The East Coast Expedition Family Vacation Summer Road Trip

Updated: Aug 15

Family Vacation Summer 2014 Itinerary

Fl-->VA-->DC-->NY-->NH-->Boston-->Plattsburg NY-->LI-->VA-->Home

That first “single” trip over winter break had left me ready for more. See Here:

Since coming home I was already planning this trip. I was putting together the pieces together now that I had a vision and a blueprint for making it happen. Summer break could not arrive soon enough! Our bags were packed a week in advance 🌟🌟🌟

This time I would be better prepared. This time I had a vision!

We left our home in hot and humid Florida after breakfast and drove the first leg up to Chester Virginia to Kim’s house. She was happy to welcome us back and our families quickly got caught up over her famous orange chicken.

Virginia fun: The next day we joined forces and took all the kids to Jumpology in Richmond Virginia. This is an indoor trampoline park. Now they are popular, but at that time we had never been to one (or even heard of this before) so they jumped and bounced like nobodies business!

From there we were off to Maymont Gardens! On our visit during winter break, everything was dormant and it was still beautiful then. I could not wait to see it all in bloom with the waterfalls running and the roses climbing everywhere. The kids did not disappoint. They climbed ran jumped and posed very naturally as Kim and I were snapping candid pictures of our kids loving life. Something about being free in the outdoors to roam and explore that brings people together….

Washington DC day!

As our Nation’s capital is just two hours from Kim’s house it quickly became a tradition to have a DC day during our trip. This was our second Day in DC together and in my research since the first time I had worked up a bucket list. Well, to be honest the kids fed me ideas. “If we go back, we really need to….” I kept hearing. I kept saying, “yes we are going back, yes we will do that”.

The Washington DC Zoo is free, however you pay $20 for parking. When you have as many kids as we do we are definitely looking for as many free stops as possible. Paying per entry adds up. But I was willing to pay $20.00 to see pandas, as there are only four Zoo's in the US that have pandas. We got there as they were opening (!0:00)and spent a few hours seeing some of the biggest exhibits. Our real plan was just to see the pandas but we also stopped for the Lions and we loved the way they have the most well laid out exhibits. We had a schedule to keep and two hours was all we had. So we ran around and caught the animals we most wanted to and kept it moving.

Union station and the Liberty Bell are our next steps. Actually we did a Union Station lunch stop to grab a bite to eat and some air-conditioning. It was an extremely humid day!

Union Station - What a cool place. So much money has been spent revitalizing through the years. It has been rebuilt many times, and still remains true to the original design. It is over a century old and a National Historic Site, but it’s been a very expensive project. As a visitor, it is awesome. This is still a transportation hub with bus, metro and rail running through. Walking up we took some photos with the Liberty Bell, which is a replica of the original but made by the same French foundry as the original bell in Pennsylvania. It once toured the country to help celebrate the Bicentennial in 1976. Now it is parked outside of Union Station to bring appreciation of history. Walking in the arches are grand. The arched ceiling inside is incredibly high. Gold leaf covers the walls and Greek Statues guard the station from the second floor. We were there for the food court. There are many choices of food and multiple shops in the station. As far as a mall goes it has something for everyone. The view outside is just as grand with the Capital and museums lining the landscape.

Arlington - While we were here in the winter we tried to go to Arlington but it was a little too late to get in and out. We did actually drive in because I insisted on trying. This time we made sure to get there early enough. We parked and walked uphill in the hundred degree weather and our first stop is: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We sat on the steps to take it all in. There in the heat we had the view overlooking view at the top of the hill crest I thought what a great resting place. Beautiful. Serene. Each hour they have a changing of the guards ceremony which we did not have to wait very long to see. Very commemorative and awe inspiring. That really is monumental. We stopped by Kennedy everlasting flame and enjoyed the experience. The flame was lit at his funeral and still burns today. His wife and two children are at rest there with him and JFK is forever remembered. The view at his site is also quite significant. Another moment to just reflect on our history while the kids start asking questions about how he was killed and why.

These are the places that are less central and need a little more driving to get to. So we worked the navigation and worked the outskirts.

Quite different than our first trip to DC, we did completely different things this time around. Josh really wanted to have time to tour the Bureau of Printing and Engraving however tickets are distributed early in the morning and once they are gone, the office closes. We had missed it. He was disappointed and I assured him we would do that when we returned again. We would be back. One of the most interesting things that happens on each trip is we managed to put together our next trip.

D.C. Takeaways:

*Monuments are for the most part always available. Many have 24 hour access and others are limited to 9:30 AM - 10:00 PM. They are also all closer together.

*This trip was trying to hit the outskirts, making a day of seeing the things harder to see.

*Arlington is open at 8:00 AM and closes at 5:00 from Oct. 1 - Mar. 31, and stays open until 7 PM from April 1 - Sept. 30.

*On hot days or rainy days more indoor activities are preferred, however they get very crowded! We were able to have some air conditioning in the middle of a hot day at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. Chose your tour times around the hottest/ least desirable parts of the day.

We drove back to Virginia sweaty and tired from our busy day. There was traffic and humidity mixed with a bunch of kids that were hungry ALL the TIME. LOL, we did have good car snacks and lots of drinks. That was a mom win!