2015 has been a year full of traveling. I started my travels on New Year’s Day with a day trip to Atlanta, and throughout the year, I’ve been able to visit Albuquerque, NM; Louisville, KY; Pensacola, FL; Navarre Beach, FL; Lookout Mountain, GA; Ruby Falls, TN; and Savannah, GA. I also spent a month in the UK and visited Oxford, London, Bath, Manchester, Stratford Upon Avon, Dover, Canterbury, and Edinburgh. And to finish off the year, I took an impromptu girls road trip to Washington DC and New York City.
The first leg of the trip was in DC. We arrived around 3 pm and our first order of business was to find a bookshop. Capitol Hill Books is located in the cutest little town home. Before you even enter the store, you can tell that it’s any book lover’s dream – even the windows are occupied by stacks of books. Inside, it’s a little labyrinthine and claustrophobic, but when it comes to bookstores, that’s just how I like it. I bought a copy of Slaughterhouse Five for $4 to read on the drive back home.
Afterwards, we drove to the National Harbor to see the Christmas decorations. We checked out the light show in the Gaylord Hotel and saw the giant Christmas tree near the water. We browsed some stores and ate some cupcakes before calling it a night.
We stayed in Maryland about an hour outside of DC, so the next morning, we caught the train into the city for a day of exploring. We started our day at the National Gallery, where we saw pieces by Titian, El Greco, Monet, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt, to name a few. The art history student in me was in heaven. My favorite painting I saw was Van Gogh’s Roses.
We couldn’t go to DC without getting our American history fix. After the National Gallery, we ate lunch and headed to the National Archives, where we saw several influential United States documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.
The next museum of the day was the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We walked around the exhibits for a while before getting free tickets to go into the butterfly room, which is essentially a small greenhouse-like room full of butterflies that are free to fly around as you walk through it. I definitely recommend checking it out, and if you don’t want to pay to see the exhibit, tickets are free on Tuesdays.
The last thing on our list was a night tour of the monuments and historical buildings. We saw the national Christmas tree, the White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Washington Monument, the MLK Memorial, the Korea and Vietnam Memorials, and the Iwo Jima Memorial.
Before this trip, I had never been to DC, but I feel like I was able to see a lot of it in a short amount of time. I would love to go back some day and see some of the less-touristy sides of the city. Overall, I am really excited about all the places I’ve been able to visit over the past year and look forward to the ones I’ll get to see in the upcoming year. As of right now, my first trip of 2016 will be to Minneapolis, MN in March.
Where are you traveling in 2016?