This year, Spring Break coincided with peak Cherry Blossom Season, so off we went to Washington, DC. A rather last minute home exchange landed us in a beautiful townhouse in Adams Morgan, a perfect home base for our 4 day stay. Here are some highlights of the trip this year –
1. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History – It’s open late during spring break, which meant we could arrive at 4:30 pm and see everything we wanted before closing time at 7:30 pm with no lines. We hung out at Julia Child’s Kitchen for over an hour, watching old videos of Julia’s TV shows and listening to her interviews. It really is such a special exhibit.
2. The National Gallery of Art – Truly a national treasure. The kids loved it!
3. Hillwood Estate and Gardens – in Cleveland Park. If you like Russian Art, French pottery and beautiful gardens, it’s worth a visit. The Japanese Garden, though small, is really quite special.
and the orchid greenhouse is magical.
Probably a better time to visit is in May or June when more is blooming that a few Cherry Blossom trees. If gardens aren’t your thing, then head instead to the nearby Zoo. Combine it with an al fresco lunch at Yanni’s Greek Taverna (best gyro meat I’ve ever had).
4. Potomac Monument and Cherry Blossom Bike Tour – We rented bikes for the kids at the Washington Marina (warning – bring your own helmet or be forced to buy one for $20 and get a trail map ahead of time) and rode along the Washington Memorial Highway portion of the Mt Vernon Trail into the city.
The well-paved and mostly flat trail took us past the small and attractive Reagan Airport, where planes were landing practically over our heads as we rode. We left the trail to cross the Arlington Bridge to visit the Lincoln, Roosevelt and Jefferson Monuments, then rode back across the Mason memorial Bridge to return to the Marina. Total distance – about 12.5 miles. If you do this ride, do pack a picnic lunch, as food is scarce among the monuments – just some tourist food kiosks with long lines at the Lincoln and Jefferson Monuments. (We ended up parking the bikes and sneaking into the Holocaust Museum Cafe for lunch.)
5. The newly gentrified area around 14th and P. We did our food shopping at Whole Foods and ate at ThaiTanic with the chic young working crowd who are living and flocking to this area in droves. If I were of that age, this might be where I’d live.
6. Shopping in Adams Morgan – We loved Idle Times Books, the Tibet Shop (Tibetan Imports) and Bazaar Atlas (Moroccan and Senegales imports). Having kids along, we did not hit the bars, but would have loved to have had a beer and listened to some West African music.
This was our second spring break in a row in DC, and I want to do it again next year. I loved having a house to stay in, food shopping with the locals, cooking dinner and hanging in the kitchen over coffee in the morning overlooking the garden. Not to mention having bikes to ride! Thanks to our hosts for opening up their warm and lovely home to us – we’re so glad you had a good time at our place. Let’s do it again next spring!
Thanks to Nats for lending me her photos from the Gallery visit.