Monday, July 19, 2010

National Harbor Weekend

Well, we're back.  Actually we got home before 11am yesterday.  It was a very nice weekend and I'm so glad we took the opportunity to do it.  Big thanks to my IL's and my parents for each taking the kids for a day/night!  Nothing like leaving them safe and sound with their grandparents!

Sooooo, here's the run down (and without any photos of the 2 of us - the people that took our photo clearly don't know how to partially hold down a button to auto-focus - seriously, how hard is it really, people??):

Jason and I hit the road a little before 5pm on Friday after hugging and kissing the kids and sending them off for their night with Big Dad and Nana.  I always get sad when they leave.  I could tell Caroline was a little anxious about it but I know she was putting on her brave face. We arrived before 6:30 at our hotel, the Westin, National Harbor.  All in all it was a nice hotel - great location, comfy bed, really nice bathroom, clean, etc.  Very glad we didn't stay in the Gaylord!  (I'd read it totally wasn't worth the money at almost twice the price!)  I think if I went again, I'd be fine staying at the Hampton or the Residence Inn which are slightly less expensive and just as centrally located.  Our biggest issue was while the room was cool, the whole hotel was kind of "moist."  Definitely needed a dehumidifier!  So it kind of irritated both mine and Jason's allergies.  But other than that, it was very nice.

Our dinner reservations at Grace's Mandarin weren't until 8pm, so we got dressed and went down to the hotel bar for a drink.   The bar overlooked the Potomac River and it was a nice way to start the evening.  Then we headed over to the restaurant and had some fantastic sushi to start the meal along with trying sake for the first time. (That's my photo next to the giant Buddha!) We each had a really good entree and decided to get dessert elsewhere.  We strolled through "town," ate ice cream and people watched.  The place was pretty busy since in addition to everyone staying at National Harbor, the area attracts a lot of locals - much like Harbor Place in Baltimore.  We were both tired from our usual early, Friday morning starts so we went back to the hotel knowing we'd be walking a lot the next day.

We ended up having breakfast at the hotel's restaurant since we both wanted to make sure we had some protein and not just a bagel or something so we wouldn't be starving when we got to Mount Vernon.   We then boarded the 11am Potomac cruise over to Mt. Vernon and enjoyed a lovely, open decked ride down the river.  It was so hot already but the wind on the open water was plentiful.  We arrived at Mt. Vernon around noon and hiked around the grounds since we didn't have a ticket to go inside the mansion until after 1pm.  So much has changed since I went in 1986!  We checked out the farm, the gardens, the animals, and finally got to the mansion and spent a little time in George and Martha's air conditioning.  Then we ventured down to the museum and history exhibit building where the air conditioning was VERY good and cold!

The heat wasn't terrible but had we had kids with us, I think it might have been more difficult.  All these parents pushing these huge strollers up gravel walk ways made me sweat just watching them! Our boat back to National Harbor left at 4pm so we enjoyed another slow cruise back up the Potomac.

Our dinner reservations at McCormick & Schmick's weren't until 7:30 so we had plenty of time to cool off and shower before going back out in the heat.  Dinner that night was very good and National Harbor was hopping once again!   We browsed the many stores and made our way back to the waterfront to watch the 9:30pm fireworks.

Finally, Sunday morning arrived and even though check out at the hotel wasn't until noon, we were up around 8am, had a quick walk through "town" grabbing some coffee and bagels and decided not to wait around.  We'd already been through most of the stores and most of the stores weren't even opening until 11am since it was a Sunday.  Traffic was a breeze on the way home and I was happy to be home fairly early so that I could get the house together before getting the kids.  I had so much energy after a weekend away without being hassled by the 3 little people even though I was looking forward to seeing them.

Finally, we arrived at my mom's around 1:30pm and the kids were so happy to see us.  Bryce was a little strange with us (as he was starting to get with my mom) and I think he was just having a hard time without us.  I remember Caroline and Bryce were getting like that after I'd been in the hospital 2 days after having Piper.  We were all happy to see each other and we ended up spending the rest of the day at my mom's since it was so hot and there's nothing better than spending a hot day by the pool.

National Harbor really is a cool little place that's easy to get to and not in the craziness of actual DC.  Although if you're going to be in DC, it's not the best place to stay since it takes a while to get there from that location and there isn't a Metro stop nearby.  We also recognize that you really do need something to do during the day because if you don't plan something, you'd probably get bored before the typical evening things start up.  Although maybe that will change in a few years when Disney comes to National Harbor?  I mean really, the place has only truly been in existence for about 2 years and it's still getting a lot of it's stores and restaurants established.  Jason and I both said it's like enjoying the perks of a city, without actually being in one.


Katie said...

I've been waiting to hear how your weekend went! Glad you liked National Harbor. I have always wanted to visit there when we drive by. Now we have some really great tips! Also glad you like Mt. Vernon! It is one of our favorite spots! And we have most definitely been one of those poor souls pushing the strollers on the gravel. LOL! We can't wait for the kids to be older so we can bike from Alexandria to Mt. Vernon. The bike trail is so scenic & goes all along the river.

Happy Anniversary!!!

Heather said...

Sounds delightful! Glad you got your batteries recharged! Happy 10th Anniversary!!!