I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Paige and her family! Paige is another one of my forever friends here in Nashville with two girls the same ages as my younger two. We took prenatal yoga together, worked in the same industry for a bit, our girls go to school together, our families do meal swaps and babysitting swaps and of course we share all of our funny, memorable & crazy family adventures with each other – usually over wine, of course!
Last winter, Paige and her family traveled to Maryland together to visit extended family and they took the subway into Washington D.C. for a full day of family friendly exploration – planned, in part, by their girls. They had an incredible day with lots of laughs along the way. Read on for all the details!
We are a family of four living in Nashville, Tennessee. I work as an adviser to college journalists, and my husband, Chris, is a writer. We have two daughters ages 8 & 5 and one pet, Chip the fish.
Last winter we toured Washington, D.C. during a visit to see extended family in Maryland. During the trip, we spent one jam-packed, fun-filled day in D.C.
In preparation for taking our girls, I requested a White House tour through our Congressional representative. We were denied a tour, so I worked with Chris and my 8-year-old to map out a monument walking tour. Once we got to Maryland, however, we realized it would be way too cold to do all that walking, so we started to research museums to visit. We decided on the National Museum of American History, and then at the last minute we added the National Gallery of Art because my mother-in-law accompanied us and she previously served as a docent there.
We rode the Metro to give the girls the experience (since Nashville does not have one), and our 8-year-old loved learning how the subway map worked. Our train arrived near the National Building Museum and we spontaneously visited here too because we had to use the restrooms, ha. While there, we stumbled onto a cool building contest in the lobby – artists had built structures with canned food in a cinematic theme. The cans later would be donated to a food bank, which was fun to discover and discuss with the girls.
We then walked to the National Gallery of Art, and the girls’ grandmother explained the meaning behind a few of the famous paintings – an experience with my mother-in-law that I’ll never forget. I was surprised that my 5-year-old spent over 15 minutes in a circular room with four large paintings entitled “The Voyage of Life.” She was fascinated and talked to me about what each painting meant to her. Later, my mother-in-law commented that when she used to lead children’s tour groups, that same room is where children always lit up.
We ate in the museum cafeteria (where years ago my 8-year-old, then an infant, had her first solid food) and then my in-laws left us to return home. The four of us continued on through the nearby sculpture garden and onto The National Mall. The girls rode the carousel and we took pictures with the Capitol Building in the background and also with the Washington Monument. Then we headed to the National Museum of American History where we saw the famous ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, among other things. I was surprised how much my kids enjoyed the exhibits which Chris and I found totally boring, lol (American home life through the years and the Hall of Transportation). The National Museum of American History has a great play space for little kids and an adjacent maker space for older kids, and that’s where we ended our day.
On our way back to the Metro, we got a hot dog and a Coke from a street vendor, and after ALL we did that day – from fine art and sculptures…metros and ruby slippers – getting a hot dog was the favorite activity that my 5-year-old depicted in her “travel journal!”
Speaking of journals, since the girls missed some school for this trip, they each wrote in journals to share with their class – the 5-year-old drew pictures of things we saw, tasted and smelled, and the 8-year-old wrote three sentences about each day of our trip. Once we got home, I worked with the girls to glue photos and a map to card stock, and my 8-year-old wrote photo captions.
I feel like my family is pretty good about the educational aspect of our trips – talking about where we’re going beforehand and taking advantage of educational opportunities once we arrive. But the journaling/scrapbooking aspect is a bit stressful and intimidating to me. On this trip, I tried to keep it really simple – using paper I had lying around and just a few trip photos. I hope to incorporate that reflection element again in the future, and of course it can be a nice way to remember the trip.
A few things that were helpful to have on this trip in particular were our Land’s End packable jackets for the girls and a North Face packable jacket for me! They were so easy to throw in our backpack and warm when it got really cold outside. The girls’ jackets have hoods, eliminating the need for hats. Also, our family backpack is essential. I prefer to leave my purse at home and my husband and I take turns keeping up with the backpack.
Thanks Paige for sharing the details of this trip. I love so much about this day – your mother-in-law’s art expertise, the hot dog vendor memories, and your 8-year-old’s love of the subway maps!
P.S. – Have you taken a trip with your kids that you’d like to share? Are you interested in sharing your experience with us? Let me know! We love to be inspired to travel and take new adventures and share others adventures too!