Our family holiday adventure.
For years, and years as a family we have been dreaming, talking and planning a holiday to the USA and finally this year we made it! The thing is you see, America is a BIG country. A very big country! The list of places we would love to visit grew and grew; East Coast, West Coast, South, Mid West etc. etc. Following a Dinner Table Discussion we made our decision based on such considerations as cost, length of time and places we ALL would like to visit.
New York City & Washington DC here we come!
New York City has been on Anne’s ‘bucket list’ for a long time and we all realised that it was a great place to start out. As soon as we started to talk about all the places we could see it was a unanimous decision. Where else though? In the same way that Anne has had a yearning to visit NYC I have always wanted to go to Washington DC, a place that is steeped in the history of the USA and of course the nations capital. We took a look at the things to see and places to visit in DC and everyone was just as excited, great stuff, lets book it.
So good they named it twice.
Manhattan Skyline from Staten Island
Our flight had been great and getting through immigration at JFK was really easy. I’d heard lots of stories about #hatethewait and the queues with the TSA, but from landing to waiting for our transfer to out hotel took under an hour, piece of cake. Our hotel was in midtown Manhattan and only two blocks away from Central Park and a 10 minute walk from Times Square. New York, what can I say other that WOW! What an incredible city! It truly is the city that never sleeps and we loved every minute of it. We decided that we wanted to pack as much into the six days that we had to spend in New York and on reflection we did just right. Of course, there is much we did not see but that is for another time. To get to see such famous sights like The Empire State building, Grand Central Station (and it is grand and central), The Chrysler Building, Brooklyn Bridge and so much more was very much a dream come true. Before we left the UK we had booked cycle hire to go around Central Park. We picked up our bikes in the morning and had them for the next 4 hours, wonderful stuff. I think that if I lived in New York then I would be out on my bike EVERY DAY cycling around Central Park. The road which does a loop around the park is about 6 miles and includes some climbs and descents and appears to be very popular.
Hit the road.
When we were planning this trip we needed to decide how we were going to get from New York to Washington. We could have flown but the cost was surprisingly expensive! Going by train was a possibility but as we were travelling on a Sunday there was limited service and the times would have eaten into our day. So we decided to hire a car and drive to DC. I will confess that I was a little nervous about driving on the other side of the road in a left hand drive car, however, the staff at the hire centre were great and I felt more relaxed and ready to go. A few blocks after picking up the car we realised that we were driving through Times Square!!!
I’m driving through Times Square!! Brilliant!!!
We stopped about half way at the Chesapeake Services for a bite to eat and a drink, and carried on South on I95. We were so pleased we chose to drive as it really is a good way to experience somewhere.
Welcome to Washington DC.
Our Hotel was just off of Dupont Circle and as it turns out was in a great location for exploring. We got checked and dumped our bags ready to explore.
So far I have not mentioned the weather, (unusual as I am British and we are meant to be obsessed with the topic!) during the flight from London we read a news story which reported that America was going to experience a heat wave while we were there! I can confirm that this was the case! It was a scorcher! By the time we got to Washington the temperatures, even at about 6pm were still in the high 90’s (F). Just to clarify I’m not complaining.
I love Washington, and such a contrast to New York. Were walked from our hotel to go to see the White House and the first thing that hit us was, ‘where is everyone?’ Shops were closed and not many restaurants were still open! Again, not complaining, it was nice to be able to stroll and not be dodging other people. DC exceeded all my/our expectations, its an excellent capital city. I had to pinch myself several times, was I really here? So much to see; the White House, The Capitol, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool and so many more. There were two places that I really wanted to visit, or as the kids put it ‘dad’s keeps going on about’! One is the National Archives and the other is the Smithsonian, specifically the Air and Space museum.
Air and Space Museum
As we walked in everyone’s jaws dropped and all we could utter was, WOW! You know you are onto a winner when even our girls were impressed. It was brilliant and we could have spent many hours there. Because we were only in DC for a short while we could only manage this part of the Smithsonian and would have loved to check out the others especially the American History one, again another reason to come back.
After a break in the Sculpture Garden and a time to take on water we went into the Archives.
What a place! The Archives is the home to the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights and as we discovered a copy of the Magna Carta. Fulfilled an ambition of mine to see these historical documents which have helped to shape the world we now live in, amazing.
We have come home with so many fantastic memories of places we have been and things we have seen and done. All the people we had contact with, including random people we stopped to ask directions or who stopped to help when we looked puzzled or lost, and patient staff in restaurant’s were so friendly and helpful. This helped made our trip to the U.S.special in many ways and I can’t wait to go back again some day.