Snowy DC and a cozy apartment
The first I heard of the big snowstorm, Thor, was as we were heading into it as we left Chapel Hill, NC. A woman had mentioned it at a store where we were buying some supplies for lunch on the road. I didn’t take it very seriously since we had been through this in late January with the “potentially historic” snowstorm that created panic and closed schools in our area but failed to deliver much actual snow. Also, it was markedly warmer and most NC snow had melted. The sky was blue and we merrily passed mile markers and state lines on our way to the capital of our country. We were listening to a Ramona and Beezus audio book. The kids were getting along and I was looking forward to seeing LW and her dog Lincoln. Things were good.
Walking around and playing in a park in the pre-blizzard rain
Bit of a buzzkill to drive into DC. Traffic, road blocks, one-way streets, no parking. On LW’s advice, we parked in a hotel garage a block from her place. Yes, our car stayed in a fancy hotel! It turned out to be a great logistical arrangement, since we had sleeping bags and snow clothes for the five of us – a considerable amount of gear. The car was safe from parking tickets and weather. We could walk or take the Metro to the museums, since LW was not too far from the Mall.
Walking around LW’s neighborhood, outside her door
I had planned to go to museums the first day with the kids since LW had to work and it would be nice to walk around after our drive. But as luck had it, LW’s meeting was cancelled, and she and Lincoln- who is always ready for a walk- were ready for a walk. We headed out of her apartment building and into the neighborhood. It was drizzling lightly. We walked on a paved path above a freeway and across from another park. We stayed outside for a while then went back to the apartment. We set up camp in the living room, made dinner, ate, then watched a movie and called it a night.
Snowy scenes around the neighborhood
The next day there was snow falling when we awoke and predictions were extreme. Things were closed- a mixed blessing for us. LW had the day off! Unfortunately, museums were closed. LW was sanguine on her sudden status as Hostess to the Fantastic Five as we occupied every inch of her living room and contemplated a change in plans. She has extensive experience with the developing world, traveling, and managing government projects so perhaps that is why she didn’t even blink. She made two brief phone calls and the next thing I knew we were heading out in the snow to a wonderfully cozy brunch place called Bread and Chocolate. Wow! After a great brunch, we went to her gym, which was housed in a fancy hotel and more like a spa with sauna, steam room, and pool. The kids loved it and we were there for hours. The kids were especially impressed with the fancy soaps and lotions on hand in the showers and by the mirrors for primping after a swim.
Spa-like gym – lower picture shows snow on window/roof!
Afterwards, we walked around the area some more. We made a great dinner, watched another movie, and just enjoyed the apartment and the relaxed, quiet city. The twins took some pictures of the apartment – it was so different from the Chapel Hill Fabulous family house and they were clearly impressed. Especially with the bathroom and the elevator!
The next day, LW had to return to work, but she scored a 2-hour delay! We got to hang out some more as we packed and hauled our stuff out to the car. Then we said our goodbyes to LW, Lincoln, and the cozy little clubhouse of the apartment. We had one more adventure before we had to head back home.
Walking to the Metro stop, the Metro, Truly with snowball outside the museum
We really only had time for one museum, but I was determined to get to the Mall and go. We took the – I am not being sarcastic here-stunningly beautiful Metro subway. It is so clean and light, despite being underground. It is far newer than the NYC and Philly subways we are used to, with lovely tiles and artwork. I figured out the one-card-per-person system which had confused me and cost me $100 in NYC once. We decided to ride to save some time and avoid walking the icy sidewalks. We had a nice ride to the Mall and were pleasantly surprised to find the cumbersomely-named Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History was open. I wanted to get to the Mall hell or high water since we had been in DC almost 48 hours, within walking distance, without getting there! It occurred to me on the ride over that the opening might have been delayed, but happily that was not the case and we got to business.
It is a gorgeous building with many floors and exhibits. We saw the orchids, the ocean area, and a few other things. A word about lunch: the museum may be free, but the café was far from it – think $6 PB-and-J sandwiches-so plan accordingly. We shared a snack and planned to eat later on the way home.
Girls at the powder room of our car’s fancy hotel, the road home
It was time to get the car and go. We made one stop to use the hotel’s fancy facilities before getting the car and heading home. We had survived the blizzard Thor and had a delightful time. The roads were fine by the time we left and the snow-covered pines were lovely as we headed North, another splendid trip behind us. Thanks LW and Lincoln!!!