By: Carol Rood
Since we moved in together six years ago, Bluebell and I have made plans to have a weekend away without the kids twice a year. It has worked out to be Thanksgiving weekend (because they are usually at their dad’s house), and Bluebell’s birthday in May (just because that is about six months from our last getaway). We have taken weekends away to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, and to the Shenandoah mountains in Virginia. To the outer banks of North Carolina, and to Virginia Beach. But far and away our favorite place to go for a weekend is Washington DC. We have been there at least three times, and have had a ball every time.
However, these weekends away came to a screeching halt in May of 2010 when Bluebell’s daughter L moved in with us. L was a troubled teen and we had no place for her to stay when we went away, and did not trust her to stay at the house alone. So our weekends away went away. L moved out in June 2011, and we spent out summer camping with the boys and then had our summer vacation, so we didn’t really have a chance for a weekend away.
One day when Bluebell and I were sitting in our office on our computers I casually said to her, “Hey, would you like ideas about where I might like to go away for my birthday weekend?” Planting an idea in her head…A few weeks later I said, “I need to make my work schedule for October. Are we going anywhere in October on a Saturday?” Planting the idea even more. Finally she said, “Hey, I am having a hard time finding a place to stay for your birthday weekend, will you help me?” Aha! Idea planted and…score! A weekend away is born!
I told Bluebell I wanted to go to DC, and started looking for hotel specials. None there, so I looked at Hilton Hotels so I could earn points towards an airline ticket I am saving for. I found a special deal going on at a Homewood Suites in Alexandria, and the reservations were made. We were sooo excited! Our first weekend away without kids in 18 months! We REALLY needed it!!
I made arrangements for the kids to go to different friends’ houses to stay for the weekend, Bluebell took the Friday off work, and we were off! One other benefit that I firmly believe to having our kids each staying with a different friend is that they need a break from each other and us as much as we need a break from them. It would do us all some good.
We left a little later than expected (we wanted to leave at noon), but we still made VERY god time. DC is about 3 hours from us, but we were still in Alexandria by the late afternoon. The hotel was wonderful! The suite was clean and spacious, and the staff was very friendly. They even gave us tips about where to eat dinner in Old Town.
Friday night we ate at a restaurant called King Street Blues. It was tasty — pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches –and not expensive at all. We ate late, so we just went back to the hotel room and hung out, goofing off on our computers and watching Food Network. “Chopped” is one of my favorite shows.
Saturday morning we got up and got ready for a museum day! One of the reasons I love DC so much is that there is SO much to do. Every time we go, we spend Saturday at a museum or visit different historical places. Even though we have been to DC at least three times, there is still so much to see and do!
We went to the American History Museum and saw some really cool things. We saw the First Ladies’ ball gowns, and the RUBY SLIPPERS, and a piece of the Berlin Wall, and some steel girding from one of the World Trade Center Towers. We learned more about American History than we knew before, and had a great time.
We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and went to a wonderful Spanish restaurant for dinner called Las Tapas. The food was delicious! Bluebell especially loved their sangria. I tried artichokes for the first time, and loved the way the chef prepared them! We really enjoy eating at tapas restaurants because we get to try – and share – lots of different items.
The next day was time to go home, but we first stopped at Tysons Corner Center for some retail therapy. It was, after all, my birthday and I needed some boots for the barn for my visits with our horse, Argo. I did find a very cute pair of Steve Madden boots on sale, and Bluebell needed some new sunglasses, so we both got something nice. We ate lunch there at a restaurant called Brio Tuscan Grille. Bluebell had white chocolate raspberry-stuffed French toast, which she was sweet enough to let me taste… amazing! I need to try and make that for Christmas breakfast!
Before we knew it the weekend was over and it was time to head home, get the dog from the boarding facility, pick the kids up, and start back on our day-to-day life.
But we are already planning our next weekend away…