When we started 50 in 5, I knew I wanted to plan a special trip for us to take with my step-daughter, Emma. Fall Break in Washington, D.C. was the perfect family trip, and it was fun to plan with a pre-teen in mind. We started the trip with a quick visit to Annapolis, Maryland, before heading into D.C.
Though we spent only a short amount of time in Annapolis, we loved it. In a lot of ways, the historic buildings and homes reminded me of Old Salem in my hometown. I would love to learn more about the history of the town (Maryland’s state capital) on a future visit. For instance, did you know that Annapolis served as the national capital for one year in 1783-84?
We drove immediately to the waterfront, and were all anxious to be out of the car after going through horrendous D.C. metro-area traffic. We caught a boat tour, which was a great way to see the town from Annapolis Harbor, then walked around the Naval Academy campus.
Hoping for some good seafood, I chose Boatyard Bar & Grill for dinner. I’m sure all of the food was good, but the only thing that sticks in my mind is that I ate the most delicious crab cake of my entire life. Also, the most expensive. 😂 I even tweeted about it. I didn’t know it at the time, but their crab cakes have been named “the best crab cake you’ll ever eat” by Southern Living. And I just discovered you can order them online to ship to your house. Apparently this is a crab cake appreciation post now. Moving on…
Our Washington D.C. Airbnb
After stopping by Aldi to pick up some breakfast foods for our stay, we drove to our Airbnb in northeast Washington. At 12, I thought Emma might appreciate her own space instead of sharing a hotel room with us. With that in mind, my search criteria was that the Airbnb have two bedrooms and be within walking distance to the metro. This listing was my final selection, and it was great for us during the trip. We had a couple of small issues during our stay, but the hosts were very responsive and helpful. Best of all, it was near the Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood metro station and we didn’t use our car again until it was time to leave.
Library of Congress and The White House
I planned a full agenda of places to see and things to do during our 48 hours in the city. After a short metro ride, we started our first morning at the Library of Congress, where I fell all over myself at the gorgeous architecture. Highlights of the visit also included the Gutenberg Bible and seeing a world map that was printed in 1507!
Around lunchtime, we made our way to The White House for our scheduled tour. I was really excited for Emma to have the opportunity to visit “The People’s House,” as I previously visited in college and loved it. The tour is pretty short, and goes through the East Wing. Note: WH tours are only available a couple of days per week. They must be requested through a member of Congress far in advance of your trip.
After a late lunch in Chinatown, we popped back to the Airbnb to relax and watch a movie until dinner.
D.C. monument tour
Since most things to do in D.C. are free, I splurged on one paid activity for our trip: a guided nighttime tour of the monuments via electric vehicle. The tour guide was great, and invited Emma to sit up front – catering a lot of what he said to her directly. I enjoyed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial the most, but the whole tour was really interesting. It was a fun way to see several of the sites without taking up so much time walking between them.