll get to go back when they are old enough.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 2 in New York

For our second day in New York City, we wanted to see the Statue of Liberty & the Empire State Building. So, we took the bus again from our hotel to the Port Authority.
The view on Chris' side of the bus was a little better than mine...
We took a cab from the Port Authority to the ferry. That ride was pretty uneventful, and in the end, the driver dropped us off at the wrong one. He took us to the terminal for the Staten Island Ferry. It was freezing out, so we stayed for a few minutes to warm up & have a snack. The terminal had a nice view of the Brooklyn Bridge, though.Once we could feel our fingers again, we walked a few blocks to the Ellis Island Ferry, only to find out that not only would it be at least a 2 hour wait, they would only go by the Statue of Liberty, not actually stopping there as their brochure alluded to. So, we opted to enjoy the view of the Statue from shore. We took a brisk walk towards Ground Zero after that. Along the way we saw a cemetery...while I realize even New York has to have cemeteries, it just seemed a little out of place to me.
We also went by Wall Street.
And finally arrived at Ground Zero. It was kind of a surreal feeling, to see it so many years later.
We took a cab from Ground Zero to the Empire State Building. It was just like they show on TV! The driver completely ignored these "Don't Honk" signs, and literally almost ran over the feet of a couple crossing against the light!

While I was in the front seat fearing for my life, Chris & the boys were enjoying the view.
Tyler was especially excited...or at least as excited as a 14 year old gets when on vacation with his family.

Here are some pictures of the Empire State Building when we arrived there & got in line.
We took a few pictures inside the building, too, while we waited in line.
King Kong even paid a visit.

Finally, after over three hours in line, we got to go up. The view was probably would have been better in daylight, though. It certainly was nothing like they showed on "Sleepless in Seattle"!

Here's a final picture of the lights right after we came down.

From there, we decided to check out Times Square again, to see it at night.

This was the end of our time in New York City. Overall, it was really fun to see, I'm glad we decided to take the boys there. But there were just way too many people for me - I don't know how people can live there! Next stop...Washington DC.