Vacation to Virginia!

Dominic and I rarely take vacations on our own. And when I say rarely I mean like never. We have take vacations with family, and gone on a few work trips – but this was really a first for us where we planned a little getaway just us with really no “plans” but to visit his brother Ben and wife Mary and tour a little bit of Virginia.

We were fortunate that my parents agreed to come and be with the kids while we were gone. It is a lot to take on 4 kids, and our kids are a little wild and crazy – so we knew it would be a challenge but the kids had a wonderful time with their grandparents and it was nice to know they were in good hands!

Quarry

Look a quarry – 😉 Little inside joke from our flight into Dulles!

Ben and Mary live just outside of Washington DC so we had access to several places in and around DC. We had not taken time to do much research into where we wanted to go but we had been to DC over 10 years ago on a work trip and had seen all the monuments so we didn’t HAVE to see those this time.

When Ben and Mary picked us up we went to eat and then they took us to this grocery store called Lottie’s. They had a HUGE amount of different fruits and vegetables, fresh fish etc. Lots to just see and take in. But they brought home several fruits to try – one was this….

Exotic Fruit

Some friends on FB knew what this was right away – if you haven’t seen this picture yet any guesses on what it is??

We decided to take a little trip out to Baltimore on our first full day there and see the Baltimore Aquarium.

It was fantastic and one of my favorite days of the entire week.

Baltimore Aquarium

I took so many pictures – the jellyfish were my favorite though!

Jellyfish

We even got a picture with Ben in the background!

Museum with Ben

I asked friends on FB where they would recommend we eat in Baltimore and a few of my friends actually grew up there. Sarah recommended the Rusty Scupper and we could see it across the bay so because it was so nice outside we took a walk and worked up an appetite!

Rusty Scupper

The food was sooo good. They had this bread they brought to the table first that was the most amazing bread I have ever had. Seriously it was that good. Dominic and I both got one of their fresh fish choices and we weren’t disappointed! And we were seated right next to the windows so had an excellent view.

The next day Ben took us to the Air and Space Museum near their house.

ir and Space Museum

This was cool – not my favorite part of the trip but I can only look at planes for so long. 😉 The Space Shuttle Discovery was pretty cool though.

Space Shuttle Discovery

On Monday we took the bus and then the Metro into DC so that we could go to the Natural History Museum.

Natural History Museum

These museums are HUGE. There is so much to see and to read….we just couldn’t get through it all. I really enjoyed the Rocks and Minerals section. I took a bunch of pictures to share with Gabriel. He loves things like that and I thought we might be able to use them for a science fair project in the future!

Rocks at History Museum

We also saw the Hope Diamond….

Hope Diamond

We very quickly walked through the Bones and Mummy exhibits. But this swordfish was pretty awesome!

Swordfish

We decided  to head to Fogo De Chao for lunch.

Fogo

If you have never been there it is what I called a Meat restaurant. They have a salad bar but you really go there for the meat. And boy could Dominic and Ben eat. We were all so full when we left it was silly. Expensive, but an experience and a lot of fun!!

We decided we needed to walk off some of our lunch so we went over to the Natural Art Museum. When we got there we only had 20 minutes before they closed so we didn’t get to see much. I was less impressed with the artwork and more impressed by the architecture of the actual building. Beautiful!

Art Museum

We knew that Chinatown was supposed to be close so we started walking to try and find it. At this point my feet had reached their limit and I was getting tired so I was a little (ahem) crabby. Turns out Chinatown in DC is nothing like the Chinatown we saw in San Francisco so we walked through quickly and took the Metro home.

Tuesday was out last full day there and we went into DC early again so that I could see DeLonna in person again. I am SO glad that we got to connect again. It was so much fun being roomies at Allume but it was nice to see her in her element!

DeLonna

We had a quick lunch, found out where a good cupcake shop was and then walked to go explore the Botanical Gardens a little before she had to go to work.  Dominic and Ben ended up seeing more of the gardens than I did because DeLonna and I spent more of our time catching up and laughing!! 🙂

Botanical Gardens

But this was pretty cool – apparently they have been growing this since 2010 – lots of time to make it this beautiful!

It was much colder on Tuesday than it had been all week so spending a lot of time outside wasn’t an option. So we headed back to Ben and Mary’s house to relax a little before going to the ballet at the Kennedy Center!!

Ballet

When we first got to Virginia, we were talking about what we could do that was different and we saw that there was a new ballet opening on our last night there.  None of us had ever been to a ballet but we thought it could be fun so we got tickets!

It was really cool! The costumes were amazing and the dancers did a really good job. The only hard thing about a ballet is that there isn’t words…so if you don’t know the story it could be hard to follow. For the most part we knew what was going on but the storyline was modified a bit for dance so there are a few unanswered questions….but it is something I would do again!!

We got home pretty late on Tuesday night and had a mid-morning flight on Wednesday. It was a long day traveling home with layovers and then a 2hr drive from the airport to home. But it was a wonderful time away. We both feel blessed that we had the opportunity to do this together!

Next trip….somewhere warm! 🙂  What has been your favorite vacation away??

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