We went to DC over two months ago, and I'm sure you've been DYING for this third and final recap of our trip. Constantly refreshing your browser, calling in sick to work. Wouldn't doubt any of it.
When we last left off (and here's the first part, just in case), we had just stayed the night in Virginia and were heading back toward the city with a few quick stops along Skyline Drive (where we saw snow!) and where Mike also belted out both Spice Girls and Taylor Swift on our road trip but never tell him I told you. He'd deny both.
We were heading toward Caitlin, have I told you this yet? That we planned a night at her house because 1) I adore her and 2) She mentioned I could sit on her couch and drink champagne. Really, she shouldn't have mentioned either if she didn't want me to plan MY ENTIRE TRIP AROUND DOING JUST THAT because couches and champagne are two of my favorite things. Throw in Tim Riggins, and I really may have moved in with her.
This is what our guest room looked like upon arrival so forget all about Tim Riggins (Kidding! Never forget Rigs!) because this may be the nicest guest room I've ever stayed in.
I should also say this is the third trip I've told Mike we're hanging out with people he's never met before (the second trip I forced him to do this over night in the person's house) and it's (THANKFULLY) the third trip that has ended with new friendships and people he absolutely loves. (First trip, second trip.) He loved Caitlin and Zach, absolutely loved them, and asks about them so adorably often, I hate that geography is the way geography so annoyingly is.
Zach made us such a delicious dinner, and we drank champagne and then played Cards Against Humanity and we cry-laughed and just enjoyed vacation. I love that feeling. Good food, good drinks, good company, and no reason in the world to get up early the next morning. Other than the THREE delicious drinks Caitlin had waiting for us:
Really, it was like we hung out with them every weekend, it genuinely felt that way. After breakfast, we headed back to the mall with them since we had missed a lot of the monuments earlier in the week and also because they're awesome hosts.
Hey, could like all ONE HUNDRED of you get out of our vacation photos, please? (The mall was SO crowded.)
I don't have a photo of the Vietnam Memorial, but what an incredibly special experience it was to walk through that particular monument. You stepped onto the path for it and everyone (as you can see from these pictures, there were a lot of people) instantly got silent. It was as if we all knew what we were in the prescence of. So many names. So much loss. It was incredibly powerful.
This was the World War II Memorial, and this is where Caitlin and I decided to sing the state song and where Zach and Mike stopped loving us as much as they had up to that point.
We also got a peek at the cherry blossoms (a few trees had bloomed but most had not).
We ended the afternoon having pizza and beers at Red Rocks (delicious!) before saying goodbye to Caitlin and Zach. It makes me sad just typing that because you make friends on the internet and you never really know when you'll see them again. (I'm lucky that I know I'll get to see Caitlin this October in Charleston but when will the four of us get to share pizza and beer again? I hate that some of the best people you'll ever meet live so damn far away.)
From Caitlin and Zach's, we drove to Mike's uncle's house (who lives in the same town! Perfect, right?). We had dinner and ghost tour plans, which is the first time I've ever typed that particular sentence.
Mike's uncle is his dad's brother (the dad of Mike's cousin who got married in Colorado when we took that epic family road trip back in 2011) and it was wonderful to see him again. We don't get to see him often, and it was so nice to be with family for part of the trip. It felt, I don't know, like vacationing with a little piece of home.
We had dinner at Eamonn's and it was seriously delicious. SO GOOD. It's a small joint, so we had to cram into a table with strangers, but good food is worth that, you know? Whatever it takes, just feed me delicious, can't-have-elsewhere food. Then, we did a haunted tour of Alexandria, which was also rich with history (and I always love that).
Like, hey! That's George Washington's city house.
The next day, Mike's uncle, aunt, and cousin treated us to a day trip to Annapolis and when they surprised us with this, my first thought was NEW STATE! I'LL GET TO VISIT A NEW STATE! And I should probably strive to be less lame one day. That day is not today.
We walked around the adorable town square, shopped a little, and eventually ended up at Cantler's for a delicious blue crab feast for dinner.
Mike grew up in a big, booming family, and I did not. It's not even that my small family made me want a big family because we've made the intentional choice to only have one child, but for whatever reason I love being around family: mine, his, yours, whatever. I just didn't have it as often growing up, tons of relatives in one place, so there's something really special about sitting on a couch in a room filled with people related to you (by blood, marriage, or circumstance) and just talking, catching up, connecting. It's one of my favorite activities in all the world, late-night talking with people who you have a history with, and I loved that our vacation (our incredible vacation) included that. Thank you to Mike's family for having us.
The next day, we had quite a few hours to kill before going to the airport, so we headed back to the mall to try and get into the National Archives, one of the places I really wanted to visit. If I was rating "must-do" activities in DC, seeing the Constitution was near the tippy-top.
It took us about an hour to get in, and there were absolutely no photographs allowed inside, but it was such a highlight of the trip. I cried as we circled the room to get to the Constitution. Of course I did. The Constitution, people! Honestly, I kept looking at Mike like he was dead inside for not crying.
There was a guard who was being asked the most ridiculous questions by tourists ("HOW MANY PEOPLE TRY TO STEAL IT?") and we made eye contact, as I wiped a tear away, and he smiled at me. It was as if he truly got what I was feeling, as if all those hours of standing by this beautiful document, fielding ridiculous questions from people who were actually asking about Nicolas Cage movies, and he still appreciated what he was guarding. It was a really nice moment.
From the National Archives, we wanted food, and there was one place we hadn't gotten to on our trip yet that I really wanted to try: Founding Farmers. We got in with a short wait, and had a delicious last lunch in DC.
We're going to gloss right over the part where I unfortunately made Mike's uncle take us to the wrong airport and instead focus on the part where we STILL somehow managed to get on an earlier, non-stop flight (after backtracking to the right airport) and made it home before bedtime where Kyle hugged us each for five straight minutes.
DC was perfect, it really was, and it was probably one of my favorite trips to date. Get there quickly, if you haven't already been.