We only had about five hours to spend in Washington, DC, so we each chose something we really wanted to see, and mapped those things out in order. My choice was first, Arlington National Cemetery, which is actually on the Virginia side of the river. Traffic was a little terrible getting there, but once we got in, it was easy to park and find our way around. The cemetery is enormous and a person could easily spend an entire day seeing it all. However, we allowed ourselves only 1.5 - 2 hours so I had a list of what I most wanted to see.
John F. Kennedy's grave, and the eternal flame. David and I recently read 11/22/63, a historical fiction about preventing the assassination of JFK, so it was interesting to see his grave. His wife, and a daughter and a son that died in infancy, are also buried here.
Penny at Robert Kennedy's grave, down the hill from JFK's. Ted Kennedy's grave is nearby as well.
We watched the soldiers at the Tomb of the Unknowns for awhile, but it was extremely hot and sunny. There were school groups there that day and it seemed each one was getting a turn to send 2 students up to take part in a wreath ceremony. It was a little confusing. The exactness and accuracy of the soldiers' movements are really fascinating.
Since driving in DC is nuts, and parking even crazier, we decided to take the subway over. There is a station just outside of Arlington, so it was an easy trek. For some reason, the escalator made the kids really nervous.
Our first stop was the Natural History Museum. The kids love the Night at the Museum movies so this was a no-brainer. It was unfortunately extremely crowded; we expected people, of course, but it was absurdly crowded, so much so that it was difficult to even walk around, much less really see anything. Perhaps it was from schools having their end-of-the-year field trips, and it would be better to visit at a different time of year.
a tiny prehistoric horse
The next stop was Truman's pick, the Washing Monument. Unfortunately, the monument has been closed since 2011 when an earthquake rendered it unsafe. We could only see it from the outside. After that, we walked...and walked... and walked... down to the Lincoln Memorial. On paper, these two landmarks look close to each other. Believe me, they are not!
One wall inside the Lincoln Memorial
Abraham Lincoln would be 29 feet tall if he stood up.
Then we got the wise idea to walk to a different Metro station to ride back to Arlington (where we'd parked). Again, on the map, this looked like a good idea - fewer blocks than walking back toward the Washington Monument and museums. However, the fewer blocks were ALL UPHILL. Oh my heavens were we tired! We didn't even bring a stroller, fools that we are! We passed much of George Washington University on the way, and these giant heads are on every corner.
Eventually, we made our way to a Metro station, and back to Arlington, and back to our rental car. We were so tired! And yet, we decided on a whim to stop by the second company that David was interviewing with; they hadn't asked him to come out, but my argument was, wouldn't it be better to have a face to face before you make this decision? So we drove an hour to Fairfax, Virginia, and stopped at their headquarters. The kids and I hung out in the lobby while David met with a guy for a few minutes. It turned out to be a great idea, because it really impressed them, and they suggested their offer "definitely has some wiggle room." Gotta love wiggle room. We then drove another five hours to Charleston, West Virginia, where we slept for a short time in a mediocre motel, and the next morning drove the final six hours back home to Indiana. We were only in Indiana for one day before turning around and going again - west!