After a great night at the Delaware State Fair, Danielle and I of Two Chicks and A Road Trip fame, would now make our way to Washington, DC for even more fun. I was kind of excited to visit DC and to share our country’s historic monuments and sights with Danielle.
Driving to Washington, DC
In order to get to Washington, DC, we needed to drive through Maryland and put another stamp on Danielle’s suitcase. She was dead set on discovering as much of the USA on this trip as humanly possible and I was going to help her achieve that.
Our Arrival at the Carlyle Dupont Circle
After driving about 2 hours to Washington, DC, we arrived at our hotel for the evening, the stately Carlyle Dupont Circle, a Kimpton Hotels property. What I love about this hotel, among many things, is its location. It isn’t in a touristy part of the city, but instead it’s located on a quiet tree-lined street that makes you feel like you’re part of the neighborhood even if only for one night.
Inside the Carlyle Dupont Circle
Once inside this Art Deco style hotel, I could tell this was going to be something special. From the spotless surfaces to the amazing artwork and to above all else, the best service I have probably received from any hotel anywhere. This started with the valet when I pulled up to the hotel and continued inside to every single employee, but especially Courtney at the front desk. She was knowledgeable, insightful, and extra helpful – like when I forgot what room I was in as we were changing hotels every night. I wish there was a Courtney at every hotel I visit to greet me and start my stay off on the right foot every time.I wish there was a Courtney at every hotel I visit to greet me and start my stay off on the right foot every time.Click To Tweet
Check out the artwork, which was pop art at its best and fit in effortlessly in the hotel’s surroundings. I so wanted to bring that Marilyn Monroe piece back home with me.
Manny, the bellhop, escorted us with our bags up to room 721, a huge Studio Queen Queen with Kitchenette. If you’re wanting to sleep like a baby, have no worries as you will on the Tempur-Pedic mattresses. On the other side of the room was a large TV, desk area, and a kitchenette complete with minibar with both beverages and snacks, a sink, coffee maker, and a closet.
The bathroom area was quite large with a glass walled step in shower and a separate area for makeup and hair. My favorite part? The Atelier Bloem bath products which smelled so good, like the Kadota Fig Body Lotion with white fig, olive, heliotrope, tuberose, and lemon. Maybe that sounds slightly odd, but let me tell you that it smelled so good on, especially as I was red as a tomato with sunburn. I only wish I had thought to buy some while at the hotel because you can only get them from Kimpton Hotels. Maybe next time…
The Carlyle Dupont Circle takes pride in providing guests with great service and lots of little extras to make your stay even that more memorable. Check out the spread that was waiting for us including fresh fruit, cheese, and yes — cookies. I totally loved the “calm” chocolates before bed, too. Should you forget anything, Kimpton has you covered. Great service, great room, and an overall great stay at the Carlyle Dupont Circle. This will definitely be my go to hotel the next time I visit DC.
The Carlyle Dupont Circle
1731 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
Exploring Washington, DC
After getting organized at the hotel, we decided to jump on Big Bus Tours and try to see as much of Washington, DC that afternoon. Hop on hop off buses are a great way to get around and learn about a new city. Although it wasn’t my first trip to DC, it was for Danielle and I wanted her to see all the big sights on this trip. First stop? The Lincoln Memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is a 98′ national monument built to our country’s 16th president and was dedicated in 1922 by William H. Taft, who was then the Chief Justice of the United States.
TSG Tip: Did you know that there are 36 columns, each representing the states in the union when Lincoln died. You can see those state names as they are inscribed above on the colonnade with the dates that they entered the Union. These details make you realize that everything on the memorial has a purpose and isn’t merely decoration.Did you know that there's a typo on the north facing wall? The word 'FUTURE' was misspelled as 'EUTURE.'Click To Tweet
TSG Tip #2: Did you know that there’s a typo on the north facing wall? The word “FUTURE” was misspelled as “EUTURE” and even though they’ve tried to cover it up, you can still see the mistake. Have you seen it?
The Washington Monument
Looking out from the Lincoln Monument, you can see across the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and on toward the Washington Monument.
The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was constructed by Henry Bacon,the same architect who also designed the Lincoln Memorial. It measures 2,029 feet long and 167 feet wide. Danielle thought it was much shorter and only realized I wasn’t joking when I said it would be a walk from one end to the other. It was so hot and humid and there was zero breeze that day. It’s important to keep in mind that the temperature was a ridiculous 98º (Stay out of it, Nick Lachey).
The Washington Monument is located on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Construction on the monument to commemorate George Washington commenced in 1848 and despite delays from lack of money, it was eventually completed in 1884 and was officially opened in 1888.Did you know that the bottom third of the Washington Monument is a different shade than the rest of the monument? Click To Tweet
TSG Tip: Did you know that the bottom third of the Washington Monument is a different shade than the rest of the monument? That’s because the marble used was acquired from different quarries. You can see the difference in the picture above.
National World War II Memorial
At the far end of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool sits the National World War II Memorial. This memorial was opened in 2004 to honor the 16 million members of the armed forces who served during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and those back at home who offered them support.
TSG Tip: Why all the pillars? As you walk up to the memorial you’ll notice that there are 56 granite pillars that are arranged in a semicircle around the plaza. Each pillar represents the 48 U.S. states of 1945, the District of Columbia, the Alaska Territory and the Territory of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The White House
One of the most important stops on our tour of Washington, DC that day was a visit to the White House. Granted, the Obamas hadn’t invited us over for tea or cocktails, but still. We wanted to get as close as we could and get a great picture.TSG Tip: Did you know that construction on the White House took over 18 years? Oh - and it's haunted, too. Click To Tweet
TSG Tip: Did you know that construction on the White House took over 18 years before it opened on November 1, 1800? Oh and did I mention that many of its former residents say it’s haunted? That’s right. With the likes of several ghosts, including Abraham Lincoln?
After a long day of trekking around Washington, DC, Danielle and I called it quits for the night and our dinner delivered to our room. She was convinced she had sunstroke, heat exhaustion, Zika, or something else. Apparently the British aren’t prepared for the humidity we are used to every summer.
After checking out of the hotel in the morning, we drove about 15 minutes to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Established in 1864 with the American Civil War, those who have died during war are laid to rest in the cemetery’s 624 acres, which consists of 70 sections.TSG Tip: Did you know that Martha Washington's grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, acquired the land where Arlington National Cemetery now sits? Click To Tweet
TSG Tip: Did you know that Martha Washington’s grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, acquired the land where Arlington National Cemetery now sits? His estate was later passed onto his daughter, Mary Anna, who later married Robert E. Lee?
A few of the most visited sections include the burial site of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as well as the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Although it was named “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” after several burials took place, it unofficially became known as the “Tomb of the Unknowns” to all that have visited.
TSG Tip: Did you know that the Tomb of the Unknowns has been perpetually guarded since July 2, 1937? If you count the steps that the guard takes every half-hour, the number is 21. Why 21? Because that symbolizes a 21-gun salute, the highest of all military honors.
My biggest suggestion for visiting Arlington National Cemetery is to make a plan of what you want to see while there, don’t rush, and go early. Tours come through and you don’t want to get stuck in the middle a group trying to see above and around other people. There are several memorials that are worthy of a visit, such as the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial or the Lockerbie Cairn, among others. Stop in at the gift shop before you leave and check out the scores of books and other literature that is bound to reignite your interest in history.
On day four we are moving onto Baltimore, MD. Check out the many pics of our trip by reading all of the road trip posts and also searching the hashtag, #TwoChicksAndARoadTrip on Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Travel Shop Girl website while you’re here for more great travel tips and destination information.
While I was generously provided discounted accommodations by the Carlyle Dupont Circle and a free bus tour by Big Bus Tours, all opinions and photographs, unless otherwise noted, are my own.