Monday, September 9, 2013
The summer that never ends.
I missed the entire month of August, and I feel terrible about that. Time really gets away from me these days, and I don't know how to lasso it. Oh well - got to keep moving forward, right? Okay, not exactly. You see, we're still on summer vacation here because the teachers in our school district are on strike. So we're actually in a bit of a holding pattern. The latest that Lauren would return to school is September 24th, but we're really hoping it's earlier than that. Not only are we out of sorts due to being off schedule, the strike is counting against all the holiday time off during the school year. It's an all around bad situation, to say the least.
Anyway, during the week before Labor Day, we took a little trip to the Washington DC area. Five years had passed since our last visit, and this time around, Lauren was old enough to get it.
We tried to tailor our trip around Lauren's interests, so naturally that included a trip to the National Zoo. We were lucky to see one of the famous pandas, in part because the man in the information booth near the exhibit shouted, "THE PANDAS ARE OUTSIDE!" everytime we walked by him.
Of course, Lauren's primary concern was to secure a panda of her own.
She was so cute taking photos of just about every animal in every exhibit.
Once again, we stayed in the Old Town part of Alexandria, VA. I just love it there.
The houses on these streets are worth millions. Yes, millions. When I get some millions, I will buy one.
There's also a very different vibe in Alexandria than what we're used to here in the suburbs of Western PA. Plenty of nice shops (Like the awesome Paper Source!) and restaurants, all within walking distance. And everyone brings their dog everywhere.
Here's one of the original cobblestone streets from colonial days.
Alexandria also has a very happening waterfront area. Don't you love it with strangers offer to take your photo for you? I didn't even think twice about handing over my very expensive camera - lol.
Because of its rich history, Old Town Alexandria is one of the most haunted places in the U.S. Lauren loves anything spooky (and is quite fearless when it comes to ghosts, monsters or anything supernatural), so we signed up for an evening ghost tour.
This is Candi's Candies, which in and of itself, is a very cool candy shop. It's also the most haunted building in town. I'd tell the tragic story myself, but I'd much rather leave it to our tour guide. You're not supposed to video tape him, but rules are made to be broken. I found this video of him on YouTube, and while it's a couple of years old, he looks exactly the same. He's even wearing the same outfit!
Here we are in the back of the Carlyse house. When he was building the house, Carlyse entombed a cat inside one of the walls because according to folklore, cats ward away evil. Don't worry - he killed the cat first. Also, through history there have been several strange, unexplained deaths at the house. Funny the docent never mentioned any of this when we toured the house five years ago.
We ended our tour in the graveyard of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House. It's mostly known as the location of George Washington's funeral, but it also has one of the two Tombs of the Unknown Soldier from the Revolutionary War. Occasionally, you can capture him looking out from the round window above his tomb (The creepy shadow in the photo is actually Mark - lol).
No trip to DC would be complete without a visit to the National Mall. The Washington Monument is still under repairs due to damage it sustained during an earthquake a couple of years ago.
I decided to use the Hipstamatic app on my phone to give a different twist on photos of the monuments that have been done to death.
Next we headed for a return visit to Mount Vernon.
Still looks the same. :)
And that concludes our trip. Now everyone keep their fingers crossed that the next post will be Lauren's first day of third grade!