Day Seven – National Zoo

Our smart phones are our lifeline when on vacation. We use them to most of research when we are out, stay in communication with home, each other, and with our friends traveling with us. Most importantly they are our navigation systems. 

Jen is partial to Apple Maps, but I prefer Google Maps, either way they really guide us everywhere. Sometimes we can rely to heavily on them though and today I did that and made some dumb moves. 

We read to get parking at the zoo you had to get there early as it filled up quickly. Being so close to Independence Day we figured it will likely be even busier than normal. Before we left I took a look at the map and found a good route. We used most of it already to go downtown already so I felt comfortable just at one point it would veer off towards the zoo. 

As I started out Jen picked a route and had me turn off, this is normal as the maps can take into account traffic so I figured it was a faster way. After a bit though I kept saying this seems like an odd way to get to the zoo, but I’m hardly familiar with the area so went with it. Once we were down right by the Washington Monument Jen looked at the map and she had accident dropped a random pin on the map and routed us to that. 

Hardly a big deal, and we were able to see some of the monuments and downtown again. By the time we made it to the zoo after the little detour the parking as full. That’s OK smart phones to the rescue again, we’ll book with parking panda again. We found the closest one for cheaper than the zoo charged for parking and made our way there. 

Mapped our little walk using our smart phone and went along. Made it to a road where we would turn right but we were on top of a high overpass bridge and the road going right was way below us. So we had an extra walking detour to get to the entrance on the other side of the zoo instead. By the time we arrived my feet and shoulders/back were already tired. 

The zoo was great though. We didn’t even get to see everything, partially because we were late getting there, but it was also really busy. Noah is in love with the gorillas, he has a stuffed one he sleeps with every night so he was very excited to see them up close. He ended up buying a new one in the gift shop. 

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

Day Six – More Washington

It was calling for rain off and on today so we planned to be indoors for most of it. After rushing through only part of a museum yesterday it was nice to be able to start the day fresh and with lots of time for the Natural History Museum

The museum has so many great exhibits and the kids didn’t seem to get bored of any of them. This didn’t surprise me about the ones like the dinosaurs but even the gems section kept them looking at everything. 

When we finished up it wasn’t raining so we walked towards the White House. When we were about a block away a bunch of sirens and law enforcement on motor cycles came down the street stopping traffic. We aren’t sure who was in the motorcade but the kids thought it was very cool to watch. 

On the walk the clouds started getting darker and we felt a few little drops. We didn’t have umbrellas so we didn’t stay too long and headed back to the car. The kids wanted to do some shopping so we went back for a quick supper and off to the mall. 

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

Day five – Washington DC

We spent the day exploring some of Washington, so far I really like this city. We pushed the kids again and did a fair amount of walking for some of their little legs. The heat is a bit more than we are used to so that slowed everyone down a bit too. Jen is the only one who really didn’t mind it at all. She said it is the first time she has felt warm this summer. There were fountains all over where we went which was fantastic. Everyone could drink and fill up our water bottles.

On our drive in we drove past the Canadian Embassy. It was Canada Day so there were all kinds of people outside celebrating. It was really neat to see and I wish we could have stopped, but we were meeting our friends at the parking area we arranged. Speaking of parking, we were referred to Parking Panda to book parking spots, and it is fantastic.

We only touched a few things today, but we went past the Washington Monument, then to the World War II Memorial. Continued on to the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool. It is really cool to see all these famous places up close an in real life.

Noah especially at this point was getting worn out, so we decided to head into the Smithsonian Museum of American History. We only took in a tiny fraction of this one, but it was really cool. We spent most of the time in the transportation exhibit.

We’re looking forward to go back in today to see some more museums and the other sights.

Day four – Conneticut to Maryland

Today was our last driving day to get to the main area we are staying. We left at a good time and headed to Easton Pennsylvania so we could break up the drive at the Crayola Experience. 

On the way we met up with our friends from New Brunswick who had a bit of a delayed start to their vacation, but now we can spend the rest of it with them. 

This was a favourite place for everyone and we plan to come back again someday. There were many activities that the kids enjoyed and we didn’t even get to do everything or take in any of the shows they out on. 

Each if the kids made their own crayons. You could choose the colour, choose an image and the name of the crayon. It then prints out a label and gives you a blank crayon you can roll the label onto. I think Noah especially could have spent all day making crayons for himself. 

Some of the other fun things was a large projection area that had a scene on the wall. There was a large group of tablets you could draw an image or colour pictures and they would then show up in the scene. 

From there we moved on to an area you could dance and move and the crayola crayon person would mimic what you were doing. 

The melting area was fun too. There were large stations setup with melted crayon wax that you could use to draw and make your own pictures. There were also stations you could take a full crayon and put it into a machine that would melt it into a mould so that you could have a little figure to take home. 

There were parts of the next drive that were a pretty stressful. When a tornado warning popped up on my phone and we saw the dark crazy clouds near by it freaked us out a bit. We didn’t see anything really but the torrential rain and thunder and lightning storms we hit made it almost impossible to see at times. Luckily it was in heavy traffic so we were barely moving. 

In the end we made it to our B&B in Maryland about 20 minutes outside of Washington. So far our host is fantastic and so is the home. We have 10 people staying here and there is lots of room. 

We essential have the full top floor to our selves. There is a large room on the other side that has a library full of books. It has a foosball and pool table. Our host has large maps on the wall with pins for all the places she has had guests from. 

On our way in last night we were texting with her back and forth and she told us where a grocery store was so we could stop on our way in. 

One of my favourite places so far was last night after I unloaded the car I went into the screened in gazebo in the backyard. There is a fountain trickling water in the background. The moon was bright in the sky on between some tree branches. It was quiet and fireflies were flashing around the yard. It was around 9:00pm and still 30 degrees Celsius out, perfect!

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

Day three – NYC

We spent yesterday in New York City!

We booked our hotel in Stamford CT and took the train from there into Grand Central. It was the kids first time in a train and it was a great way to get into the city. 

Once in we wandered around a bit. Went into Time Square to see the buildings and shops. We probably spent too much time walking around. The kids almost got bored. For lunch we walked over to 30 Rock and grabbed a hotdog from a street cart. 

From there we jumped on the subway to head down to get to the Statin Island ferry. Everyone seemed a little stressed when they saw all the people and no seats. But it didn’t take long to get some and I think the subway trips became one of Noah’s favourite parts. Using the polls like he was some sort of dancer. 

The ferry ride was nice, we just went over and back. On the way back we had a better view of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan. 

When we got back we hopped right on the subway again and back up to Central Park. I love Central Park and so did everyone else. We spent too much time walking when we first got there and should have made our way to the park earlier so we could have had more time. There were places we wanted to see in there that we didn’t make it too. The park is amazing such an awesome open space with so much beauty, yet surrounded by a huge city. When I was here last time there were some paths I went down where I was the only person around. Yet I knew there were millions of people so close by. 

We want to come back again sometime and do some of the cool things like take in a Broadway show and maybe Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. Jen and I alone would also like to come back by ourselves too. I feel much more comfortable working the subway system now so next time will be even smoother. 

By the time we grabbed the subway back to Grand Central to catch our train we were all  exhausted. It was a fun day!
  
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

Vacation – Day two

We ended up spending a lot of the day travelling again today. Making our way from Maine to Conneticut. It wasn’t like the first day though, we were able to make some fun stops along the way. 

We did a bit of shopping although not sure anyone bought anything much except for me. I needed some new shorts and found a couple pair. 

One of the main highlights of the day was eating at the new Wahlburgers restaurant in Lynnfield Mass. Jen loves Donnie Wahlburg and their food is pretty good too. The plan is to also stop at their original location in Hingham Mass. On our way home too. 

Next as we made our we stopped at the Ecotarium in Worcester. It was a rainy wet day so we spent most of the time inside, but they had a great setup and even more to do outside if it had of been nice. 

   
    
    
   

Great big sister

None of us had a real good sleep last night, so I wasn’t surprised when I looked back as we are driving towards Connecticut to see Noah had fallen asleep. 

At first he was leaning towards his door but as he started leaning towards the middle I saw Ella lean towards him so his head landed on her shoulder. Once he settled she turned her head and gave him a kiss on the head. 

How can they spend this many hours in the car and get along so well when sometimes going to the grocery store it is non stop fighting?

Day one was long

Yesterday we spent a little over 13 hours on the road. Not all of it driving though as we made some stops. The kids did amazing!

The only hurdle we hit was with our cell phones. We planned to get some prepaid plans from Verizon. As soon as we crossed the border into Houlton ME we stopped at Walmart and picked up a couple. 

By the time we made it to Bangor and we still had no service, there was obviously something wrong. We found a Best Buy and they tried to help but couldn’t. They sent me to the actually Verizon store where I was told our phones would not work on their network. I had checked their website before we left and it said they would be compatible. 

You can’t return SIM cards to Walmart so now we have two useless cards and are out over $100 right off the bat. Luckily after wasting a lot of time between different stores and on the phone AT&T were able to get us setup and working within minutes. 

If this is the only off thing this trip I’ll take it!

Last night was a little interesting with us all in a hotel room. Noah was a bit excited and wasn’t looking to go to sleep. Everyone else tried to stay quiet so he could. It ended up meaning an early night for all of us which isn’t bad. 

Today is a much shorter travel day. Looking forward to some fun.