Annapolis, MD: Life on the Water

I “met” Cindy many years ago on the Mothering….I was fascinated by her boat-dwelling life and had corresponded with her several times. When we were planning the tour, I knew we had to hook up with her family in Annapolis! Cindy has lived “on the water” for the last 10 years…most recently in a 44 foot catamaran with her husband, Doug, and her 3 year old son, Zach. AND of course, we can’t forget their dog…affectionately referred to as “Schooner-dog”.

We had so much fun hanging out with another family who understands what it means to truly live small. I was really surprised at how much space they do have in the boat. The exterior is very deceiving…but there are so many great nooks and crannies down below. The kids had the most fun exploring it all. They were like little monkeys…climbing and hanging on everything they could get their hands on.

We parked the RV in the marina parking area and on Sunday morning, awoke to the sun glistening off the water…and beautiful boats all lined up in the harbor. This is probably one of my favorite things about RV life…having a different view everyday. The night before, we had attended a wedding “party” of their friends across the dock. We enjoyed meeting their friends and seeing another beautiful catamaran.

Cindy and Doug have traveled the world (and have plans to go again!)…and have the stories to prove it. You can read about one of their adventures in the book , The World is a Kitchen…in which she was a contributor. This family was a delight to visit and we enjoyed their company so much.

Photo album here.

Washington, DC: Fun With Family

We were especially excited to arrive in Washington, D.C…because my parents would be joining us! We arrived on Sunday night at got settled in at the Cherry Hill RV Park in College Park. It’s a lovely little place…with nice amenities. They had a full laundromat, sauna, hot tub, wi-fi, playgrounds, a café, grocery store, and a real wood fireplace in the lodge. We would be staying there the entire week with my parents.

On Monday morning, we took the bus to the Metro station. The bus was filled with college students who had camped at the campground overnight in tents (and it was coooooold!). They were armed with protest signs and bright eyes…and had come from colleges all over the nation. They were all heading to the capital to take part in Step It Up 2007…a rally focused on creating global warming awareness. It was fun to chat with them and hear the passion and excitement in their voices as they got ready to make a difference…each in their own way. We arrived at the Metro station and headed inside. We felt like pretty experienced train riders at this point…so finding our way to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was a piece of cake.

We arrived on time and located my parent’s gate. Bella picked a spot on the floor and settled in with the iPhone to watch a movie until they arrived. We craned our necks as we watched passenger after passenger walk down the hallway. I think they must have been the very last people off the plane…because FINALLY we saw them walking toward us with big smiles. Bella dropped what she was doing and sprinted towards them. Hugs, hugs, and more hugs….followed by kisses and more hugs. We promptly purchased some coffee and headed out for our adventure in Washington, D.C.!

We made so many memories and had wonderful adventures. Here are the highlights of our time together:

National Zoo * The Archives * Smithsonians * National Air and Space Museum * Museum of Natural History * Chinatown * Thai Food * Bee Movie * Open Top Double Decker Tour Bus * The Capitol * Union Station * The White House * National Geographic * Dupont Circle * Georgetown * Lincoln Memorial * Vietnam Memorial * Korean War Memorial * Busboys and Poets * Postal Museum * National Gallery of Art * Arlington Cemetery * JRF’s Gravesite * Tomb of Unknown Soldiers * Iwo Jima Marine Memorial * La Tasca (Tapas!) * Annapolis * Naval Academy * Chesapeke Bay * Ft. Meade * Defense Information School * Baltimore * Inner Harbor * Hard Times Café

Details on our favorites:

The Archives: We loved seeing the REAL Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. What a great experience. We’re big fans of National Treasure, so it was fun to remember that scene in the movie.

Open Top Tour Bus: We took the bus around the city and it was so much fun to ride on top and see everything from 14 feet up! It was fun to see DC that way. It was a little chilly at times, but well worth it. Bella loved riding WAY up there…all cuddled up in the sling. The tour guides were often quite amusing as well :).

Dupont Circle: This was probably my favorite part of town. There was such diversity and cool little places to go. We ate at a sushi restaurant there on the first night in town…it was such a beautiful night and we enjoyed walking by all of the stately brownstones and apartments on our way.

Lincoln Memorial: All of the memorials are moving and profound. But this one was breathtaking. Such a beautiful view…and Lincoln is…well…HUGE! There were a lot of events going on around all of the memorials because it was just a few days until Veterans Day.

Busboys and Poets
: This was by far my favorite restaurant in the city. The food was phenomenal, the prices low, and the atmosphere ripe with optimism. It’s a coffeehouse, bookstore, restaurant, and performing space all in one…and the focus is on social awareness and peace activism. Be sure to try the goat cheese salad if you go!

Postal Museum: We LOVED this one. It is very kid-friendly and being that I have a slight obsession with sending and receiving “real” mail…it was highly entertaining and informative. It was right outside of Union Staion, which made it super easy to get to.

Arlington Cemetery: This was a sobering and memorable experience…one that everyone should take part in sometime in their life.

Ft. Meade: This was where I attended the “Defense Information School in 1998-1999 for the Air National Guard. I was a photographer in the military for 6 years…and DINFOS is where all of the “artsy” people go to train (all 5 branches of service). I made so many wonderful friends there and had so many great times. It was so much fun to go back…and show my family where we marched, learned, and lived.

On Saturday morning, we all got ready and headed out for one last cup of coffee before mom and dad flew back to Iowa. It was such a fantastic week…I feel so blessed that I can stay in a small RV with my parents and love them more when they left than when they arrived! It was indeed a sweet time of fellowship and fun.

Photo album here.