Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Washington DC...Biking Family Style

One of the joys of family travel is rediscovering the world through the eyes of your child. With Kiddo in 6th grade beginning to understand and show interest in politics and government, a spring break trip to Washington, DC seemed a perfect idea. Planned a trip that included all the typical touristy highlights, along with side trips to reconnect with family (Kiddos sister & hubby's brother live outside Baltimore).

Of course, many of the sites were visited by bike. Others by foot. Or via the use of public transit. Or a combination of all three. We're a get up and go kinda family with a firm belief that exploring by foot or bike allows a much deeper experience no matter where you are. WARNING: FAILED AT LIMITING PICTURES AND WORDS BELOW. Hang with me. In a complete aside for biking people: All three days I was rented a mixie (being a *girl* and all). And I don't think I ever stepped through it. Always threw leg over saddle. Old habits.

Our first rental was from the Union Station location of Bike and Roll. We'd taken the subway from our hotel, choosing this vendor both due to location, and we've rented from these folks before in San Francisco (read about it). This location only had "comfort" bikes - whose wide, padded saddles are the opposite of comfort when riding all day, just saying. Once we got suited up with the proper sized bike and helmet, off we went.

First stop was the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. Spent a couple hours wandering around looking at the exhibits. In our case it was just enough time. We were ready to move on.

Started heading up the Mall, with a couple of photo opportunity stops. First by FEMA then by the Washington Monument.

In fact most of the rest of the day was stops for quick exploring of monuments, reading plaques and taking pictures. The World War Two Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial.

A spin around the reflecting pool brought us to the Martin Luther King, FDR, and Thomas Jefferson Memorials. Sadly we were a couple of weeks too late to enjoy the cherry blossoms.

The day was getting long, so it was time to head back to return the bikes. But first a swing past the White House.

A great day of sightseeing. Much, much more seen, much more enjoyable, cheaper, healthier and fun than a bus tour.

On another day, we rented bikes from Bike and Roll's Alexandria location, opting for their Combo bike rental, Mount Vernon tour and ferry package. In this you bike 11-12 miles on a bikeway along the Potomac to Mount Vernon, receive tickets to the site, lock your bikes up on the grounds and take a ferry back to Alexandria. 

It was a nice easy ride, great for families. Mount Vernon is such an interesting place to visit. The gardens, the plantation house, the glimpse of how for Washington and others of his day their lifestyle only existed due to slaves.


The ferry ride home was also quite enjoyable (even if I would have liked to bike a bit more).

Equally enjoyable were the oysters and beers when we got back to Old Town Alexandria.

Other trip highlights were visits to the International Spy Museum, and using their GPS enabled "Spy in the City" handheld to go on a walking spy adventure around the city.

Plus visits to the Ford Theater (make reservations!), the US Capitol, The Library of Congress, Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry (oh say can you see....), seeing friends and family, catching Uncle Mike's band perform, meeting cousin Wrenn's fiance and hanging out with big sis, a Food Network inspired trip to DC-3, a visit to Dogfish Head Brewery, and another bit of biking this time along Ocean City, MD boardwalk.

Yes a busy week...that's how we roll...and how we like our vacations!

Read all the way to here, and wondering why I wrote a recap of a 2012 spring break trip in spring of 2013? It has occurred to me that maybe if I either deleted or finished all the partially written drafts I have hidden behind the scenes of this blog that I might feel like writing more. Take away some of the pressure created by evidence of procrastination. Or some such. I have a tendency to start a post, give it a title, throw in a picture, and then get stuck - usually because I can't figure out how to limit the # of pictures or words. Looking at the list in the draft folder, a few were easily deleted. Others I would like to finish.

This recap of our spring break 2012 trip to Washington DC fit under the need to finish category.


  1. Super cool. Biking should be a part of all travels and adventures. -ridebikesdrinkbeer from IG

  2. That's great you can see all that with a bicycle