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March 10, 2014

We are going on a trip...

We are going on vacation in May to a part of the country that I haven't spent much time in!

Which part?

Glad you asked.

Annapolis, MD... and the D.C. area.

Photo credit
My cousin, David, is graduating from the United States Naval Academy in May, we are so proud!!! My whole family is going to Annapolis for a week for his graduation and to have our family vacation. I've been researching things to do with kids, specifically a 1 year old and a 3 year old... and I really think we'll spend a few days in D.C. going to the Smithsonian and the National Zoo. We are staying in Annapolis, so I would like to find a few things closer than D.C. to do some of the days... and since we only have just over two months until we go, I also need some travel suggestions!

First, do you have any tips or places to visit with little ones in the Washington D.C./Annapolis area? The weather should be very nice in May. We are flying but have a rental car to get us to all the places we want to go.

Second, double stroller. I don't like mine at all. We have a Sit and Stand and there are several things that I don't like about it. I'm not sure if we will buy another one before we go, make the Sit and Stand work or if we will end up carrying Rhett in the backpack carrier most of the time.... Suggestions welcome! I think we will be doing a lot on foot and I want to make it as easy as possible with the boys. Preferably a stroller Rhett can nap in, etc...

Third, date ideas? Bryan and I might get a little time to ourselves... the perks of traveling with ALL of our family and he really wants to take me to the Spy Museum. Bryan has been to D.C. a few times but I have only been to D.C. once for a conference in High School and we basically just saw most of the U.S. government buildings, etc, but didn't really do anything fun. I did tell him one thing that I didn't get to do that I want to do is drive by the White House... and I heard you can tour it again now?? Anywhere else we should check out if we can sneak away?

Fourth, we have been watching House of Cards and I love, love Scandal. I think I might be a little disappointed to not see Olivia Pope or Frank Underwood while we are there, ha! But it is getting me in the spirit of being in our Nation's capitol.

The interesting thing is that Bryan and I basically decided from the get-go that we wouldn't be able to go on this trip. It was going to be too much trouble, too expensive and too hard to travel that far with the boys. When we were away for our weekend in February, we talked about it, and just realized that life is so short. We've lost two family members in a little over a year and you just don't know how much longer you have with your family. I am so, so, so excited to spend a week with all of my Kerby family and I love that Hudson and Rhett get to play with my cousins (the little ones are closer in age to them than me, ha! Perks of being the oldest). My grandma has been here with us in Arkansas for a little over two months and she just left to go home yesterday and we won't see her again until we go to Annapolis. Rhett and I might both go through withdrawals! ha!
Grandma Jeda and Rhett Joseph

So let me know your tips or any travel tips with little ones at all! I am very open to suggestions!

13 comments:

  1. I have no suggestions, but enjoy the planning because that is half the fun.

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  2. I don't have any tips for that are with kiddos, but our oldest is at the age were a teeny sticker book kept her distracted A LOT. And I get lots of cheap $1 things at Target and let her unwrap them intermittently on the long trip. And... pipe cleaners! Lastly, a sucker can pretty much plug them up any time you need them quiet. ;)
    Happy travels! I love your blog- it's beautiful! I found you from kelly's Korner.
    Georgia

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  3. Hi Jenna, I live in Southern Maryland and have spent some time in Annapolis. There is a fun pirate themed boat ride that your boys might enjoy. The website is: http://www.chesapeakepirates.com/. Also, the children's museum at the Annapolis Harbor is really nice. There is a fantastic steakhouse you and Bryan might like for your date night called Ruth Chris Steakhouse (http://ruthschris-annapolis.com/), it is fabulous! Enjoy your trip and I hope these suggestions help.

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  4. Restaurant: Capital Grille in Washington DC and maybe try a double umbrella stroller. They aren't too expensive and fold up nicely. Have fun!

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  5. We went to DC pre-baby, but it is a great family friendly destination. Definitely visit the different museums that make up the Smithsonian - they are all free! Don't eat there, they definitely make up for the free admission with the food prices. Instead walk a couple of blocks over to the Old Post Office or the Ronald Reagan Building - they both have food courts with lots of choices. Also, if you are in the Old Post Office, take the elevator to the top. You are up just as high as the Washington Monument without all the hassle of getting tickets and can see all around D.C.

    I would look into renting a double stroller while you are there, I googled stroller rental in Washington D.C. and found a few options. That would save you from having to fly with your stroller or buy a new one before the trip.

    Oh, and use the metro as much as possible instead of trying to drive into D.C. We rode the bus from where we stayed in Georgetown and it worked great for us but you can also take the subway. You use the same smart cards for both.

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  6. I live in the DC Area. DC is a great place for the kids. I would also suggest doing the Smithsonian Museums. The Zoo is a must. And for the price, FREE, you can't beat that. Its better to go during the week cause it will be less crowded and you will get to see the baby Panda without rushing! The tour of the Capitol Building is one of my favorites and again, FREE. You need to book thru their website. To get into the White House you need to request tickets a few months in advance thru their site. It is very much worth it if you get them but then again they do not tell you until a few days before. For a DC Date night I suggest Farmers, Fishers, Bakers right on the Georgetown Waterfront. One of the best casual dining restaurants with a great view of the Potomac. Also, for dinner close to the White House I suggest Founding Farmers since it is just a few blocks away. They also serve one of the best "Saturday/Sunday Brunch"in the area. You need to make reservations too since both are very popular. I've never been on a Potomac Dinner/Sunset Cruise but they say they are great and the views must be outstanding. A great place for lunch/dinner with the kids is District of Pi Pizzeria right on F St. (close to the Metro Center and Chinatown Stations). Also, Union Station is a great place for shopping, lounging, letting the kids run and eating and so close to Capitol Hill. Hope you have a great time on our Nation's Capital ! :)

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  7. If you get a night out, go on the tour of the monuments at night in DC. So neat all lit up! And heads up...National Zoo is very hilly, be ready and think about your shoes :)

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  8. Congratulations to your cousin! We love the DC area and took our boys on a trip there 2 years ago. They were a bit older than yours at the time, but I did a series of posts about our trip that may have some tips for you.
    This one is how we did the monuments and memorials: http://gatorfamilytales03.blogspot.com/2012/05/washington-dc-sights.html

    This one is what we saw at the Smithsonian:
    http://gatorfamilytales03.blogspot.com/2012/05/washington-dc-museums-and-end.html

    The Breezy Baby Equipment Company is now servicing the Metro DC area so you might want to look into using the carrier while you are in Annapolis and renting a double stroller from them when you are downtown. Here is their site:
    http://www.breezybaby.com/ProductList.asp

    And if you get a chance, don't miss out on Georgetown Cupcakes! They are worth the trip and the calories : )

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  9. One of our favorite restaurants in DC is Matchbox (in Chinatown) which would be a perfect spot for a date night...try to make a reservation for dinner though because the wait is typically long.
    Old Ebbitt Grill is a fun place to eat if you want to try to spot someone famous...kind of the place to "see and be seen" as it's a short walk from the White House.

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  10. I live in and Love Annapolis! Any restaurant in the downtown area is good but you really can't go wrong with Factor's Row (a seasonal, locally sourced menu) and Boatyard Bar and Grill in Eastport. Both walkable from the downtown area. The Chesapeake Pirates adventures is so well done and fun for the kids, plus you can get a good tour of the sights from the Chesapeake Bay. Other fun sights in Annapolis is the historical museum located down town, the Paca House, Tawes Garden and the Banneker house for local history. Chesapeake Children's Museum is good for about an hour, although sometimes the exhibits can be very "well loved". if you go to visitannapolis.org there are fabulous recommendations about local events. The Wednesday night sailboat races on the City Dock in Annapolis Harbor are also a lot of fun to watch, especially with Icecream from Storm Brothers. The water taxi tours of spa creek are also enjoyable. There is a great playground across the street front the Marriott Waterfront that is free and has both a little kids and big kids play area. The Quiet Waters Park has nice trails and playgrounds as well to visit. This park has a fee to get into and is closed on Tuesdays. During Commissioning week often times extra events are run for everyone who comes into town, especially by the Academy choirs and Glee Clubs It is about an hour to DC and an hour to Baltimore, so it may be worth the trip. The Maryland Science Center is a lot of fun in Baltimore, it has a mix of interactive exhibits, learning exhibits and local science/nature. They also do a reciprocal relationship with many memberships around the country, so you may be able to buy a year long pass somewhere local and use it here too. Port Discovery is another popular choice, however I find it is very hard to keep track of little ones in here, more for elementary aged children. The National Aquarium in Baltimore is also nice, but pricey. DC the museums and monuments around the mall are very interesting and the memorials, are very moving to visit. A walk along the tidal basin is nice, even if the cherry blossoms are finished. My family loves to just wonder the streets in the historic district of Annapolis, going in and out of the shops and scoping out the old architecture. It is a dog town too, so spying the puppies is also a big hit with the kids. Congratulations to your cousin for his achievements at the academy and our thanks to his willingness for serving our country.

    p.s. i have a baby jogger double stroller which is nice, however I love my city mini single stroller and have often borrowed a friends double. It is very maneuverable, but keep in mind that Annapolis is a historic town, so some of the doors and sidewalks are a bit tight for a double, but it is doable.

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  11. I loved visiting DC! I'm a history buff, so museums were my thing. I enjoyed touring the capitol, visiting Union Station and the Washington Monument. (=

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  12. No suggestions on Annapolis bc i've never been! but i loooooveee DC. Obviously never been with kids, but I hear its a great place for them. My recommendations mostly come in the form of food. Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill has freaking delcious burgers and it's pretty cheap. And then you can walk down to the capitol grounds which are gorgeous. If you want the most delicious, healthy, and fresh salad of your entire life, Try Sweetgreen. They have several locations in the DC/Maryland area. I have been craving that place lately. They also have awesome lemonades. 7th Hill Pizzeria has delicious pizza-also on the hill. And I've heard really good things about 2Amy's pizza too. Ah, I'm jealous. You'll have a blast. Also I think Hudson would love the air and space museum. Giant planes and spaceships everywhere. The Natural History museum too. and the zoo of course! And you gotta do all the monuments of course. Have fun!!!

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  13. Hi Jenna! I read your blog (from Janet's blog) and would love to help! I live in Annapolis with my two girls (ages 3 and 5). You'll love it here! We moved here from TN 10 years ago and Annapolis and DC are amazing! Kids day-trip musts:
    1. the national zoo (it is free to visit, but you have to pay to park-an alternative is to take the metro in and walk a little further to the zoo). Wear comfy shoes and bring your own food and drinks. Plan your zoo trip online before you go because certain cool things happen on schedule and you don't want to miss them-like the elephant feedings, the orangatan crossing, etc. If you drive in, drive 2 miles over to 2 Amy's for dinner! It is voted best pizza in DC and is SUPER kid-friendly!
    2. the National aquarium in Baltimore! This is A-MAZING and totally worth it. DO NOT MISS IT. You can take a stroller, check it for free at the aquarium, and store all of your "stuff" in the stroller. We've been members for 4 years and we love it. They have Kelty kid backpacks for free (great for Rhett) and Hudson will want to run around. Bring your own lunch/drinks for this too. Find out what time the dolphin exhibit will be when you get there. There is a cool park for lunch and play outside the aquarium between the Mc Laren Engin. group and Pier 5 buildings. Parking is discounted at the Lockwood garage.
    3. The Smithsonian-air and space museum and natural history for kids are great! Again, take the metro from New Carrolton station and you won't have to worry about parking-bring a stroller of course and comfy shoes! Bring your own food and drinks too, as the smithsonian cafeterias are very expensive and restaurants are kind of a hike.

    Annapolis Loves for littles:
    1. Boatyard bar and grill in Eastport for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
    2. Blue angels-the blue angels usually fly for the graduation and EVERYONE takes off work/school to watch. Find out if they are coming or not :)
    3. City dock-gets some crumby bread and an ice-cream at Annapolis ice cream (best by far) and sit out by the city dock and feed the ducks.
    4. Quiet waters park (has an great playground if you're itching for a morning or afternoon out at the park)-it is closed on Tuesdays, though

    Annapolis loves for date nights:
    -Tsunami sushi, Lemongrass Thai, Severn Inn (best view in the city and awesome deck-and cheaper deck menu!), Vin 909, Carrol's Creek (expensive but awesome)

    SKIP:
    -The Annapolis children's museum (it is kind of gross and outdated. we've gone twice and it is just yucky-which makes me sad but it is what it is)
    -Buddy's or O'Brien's: they are tourist traps and gross; get some crab cakes or crabs at Boatyard or Cantler's, a local favorite. Go early as there's usually a wait. It is a family-friendly place!
    -Rush hour; get out of DC before 3 pm on weekdays or it will take you forever to get "home" to Annapolis; starting in May, route 50 is crazy on Fridays due to "bridge/beach" traffic
    -Allergies: May is stunning here and definitely in full bloom! bring your claritin if you need it :)

    I am local and would be happy to lend you my Baby Jogger double stroller for the week-of course if you take one from home to the airport you can gate check one for free. I also have a baby ergo you can borrow that might be nice for Rhett. Just email me at kewallace@mac.com. I can drop it off where you're staying or meet you at a coffee shop. I may also have a few extra aquarium tickets laying around that you can have. Bring stickers and SNACKS for the airplane ride. You can bring zippy cups with liquids for kids (they just test it) and this will save your kids' ears on take-off and landing. And finally...

    Welcome to Annapolis!

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