Checking off the bucket list | Washington, DC
Traveling to Washington DC has been on my bucket list for years. I still remember how saddened I was when I learned that I wasn’t going to get to go for our class trip. Every class before me had traveled to DC. Unfortunately the same year that our trip was set to take place the tragedy of September 11th occurred. Although our trip was set to take place months after it was decided that it wasn’t really the smartest thing to do in terms of safety. Most parents agreed that it was best for our class to skip the trip. The trip was postponed for the following year, but sadly, it never happened.
So, visiting DC ended up on my bucket list and C and I decided we would take a trip there one day. We had talked about going pretty much every year for the past 5 years and yet the trip never came about. Last year our good friend from college announced his engagement and quickly a plan to visit DC started to take form. We knew we wanted to stay overnight for their wedding so why not stay longer and visit DC as well? Our plan quickly fell into place once we found out the dates for the wedding and soon we were booking hotels, looking up Uber etiquette, and the best free places to visit.
Our entire vacation was amazing. It was by far the best vacation we have ever gone on. I would even go so far to say it rivaled our honeymoon. Don’t get me wrong, our honeymoon was amazing, but we also encountered some things that made the experience less than perfect. This trip however, went incredibly smooth. Not one bump in the road or even a small hiccup along the way. The entire trip was calm, relaxing, and incredibly educational. The food was to die for, the museums weren’t overcrowded and the traffic seemed to cooperate.
Now let me explain one thing, I am a worrier and a planner. When things don’t go as planned or I don’t have an idea of what it coming up next it throws me for a loop and increases my anxiety. This trip however, I tried really hard to just let go, relax and let things happen. Let me tell you, it was not easy but boy was it worth it.
From the very first day that we left I was determined to be laid back and not worry. I didn’t worry about what time we woke up. I stopped looking at the clock and didn’t worry about not leaving early enough. I honestly couldn’t even tell you what time we left our house that day, which is very unlike me. We took scenic routes to avoid tolls and didn’t worry about the drive ahead of us and instead just enjoyed the views.
It was wonderful. Letting go of all the unneeded worry and anxiety, while extremely hard, made this trip so memorable.
The first half of our trip was dedicated to our friend’s wedding. If you need to learn how to plan an amazing wedding, ask my friends! Hands down THE BEST wedding we have ever attended. While the wedding itself was very formal there was a laid back feel to all of it. Before the wedding you could find guests sipping on alcoholic cider and strolling through the yard. Both the ceremony and wedding took place outside although the reception was inside a heated tent. When you walked into the tent you were greeted by baskets of blankets to help keep warm from the chilly night. I absolutely loved this touch and it was very considerate of them to think of their guests in this way. Now, the groom, is a chef so it was no surprise that dinner was extraordinary: stuffed chicken and filet Mignon. Yum!
I could go on and on about their wedding and how lovely it was. I can not say enough how wonderful it was seeing old friends and reminiscing around the table, champagne in hand. Here’s to the next wedding…looking at you B 😉
Now one of the main reasons we wanted to visit DC was the museums. While beautiful and educational, it didn’t hurt that they were free! C really enjoyed the Air & Space Museum.
Looking at all the planes was incredibly fascinating yet terrifying at the same time. No way would I have wanted to ride in some of these things. What an amazing feeling it must have been to create something that could fly but how scary getting into them and taking off for the first time.
I have to admit a big perk of this museum was how many restrooms there were available. You could find one literally around every corner. This may seem like a silly thing to mention but for someone like me, who has Interstitial Cystitis, it was amazing to not have to worry where the next one was at or how far away it was. This was a huge concern for me on this trip as we were walking everywhere and one thing I did have a bit of anxiety over. It was nice not to have that concern here and instead be able to fully enjoy the museum.
Next up was the National History Museum. There were so many things to see and just when you thought you had looked at everything a new room popped up out of nowhere. Every time we thought we were done we turned around and there was more to explore! It was wonderful but overwhelming at the same time.
One of my favorite things to do while we were in DC though was simply walk. Nothing beats strolling down the sidewalk holding your partners hand, feeling the crisp air on your skin and checking out the sights.
“The more often you notice the gorgeous world around you, the happier you’ll be”
Can we just talk for a minute about how breathtaking the Washington Monument is. There is something so surreal about walking up to this monument and the American flag blowing in the wind.
“The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.”
One of my favorite places that we visited while in DC was the National Smithsonian Zoo. It took us over FIVE hours to walk through the entire thing and I am pretty sure we missed a couple exhibits. It was so much fun to act like a kid again and look at all the animals.
I loved these elephants, they were super cute but very sneaky. This guy here, kept trying to take food out of the other elephants mouth because the bucket of food was just out of reach from where he was standing haha
These two were my favorite though. There was just something about them…
…and I may have drove C crazy with how many pictures I made him take.
Last but not least, can we please talk about the food. Oh my goodness, the food.
One thing I could not wait for was checking out all the local places that offered gluten free food. If you search the web for gluten free in Washington DC you will end up with pages upon pages of gluten free friendly restaurants. There were restaurants that offered gluten free crepes, dedicated gluten free bakeries, Italian restaurants offering your favorite pizza or pasta, and many more that were able to accommodate your requests and make anything on the menu gluten free.
One restaurant I knew we had to check out was Legal Sea Foods. There are quite a few different locations for this restaurant but we ate at the one on 7th street. I was so impressed with their menu and the fact that they could make practically anything on it gluten free. Upon being seated our waitress approached us and immediately asked if either one of us had any food allergies/intolerance’s. I mentioned gluten to her and she promised to bring back some gluten free rolls for me along with the regular ones for C. This was a surprise! I have never really found a good replacement for homemade rolls though so although I was excited to try them I didn’t have high hopes. Boy was I wrong! They were warm from the oven, soft and oh so delicious. For my main dish I chose their marinated chicken breasts with mashed potatoes. Best mashed potatoes I have ever had. Hands down. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what this chicken was marinated in or what type of “sauce” the potatoes had on them but they were heavenly. If I could go back for any of the food it would be those mashed potatoes. Although the prices here were a bit on the higher end, about $30-$40 per dish, it was worth every penny. I would highly recommend visiting here on your next trip. You will not regret it.
Did anyone say pizza? Late one night C and I decided to order in. I really wanted to try one of the gluten free pizza places and luckily I found one (Extreme Pizza) that wasn’t too far away and delivered. There is only one size for the gluten free pizza but it was plenty just for me. You would definitely need a couple if feeding more than 1 person though. Prices were pretty fair and you could customize the pizza to your desire. You could choose the crust (if ordering a regular pizza like C was), the type of sauce, cheese, and any additional toppings and boy did they have a ton! I ended up going with a barbecue chicken style pizza. Not only was this pizza delicious but delivery was quick too! We were told it would take about 45 minutes for delivery and our pizza showed up after only 15.
All in all it was an amazing trip and I am so glad we finally were able to do it. One more thing checked off of our bucket list!
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