We stayed with friends in Old Town Alexandria. A 10 minute walk down cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks brought us to King Street Station. The hydraulic-friendly BOB stroller would have been a better match for the streets of Old Town, but a BOB is much to big to bring on the plane. We made it work with the Graco Snug Ride 35 and mated umbrella stroller.
I downloaded the DC Metro app on my iPhone, so we were able to track the trains, times, and distance to the city center.
Just a five minute wait on the platform, and Little Traveler glided over the platform for her first train ride. Another reason why the Graco was the better fit for this trip….the aisle-way of the Metro was tight. We traveled the train after rush hour, so it wasn’t a big deal to slide her stroller into a vacant seat section. Otherwise, she would have blocked the aisle. We took the Blue line for 35 minutes and got off at Smithsonian.
We surfaced at the Smithsonian stop; looked left, looked right. A local spotted our tourist-glaze, right away and asked where we were headed. Our friends we were staying with in Alexandria recommended lunching at the Native American Museum Cafe. She pointed us two city blocks to the right.
We dined on bison burgers and fries at the Mitsitam Cafe. This was an excellent lunch recommendation. “Mitsitam” means “Let’s eat!” in the Native language of the Delaware and Piscataway peoples. The cafe features indigenous cuisines of the Americas. Selections include authentic Native foods such as traditional fry bread and corn totopos as well as contemporary items such as our buffalo burgers.
Outside view of the Native American Museum from the Botanical Gardens:
After lunch we walked another block to the right to the Botanical Gardens. Free of charge for both adults and children, the Botanical Gardens was a warm oasis from the 55 degree and windy day outside. I was watching my clock since we left Alexandria and knew I had 3 hours or so until Little Traveler would need to eat. The thought of nursing her outside gave me the shivers. The instant warmth and tropical humidity of the gardens was a welcoming surprise. A perfect place for an infant’s lunch. Warm and plenty of foliage for privacy.
After an infant lunch, we casually walked the indoor gardens, shedding layers of jackets and hats.
From the Botanical Gardens we walked back toward the Smithsonian Metro station and entered the Air and Space Museum (part of the Smithsonian’s group of museums). I used to live in Washington, but I had forgotten that the Smithsonian museums were free of charge for both adults and children. We walked the main floor of Air and Space, showing Little Traveler the history of flight. Burt Rutan’s Spaceship One was on display – the passenger aircraft that won the SpaceX challenge.
We spent the rest of our day in DC walking outside and taking in the crisp but clear day. Little Traveler expressed her feelings at the Capital Building.
Walked the Mall – too chilly for springtime cherry blossoms.
After a quick stop to the White House (a pretty distant view), we stopped for a hot drink and pastry at the French Cafe in the Willard Hotel.
From here we walked back to the Smithsonian Metro station, pushed the stroller over the ‘gap’ and sped back to Old Town. It was 5:30 on a Wednesday….rush hour. Luckily, we found and empty two-seater and squeezed our family of three, stroller and all, into the slender space.
We finished off our day in D.C. with friends at the Firehouse Tavern in Old Town.
Aside from the unusually cold weather during ‘cherry blossom season’, we had a perfect day in D.C. Public transportation, free museums, and a walkable city made Washington a great destination to travel to with an infant.