First we went to Boston and stayed at a hotel overnight before taking the bus to Maine. We hunted around for dinner in one of those miserable, frustrating, whine-filled searches for food that satisfies everybody, and ended up eating dumplings at 9 pm at a place that brags that it's the second best Chinese restaurant in the United States. The dumplings were good. The hotel beds were comfortable.
I was only in Maine briefly before heading back to Boston to hang out with a friend and enjoy traveling on my own. The rest of the family kept the camera and had some classic Maine summer adventures, including kayaking, nature walks, swimming, and sailing.
We reconvened in DC (dragging Papa Big Cook with us) and spent five days visiting museums. memorials, and federal government buildings. We stayed in Arlington, and took the Metro a LOT. We also walked a lot, and it was HOT. Finding food everybody could live with was a daily challenge (ramen and pizza are the only things Skipper really wants to eat anymore). It was also a really nice trip, even punctuated with whine-splosions.
Day One: Duchess nearly passed out in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the State Department, greatly alarming the security guards escorting us. However, that was a fun tour, and Duchess rallied for a full day of slogging to the Lincoln and Vietnam memorials and past the White House, lunch in a highly-secure food court at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, and a visit to the Museum of American History. We saw many Objects, including Abraham Lincoln's top hat and the Swedish Chef. (I find that I really enjoy looking at historically significant Objects.) We met our first very tame squirrel.
Day Two: We visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum (just the exhibit designed for kids, because that's all we could manage), the Jefferson Memorial, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We ate frozen lemonade.
Day Three: Air and Space Museum and Museum of the American Indian. (Duchess had a buffalo burger in the cafeteria.) We also had a lovely evening visit with some friends we haven't seen in a very long time.
Day Four: We went to Jeff Merkley's constituents' coffee in the morning, and then got a tour (from an intern) of the Capitol buildings. We ate at the cafeteria, where Papa Big Cook ate Senate Bean Soup, s, and then we waited in a long line to make a brief visit to the House of Representatives. Duchess was very excited and is now building a life plan around being a Congressional page and then an intern and then going into the Foreign Service and then maybe a Congressional staffperson... We made a stop at the National Archives,* and then a quick visit to the Museum of Natural History. We had dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant, because that was all Cook really wanted out of a trip to DC. Skipper was sure she was going to hate it, but she did not hate it at all.
Day Five: Newseum, which was surprisingly effective. They had an exhibit of Pulitzer Prize photos that was emotionally overwhelming for all of us; Skipper and Duchess and I all left in tears. They also had a nice view of Pennsylvania Avenue. We wrapped up the trip with visits to the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court.
We flew home yesterday, and here we are, mopping up (in very hot weather) and preparing to return to normal life tomorrow.
*I finally bullied Cook into agreeing to watch National Treasure with the kids, so we were totally ready to see the National Archives. Though as it turned out, my favorite thing on display there was a homesteading claim payment by Charles Ingalls.