Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Surviving D.C.

George Washington's home at Mount Vernon

I knew when I moved here it was going to be a challenge with traffic n' all, but boy did I underestimate it!

When we first moved here, we tried to go and see the sights and we have some pictures, but most of the time we didn't even stop couldn't or it would be dangerous if you tried. You are just in the way of the locals and they will run you over if you are in their way. Yikes! I could never live here for my whole life.

That was driving our own car. Every book I read tells you not to take a car, to take metro or a bus. I guess we are too scared, so we braved it. You can find parking. You can pay a meter and walk but I really think it's impossible and not worth it if you have kids. We could never walk very far from the car. It was hot, and the kids would get fussy.

We went to the Smithsonian which has many different buildings with different things. Some of the cool stuff is in the Air and Space Museum-upstairs, but we didn't even bother with that because there was such a long line and we had our little ones with us. The Museum of Natural history (I think that is the name) is not even open and that is where they have the coolest stuff like mummies, etc so that is a real bummer. They moved some of the stuff to the Air and Space museum but not all of it, (basically, not the cool stuff). You can find Dorothy from OZ's ruby slippers there but like I said, prepare to wait a long time in line for that.

The National Geographic Society was pretty convenient to find with our GPS and there was a conveniently located parking garage directly across from it with valet. Cool! But, there was really nothing to see at the National Geographic society. They advertise on their website that there is a tornado that you can touch there, and some other cool things... they are gone and have been for years they said, they just said for some reason they can't get them to take it off the website. Probably because they don't have anything else to market to get people to come in. There really isn't anything to do there.

The highlight of the National Geographic trip was going into the picture booth and getting your picture taken on the cover of National Geographic ($5.00), but somehow, it made the trip worth while. Also, they have a penny machine that you can put your pennies in and it will print out a picture on the penny of whatever you want as a souvenier. We got a lot of pennies!

And there is no need to worry about carrying a camera on you, there is nothing to take a picture of! Still, it was fun to go.

My absolute favorite place to go is George Washington's home in Mount Vernon. It is a convenient, back road drive, Cheap to get in. I recommend just buying the season pass. I could have had 2 season passes for the 3 trips that I have made already, and I plan to go again, so go ahead and get the season pass. It's cheap. To get in, I think it's around $13 and a season pass like $18.. around that. Not much at all. They also give cruises on the potomac river that give you an awesome view of his home (which sits right beside the river) and the cruise is around $9 with paid admission. Not too shabby. 45 minute cruise.

There are several movie theaters in the museums that show movies of his life, and they are good quality. We enjoyed them.

They have an old time restaraunt where people dressed like George Washington's era will searve you food, and if you don't like that, they do have a Pizza hut next door, and a couple other food choices in their food court. I love it. Mount Vernon is my favorite place to go.

If you are wanting to move here for whatever reason, I can tell you that the closer you get to D.C., the more dangerous, and dirty. The farther you can get from it, the better you will be. If I was to do it again, I would move to Woodbridge. They have a humongous one story mall, but it's a couple miles long and most of them are outlet stores. Disney store outlet, children's place outlet, JC Penny outlet, etc. If you like mall shopping, you will be very happy with the prices here and it's pretty simple to get to. You take the Manassas exit, merge left as soon as you can, turn left on shoppers best way, and you will run into it ( you will see a walmart on your left). That is another thing about this place. No supercenter wal-marts. Somehow, I have managed to survive without it, but I don't understand. They have these small walmarts in these big cities, not enough employees... why do they have it at all? We never go.

Another weird annoyance of living here. If your destination is 4 miles away, that pretty much means 1/2 hour drive. Pretty crazy.

And I feel sorry for the folks that have to go to work on the "beltway". We have only had to go a couple of times, and even then we went at off times of the day(which is a great time to go!) and we could have gone a different route. You can find better routes. There are always big accidents on the beltway. Lots of people die there. I guess usually at nighttime when the truckers are tired and refuse to make a stop.

About the only good thing is that once you live here for a while, you figure out back routes that most people don't take.

If anyone lives here or is planning a move and would like me to help them with directions somewhere, just post me a comment and I will try to find you the best way to get there.

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