September 2008

Last weekend we went up to Seattle.  I had not been up there in a few years and in that time, my friends there have changed jobs, moved, and had a kid.  While I had seen them last year when they were in California, it was good to go up there and catch up.  I figured the trip would be a little different than the last time since L’ was coming with me and now the kid was almost three.  The weather was typical winter weather for Seattle, only it was still September.  Because of the rain and gloom, we stuck to indoor activities and the occasional walk outside. 

We visited the Experience Music Project on Saturday.  I had been there before, but it’s a fun place.  There was a new Sci-Fi Hall of Fame next door which appeals to everyone’s inner geekdom.  It was well done and worth checking out, even for casual Sci-Fi fans.  With Sam not feeling well later in the day, we just brought in dinner and watched Talladega Nights.  More accurately, Charles and I watched it and cried from laughter during a few scenes.  Simultaneously, L’ read her book, Elena played with Sam, and both of them periodically shook their heads in disbelief that we actually found the movie funny.

On Sunday it was cloudy, but not rainy.  Shockingly, we found a Starbucks within walking distance of the house for L’ to get her coffee fix.   A local chocolate factory had tours, but they were already booked.  Instead, we went to the Red Hook factory for a tour.  Having lunch there, we then went on the "tour" which is really just a viewing of the fermentation tanks and a beer sampling.  Nothing great, but after all the excitement, I took a nap back at the house while L’ and Elena went for a walk and Charles played with Sam.  Soon it was time for us to go to the airport to catch our flight back. 

Here are a few photos from the visit:

It was finally time to meet the parents of L’, so we went to Washington, DC (1/2 a state).  It had been awhile since I was there so there were several new places to visit.

The first couple days of the trip we had time to explore DC.  DC is just a short metro ride from the house in Virginia (state #1).  We went to the International Spy Museum.  It was fun and had some neat things to play with and a lot to learn about as far as espionage.  I’m sure their admission list goes straight to real spies (fortunately, L’ bought the tickets with her credit card so I’m still incognito).  After a few hours at the museum, we made it to the Mall for some dinner and then monument hopping.  Capitol BuildingWe walked by the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial (which I had not seen before), the Korean War Memorial, and down to the Lincoln Memorial.  As it was getting dark, we returned to the stage near the Washington Monument to hear the President’s Marine Corp Jazz Band playing. After a busy day of sightseeing, we took the metro back to the house and slept late the following morning.

On day two of the adventure, we went to Georgetown. Lonely Planet had an interesting walking tour of the area.  We explored the old houses, the gothic building at the university, and generally just enjoyed this old, historic, and ritzy part of town.  We returned back in time for showers and dinner.

With family activities occupying us on Saturday, we had a breather from sightseeing; Sunday then resumed the touring with a full day of exploring.  This time we went to Great Falls National Park in Virginia.  We saw the waterfalls and hiked around.  I now saw where L’ gets her hiking prowess as her parents climbed  and scampered along the rocky trail.  Great Falls National Park

After ice cream, we went home to clean up and take naps. We’re no longer used to the humidity and it knocks out us California weather wimps.

With our time in DC coming to a close, we packed up our stuff.   On Monday, L’ picked up the rental car and we drove to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (state #2).  As Maverick likes to ask, why do we need two Virginias?  As our middle school American History taught us, it all comes down to the Civil War.  Harpers Ferry played a prominent roll with John Brown’s raid on the armory back in 1859.  Consult your favorite sources or smart middle school kids for more info.   I was looking forward also to staying at a Bed & Breakfast in the same room where General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson supposedly stayed.   The weather was unseasonably cool which made for a much nicer stay.  We were able to walk around the historical area, check out the sites, get me some excellent fudge, and walk across the river to the Maryland side (state #3 for those of you still counting). Harper's FerryAfter the day of touring, our B&B suggested we head to Shepherdstown, WVa (you know you’ve heard of it).  We found a surprisingly good restaurant and enjoyed the dining experience.  I was not expecting fine dining in West Virginia.

Tuesday was our final day and we had a little time to kill before going to the airport.  We asked our B&B hosts for suggestions and they mentioned Oatlands.  I had seen it on the map and in the AAA book and it fit our driving route and time commitments.  It is a plantation that dates from about 1800.  We made it in time for the guided tour which was information overload about the owners of the plantation.  Still, the house was neat to see and the gardens were pretty.  We then returned to Leesburg for lunch on our way to the airport.  I had now survived camping and L”s parents.

See the photos from the trip here: