The Washington DC Spring Break Extravaganza - Day 4

March 30, 2013

Next time we go to DC, I have one rule. No. Driving.

Our trip to Georgetown for breakfast was supposed to be an easy one. We were literally across the street from Georgetown. A bridge (or two) connected Rosslyn to Georgetown. But the lack of a GPS and the sole use of an iPhone made things a little more difficult. I don't totally blame the iPhone. The problem was that it didn't change course quick enough when I missed the first turn. So we drove. And drove. And drove. And finally found our way into Georgetown.

We parallel parked (Ack!! But it was early, so...) and made our way to the Exorcist Steps. These were one Elias's "Must-See" list. I've never seen the movie before, but it was surprising that 'Exorcist Steps' were on Yelp as an attraction. So it was actually pretty easy to find. Once we got to the right neighborhood and everything. The steps were steep. Really steep. There were a handful of people running up and down them as some insane workout routine. Good for them. We stopped for a quick picture, the went along our merry way to breakfast. We were ready for breakfast.

During the planning of this trip I found Kafe Leopold on some Yelp list for brunch. I bookmarked it and forgot about it. At dinner on Thursday, Jim mentioned a fun place to go for an European breakfast. He said they had pastries and coffees and other wonderful goodies. And he couldn't remember the name. I had a vague recollection of the Yelp reviews saying something about European pastries. Turns out we were both thinking of the same place. We had a big breakfast yesterday, so we thought something lighter/more pastry-focused would be a hit. And it was.

Elias and I both decided we would be so screwed if this place was near our house. Tea and coffee were served on silver platters (note to self - I want a silver platter for my daily tea). We ended up with a bucket of pastries to start (croissants of various forms, madeleines, something with currants. Four pastries in total...two of which made it on the plane the next morning). I had the soft boiled eggs (note to self again - make soft boiled eggs more often). Elias chose the Belgian waffle. The real waffle. Like we have at Hendrickx in Chicago. It was all really good and we brought a bunch of breakfast to the car for the drive. The chunks of waffle were a good snack later on in the day. We also got an assortment of Macarons for the road. Perfect. I think we both would have gone back the next day had we not been scheduled on a plane. Especially since I know how to get there now.

Mount Vernon wasn't originally on our list. I didn't know how far away it was, and we just had so much scheduled that it just didn't seem to make the cut. At dinner two nights before, Jim mentioned Mount Vernon as a great place to go. I said we were going South to Kings Dominion on Saturday and he said we might want to stop off at Mount Vernon first. Best suggestion ever.

The cost wasn't bad. $17 for adults to see the grounds, the mansion, a few movies and some baby sheep and piglets. The buildings with the museums and welcome center are all new and almost sparkly. They showed a 25 minute movie about George Washington and the grounds...7 minutes was spent with Pat Sajak looking like a goober in a Revolutionary War costume showing the sights of the area. Total goober. I hope he got paid well for that gig.

We walked the grounds. It was very much like a Blackberry Farm or a Bellmeade Plantation area. The houses are just so different from what we have. And they don't skirt around the fact that slaves were an important part of life at that time. We saw as much as we could around the grounds, including Washington's tomb. Where both he and Martha (and some of the children) are interred.

Our ticket to the mansion was for 1230p. We knew we had a 1.5 hour drive to Kings Dominion ahead of us and a 7p dinner date to meet back in Georgetown, so we had to figure out how to get it all going. The decision was made to skip the mansion (we've seen old houses and tiny beds before) and just head to the museum, where we could see his teeth. On our way, we did see the baby sheep and the piglets. Oooooh...the piglets were so cute and running around like crazy. I want one. Or I want to pause a moment before I suck down pork belly next time.

The museum was pretty cool. They did have a lower set of Washington's false teeth. Along with a story about his dental woes. Poor guy had some dental woes. His teeth were all wonky from the start. His first tooth was pulled in his late teens/early 20's. And from there, her tried to do everything to save his teeth, but they kept getting infected and being pulled. Some of his early false teeth were wired into his remaining teeth as an early set of dentures. By the end, all of his teeth had been pulled and he had gone through four sets of dentures. The portrait everyone seems to think of that captures Washington actually shows him wearing a set of dentures. You can see it because of the way the lower lip/jaw puffs out a bit. It made me feel bad for the poor guy.

Mount Vernon was unexpectedly cool. Neither one of us knew what to expect. But it gave us a whole new respect for Washington. He was a really smart guy. And an excellent person to steer the country in the direction it went.

We found our way to Kings Dominion pretty easily. All we had to do was hit 95 South. We did hit some traffic going down. And we saw the traffic coming back towards DC so I won't deny I got a little worried that we were making the wrong decision to go to the park. But I wanted to meet one of my new contacts at the park. And we were so close!! And it was opening weekend. Or visit was short, but I'm glad we went.

There were two things we needed to accomplish at Kings Dominion. The Windseeker (we loved it in Cedar Point). And a funnel cake. Hopefully one with chocolate pudding and Oreos (we loved that one at Worlds of Fun). Our journey didn't start off so swift as we saw Windseeker was not running today. We found a ride in Planet Snoopy that was close enough for us. As for the funnel cake, we didn't find one with pudding, but we did get one with vanilla soft serve. And the funnel cake portion was so much better here. I also saw one of my stations camped out underneath the Eiffel Tower. So I got to meet my new rep. Which was nice. And I think truly unexpected for her.

On the Flying Aces ride (the only ride we actually went on in the park), we laughed as there was only one worker for the ride. We got in our seat and waited and waited for the ride to start. As the kid checked to make sure we weren't going to fly out of the seats as it soared skyward, Elias took that moment to (possibly) kick the poor kid right in the snack basket. Elias seems to think his foot made contact, but the kid didn't flinch. It might be that the kid was a total professional. Or that Elias just wanted to kick the kid. Either way...

We actually spent about an hour and a half in the park. Which was kind of like we did at Knott's Berry Farm last year. It gave us an amusement park hit. And makes us ready to go later in the spring/summer.

My concern for the drive home was unwarranted. The drive was pretty decent and we made it back to the hotel with time to spare. We had enough time to charge up the phones and freshen up a little bit.

We took a car service back to Georgetown for dinner. We were meeting Grant there and I had no interest in driving again. So our hotel had a car service and we jumped on it. The traffic was insane and our driver used many back streets. I would have paid him any money just for the joy that I felt that I didn't have to drive anymore. It was fantastic.

Dinner was at the Peacock Cafe with Grant and his friend Lauren. Grant is known for his shenanigans (and shots of Patron) and he didn't disappoint this time around. He's friends with the owners, so with no reservation, we were seated after a short wait at the bar. Dinner was really nice and Grant asked for the chef to come out and talk about the filet Elias was going to eat. While Grant was trying to persuade Elias that Medium-Rare is the way to go, the chef said Medium was a good choice. See, Elias totally knows what's what on food. He's the same kid who ate the Roasted Bone Marrow Burger last night.

Keeping with Grant's reputation for shenanigans, he posed a plan. We'd all head towards Lauren's convertible and drive by the monuments at night. Worked for us. The boys sat in front. The girls sat in the back "seat" and were covered by a blanket. We shot through the streets like a bat out of hell, blasting music (from Barry White to Mumford) and seeing many of the things we saw in the last two days, but this time with the lights illuminating the statues and buildings. It was gorgeous. And insanely fun. The best was when Grant turned down the "Do Not Enter" road and parked behind a cop car while Lauren, Elias and I jumped out and raced up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. We took a few iPhone pics (not great quality, but...) and made our way back to the car where the music was still blaring and Grant was leaning against the car, checking his phone. Nicely played, Grant. Nicely played.

It was an excellent end to an excellent trip. When we were dropped off at the hotel, Elias and I started packing. It would be an early morning. A very early morning...


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