Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Washington, DC - A road trip and mini-vacation



Day 1 - The only hard part of our retirement adventure, so far, was leaving our family and friends in New York to live in North Carolina and Florida.  New York is a very expensive place to live when you are on a retirement budget and the winters are very hard on old bones.  (But that's another post for another day)!  It was especially hard to move so far away from our older son, Joe, and daughter-in-law, Nicole, and our younger son, Mike, and (soon to be) daughter-in-law, Chrissy.  We have managed to get together with them a few times a year though and now have discovered a very convenient place for us to meet, Washington, DC.

The main reason we had for taking this road trip, besides for getting a chance to spend time with Joe and Nicole, was to see the New York Mets take on the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Since we had to travel 5 l/2 hours to get there and Joe and Nicole had a 4 1/2 hour drive, we decided to make a mini-vacation of it.  The kids used a vacation day so we could meet at the Smithsonian's National Zoo on a beautiful Friday afternoon.  The zoo is always free to get in which made our frugal ears perk -- but the parking is not.  The cost is $22 to park but parking is extremely limited and they fill up very early.  Since we knew we couldn't get there early enough to get a spot, we were happy to find out that we could reserve parking.  Of course conveniences always come with a price.  In our case it was $31.  Sometimes you have to be practical instead of frugal though.  So glad we did this because the parking lots were packed!  The zoo was worth the money.  We enjoyed it very much.  We loved seeing the pandas and the orangutan chewing on his blankie was adorable!



If you need a wheelchair to get around, we saw numerous people getting around in them pretty easily.  I did see someone struggling as she walked with her cane but she was was on an uneven terrain which she might have been able to avoid,

After the zoo, we checked into our hotel, Kimpton Hotel Palomar.  If you know the Kimpton Hotels, you know that frugal people on a tight budget like us would not be staying at one.  It was a present from Joe and Nicole for our birthdays.  (There's no gift more special to us than a gift of a time spent with people we love to spend time with.  A gift of a wonderful memory is a gift that will last forever)!  Our daughter, Lisa, surprised us by calling the hotel to let them know that we were celebrating our birthdays and the hotel had something extra special waiting in the room for us.


Well, the room was luxurious to say the least.  The bathroom was huge with a soaking tub and separate shower.  We had a combination sitting area, complete with a sofa, two comfy chairs and coffee table, and bedroom that was tremendous.  There were robes, a yoga mat and umbrella at our disposal in the walk-in closet.  I used the robe, it was very comfy, but didn't use the yoga mat (I have to admit that we take a break from exercising when we're on vacation) and thankfully we didn't need the umbrella.  The only thing that we missed having in the room was a coffeemaker but there was coffee in the lobby of the hotel every morning that we enjoyed.  But what we really enjoyed was the nightly wine hour!




After enjoying the wine hour, it was time for dinner, Joe suggested Pizzeria Paradiso which was within walking distance of our hotel. We were staying in the middle of the very busy city of DC and, believe me, you don't want to drive if you don't really have to.  So, we did a lot of walking (which saved us a couple of dollars for sure) and used other modes of transportation to avoid using the car.  (I'll share some tips about transportation in a later post).

We were at Pizzeria Paradiso in no time and we were seated almost immediately.  We must have gotten there before the big rush because it soon became packed with people but we were very comfortable at the table we had which was outside on their covered patio.  The four of us chose our own personal pizzas but ended up with each of us trying a slice of all four. They were all delicious and priced from $12 - $14 each so not bad.



We ended a terrific Day 1 with snacks, beers and watching the Mets on TV in our hotel room.


Make sure to read Day 2 with tips for getting around DC!



20 comments:

  1. I just love reading about your travels and your budget trips are great, Hopefully I'll be a snow bird soon!!

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    1. Thanks Nancy! Our dream of being snow birds came true, so can yours!

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  2. Looks amazing! Made me hungry for pizza too! Sounds like a fabulous trip!

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  3. It was fun to read your description of your D.C. trip. I'm thinking of taking my kids there this summer and we're really looking to to it.

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    1. Hope you have great time in DC this summer!

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  4. Very nice pics. Thanks for sharing them.

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  5. That sounds wonderful! We don't live too far from DC< but have never cone because of the traffic. I'm hoping once our boys get a little bigger, we can try and his the zoo, and the monuments! That was a heft price for parking, but sounds like it was worth it! I found you through the Thrifty Couple blog link party!

    www.disneymagicmommy.com

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    1. Yes. Traffic is crazy there, but the Metro makes it so easy to get around. PS the Thrifty Couple is a great blog!

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  6. NY is expensive on any budget! We want to take our kids to DC but are waiting a couple years until they are old enough to appreciate everything. The zoo is definitely on our list!

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    1. We had a great time with our kids there years ago. You are right about waiting until they are older for a vacation in DC.

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  7. Sounds like such a wonderful weekend! I've always wanted to see the National Zoo and the sights of Washington DC.

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    1. There's so much to see in DC. I hope you get a chance to go!

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  8. Michigan winters are almost as bad those in New York and I'm all for becoming a snowbird. Unfortunately the Mr isn't. Oh well there's always vacations. Thanks for sharing your adventure and your pictures are great. Thank you for sharing with us at Celebrate Your Story, and I hope you’re having a great weekend.

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    1. Thank you for having me at your linky!

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  9. Replies
    1. Yes. We had a great time! We will definitely meet again there soon!

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  10. Oh my goodness that pizza looks heavenly! Considering a fall trip to DC with my sons....will definitely be looking that restaurant up!

    Thanks for linking with The Blended Blog!

    Shelly||The Queen in Between

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  11. Hope you enjoy your trip and the pizza! Thank you for having me at your party!!

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