Welcome to my 14-day series on our East Coast Road Trip where I share our adventures along the way, how we’re doing this on a budget, honest reviews of attractions & restaurants we visit, and money-saving tips and ideas. If you missed it, read Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, and Day 4 here.
Y’all. On Day 5 of our trip, I realized just how much I’ve changed in the past year, thanks to my Year of Rest and so much heart work.
Not only did I wear yellow shoes to walk all over D.C. (who knew that the color yellow would make me so happy??), but I randomly stopped into a little shop called Teaism and bought some Heart of Africa tea (Me? Spontaneously purchasing something? Just for fun?? And loving it? Who am I?), and then it poured rain and we got soaked to the bone at the Arlington Cemetery and I just laughed and took in the moment.
This road trip has had its hard moments, of course, but it’s been such a wonderful experience! I am so grateful that I’m so much less high-strung these days so that I can actually enjoy life — even when it’s pouring rain, I’m freezing, we have blocks to walk, and we didn’t bring an umbrella.
The Holocaust Museum
Wow! I have long been interested in World War II and have read many, many books on the topic. So I was really wanting to go to the Holocaust Museum on this trip. I am so glad we went. However, I wish I had been better prepared for it.
Here are some pointers and things to know if you are considering visiting:
- I didn’t realize that it was so big and would realistically take at least 3 hours to go through. I probably could have spent 5 hours if I had stopped to read most of the signs/watch the videos, etc. We had only planned to be there for an hour and a half because we’d reserved our tickets online ahead of time and had been given an hour time slot. Jesse and I just assumed that this meant we should allow an hour. We allowed some extra time just in case. Well, when we got there, we were shocked at how huge it was and were sad that we hadn’t planned to spend more time there.
- I also didn’t expect that it would be so crowded. Gratefully, we’d been tipped off by a reader that you need to reserve tickets online in order to actually get to go through the museum. So I’m grateful that we did that because, otherwise, there’s NO way we would have gotten in just by walking in that day. (Read here more about how to get tickets to the museum. It’s free to go to the museum, but it costs $1 per ticket to reserve them online.)
- The museum definitely covers some topics that might be unsettling or upsetting for kids who are sensitive (or anyone who is sensitive to these types of things). However, I went through the museum with Silas (8) and explained things to him at the level I felt he could understand and take in. We read the signs together and I was there to answer all of his questions. We had many good discussions as a result.
- There are some pictures that might be disturbing, but the museum did a good job of having any really disturbing videos blocked off with a warning sign so you’d know and could choose whether to watch/look.
In the atrium, they have an area where you can sit down and talk to a Holocaust survivor. I thought this was such an amazing idea!
Like I said, there were a LOT of people there and it was pretty packed, especially in the first parts of the museum. We had to wait in line to be able to see things/wait for people so we could see certain exhibits.
Before you go into the museum, they have you choose an identification card from one of the victims of the Holocaust. I thought this was a beautiful way to make it much more personal and real — and to share the stories of some of the victims.
One of the areas that really impacted our kids was the section where they show the living conditions in the concentration camp barracks — including the bunks they slept on.
I told you in my last post all about the Newseum and how much we enjoyed it. Since our tickets were good for two days and we hadn’t gotten through all of the museum the day before, we went back because we loved it so much!
(I can’t recommend this Museum highly enough if you love current events, news, and/or politics!)
We spent most of our time at the 9/11 section. They did an incredible job of honor the media members who did the reporting of this horrific event — including the photographer who died.
The girls also loved getting to pretend they were reporters — reading from a teleprompter and reporting “live” on different new segments!
When dinner time rolled around, we started looking for some place to eat and we randomly found Chopt and stopped for dinner. We’d never heard of it before, but after just 10 minutes of being there, we promptly decided it was our new favorite restaurant.
(It’s so yummy and healthful and pretty reasonably priced, too! Highly recommended!)
Arlington National Cemetery
We got to Arlington after dinner and made our way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which our kids were fascinated with. It’s so sobering to be there and to think of all the lives lost in order for us to enjoy the many freedoms we do.
We stayed for the final Changing of the Guards. In the middle of it, it started raining and didn’t stop. Which was just about the time we realized that we had forgotten something very important on this trip — umbrellas and/or ponchos.
Since the cemetery was closed after the final Changing of the Guards, we had to quickly walk the long way back to the entrance and back to the metro. By the time we got there, we were thoroughly soaked. But we just laughed and danced in the rain, because it was certainly a memory!
Plus, after spending the morning at the Holocaust Museum, how could we complain about a little rain? It really changes your perspective on life and the many, many blessings we have that we take for granted every single day.
Book read today: The Sacrament of Happy (beautifully written and inspiring to me!)
To be continued…
Want to follow along with our trip in real-time? Follow my personal Instagram account here where I’ll be sharing a daily recap + videos and photos via Instagram Stories.