Spring time in DC

Springtime in DC is so lovely! There are so many wonderful things to see and do even if it has been just a little cooler and rainy than normal here. It’s still better than the cold and snow we still have at home.

There are monuments and landmarks and museums, the Whitehouse, Capital Hill,  Pentagon, cemeteries, cafes and bakeries, walks in the park…and lots of squirrels and flowers. I think DC is at it’s finest in the Springtime!

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Arlington, Alexandria Old Town, George Town, Foggy Bottom

What do all these places have in common? Well, they are key areas that come up when you do a search on what to do in Washington and surrounding area. For example:

Arlington~ Arlington is right across the river from the Tidal Basin. It is part of the original “ten miles square” which the US Constitution dedicated as Washington DC, the nation’s capital. Key things to see in Arlington are the Pentagon and the National Cemetery.

Alexandria~ If you’re after old-world charm, Old Town Alexandria is a good bet. From cobblestone streets to historic buildings to quaint shops and very good bars and restaurants, it offers a slightly less frantic (and often less expensive) alternative to Georgetown.

George Town~Georgetown is famous as a favorite of Washington’s DC’s dinner-party set. It’s a neighborhood with historic row houses, many shopping options, and many excellent dining options. D.C.’s most historic neighborhood, and one of its most trendy, is home to the fabled “Washington Elite,” the city’s première upmarket dining scene, colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, tons of sports bars, upscale and boutique shopping, bucolic Dumbarton Oaks, and Georgetown University.

Foggy Bottom~Foggy Bottom’s location is pretty much ideal for walking to the cherry blossoms and the rest of the National Mall area. It’s a buzzing neighborhood with a mix of residential and work blocks.  There’s a lot going on around this area with George Washington University, the State Department, and a bunch of other government departments based in the area.

Dupont Circle~probably the number one contender for D.C.’s trendiest neighborhood, Dupont Circle has tons of restaurants, nightclubs, popular watering holes, shopping, most of Embassy Row along Massachusetts Ave AND this is the area we chose to stay.

So…LOTS to see and do in the few short days we are in the area. How do we see it? Even an overview… Well, we do the Hop on Hop off bus tour!! We like to do this in many cities as you’ve seen before in posts. We got a good rate for 48hours which means two days to do this and given the fact that DC is CrAzY for traffic and finding areas to park, especially during Cherry Blossom Festival, we thought it was a good idea. The last two days have been cool too so it was nice to be able to get inside the bus and just ride to warm up.

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Hello Mr. President

Washington DC.  I’ve been researching this winter on great locations in the Springtime and Washington, DC kept coming up. There is a reason… it is notably a beautiful place. Such a beautiful place in Spring.

And this is why… Washington DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival and my WHOLE reason for wanting to go to DC. I told you to stay tuned for my plan about the blossoms. This was it!

So besides making sure we see the festival highlights and beautiful trees ( more about that in a later post) we of course had to stop by the White House first thing and say “Hello” to the President. Well, you know…it’s the polite thing to do!

He was actually home at the White House. Sometimes he is away and traveling but he was at home and there was lots happening in the streets around his “home” areas blocked off and we had to walk the “long” way around. It was a lot of fun and kinda exciting.

So now that we said “Hello”, it’s time to explore this fine city!

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South of the Border

It’s time! Time for another little road trip. South of the border. Yes, that’s right we’re heading into the good ‘ol USA for a week.

David has a week off ( he booked it off for me) and since there is still lots of snow here we thought we’d start driving South!!

PS~ And we have a ‘lil stowaway on this road trip.

Meet Flat Stanley!

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( Flat Stanley is a stick character and provides an opportunity for students to make connections with students of other schools who’ve signed up with the project. Students begin by reading the book and becoming acquainted with the story. Then they make paper “Flat Stanleys”  imitations of the Stanley Lambchop character and keep a journal for a few days, documenting the places and activities in which Flat Stanley is involved. The Flat Stanley and the journal are mailed to other people who are asked to treat the figure as a visiting guest and add to his journal, then return them both after a period of time. The Flat Stanley Project’s focus is on literacy. It’s so cool!

One of David’s colleagues at work heard we were going to the US on a road trip, and his daughter was really hoping her Flat Stanley could tag along on our adventures… Sure no problem!

And…just to give you an idea what a fun bunch David works with. Another colleague “borrowed” Flat Stanley while she was sitting on David’s desk and with a little “photo editing magic”…”David” showed up inside the picture he has of me on his office desk. lol Too funny!!

IMG_0098So with our little stowaway by our side, off we go early this morning. Let’s see where a whole day of driving will put us! 😛

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PS~ She was a perfect traveling companion, but very quiet. Now that she’s had supper, it was off to bed because tomorrow is another very early morning and all day traveling.IMG_2223 IMG_2254 IMG_2264

The Flying Adventures

I can’t believe how long it’s been between flying trips. The last time we were on an airplane was in July when we flew home from China! Before that it seems as though we were flying somewhere EVERY month!! Lots of trips MEANS lots of air miles! Lots of air miles MEANS Latitude STATUS!

So, we decided to use a few of those air miles for our round trip to Florida. We booked them no problem and had to pay a little bit of money which is the norm. We still had our Air Canada Latitude status ( at least on the way down…the year runs February-February) so we were able to enjoy the little luxuries of priority checking and boarding, lounge access, and all the things that make flying fun. Well mostly fun. Flying in the Winter can have its issues. Our flight out of Halifax was delayed because of the snow storm. Icy runways aren’t good for take off the pilot said, so he wanted to wait. Our delay in Halifax meant that our flight to Tampa took off before we arrived in Toronto. But, I really have to give kudos to Air Canada. We got off the plane and they immediately handed us new tickets for the next morning, and a voucher for a complimentary over night at the International Plaza & Conference Center along with food vouchers. They organized the new flight and sent a message to David’s phone so we knew we already had tickets before we even got off the plane. They are a very efficient Air Line. And we had a comfy sleep before venturing out the next morning to Tampa.
On the flights to and from Toronto to Tampa we flew Air Canada Rouge, a new air carrier for us. It was a nice experience but one I wouldn’t do again if I had the choice. The only good thing is the trendy outfits the flight attendants wear. Other than that it was cramped and the planes are a little older, there is no plug in outlets and the on board entertainment is by on board wifi to your mobile device if you have the Air Canada app ( thankfully we did)

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IMG_1927BUT, ohhh how I miss it…flying… planning and booking vacations…

I am Thankful, so VERY THANKFUL that David and I can enjoy our little getaways! I LOVE the adventure of it all!!! NOW, It’s back to SNOW country!!

PS~ And on the way home we had an adventure making sure we had 1 bag that was 50 lbs each instead of the allowed in latitude of 3 bags 70lbs each PLUS on the way home we brought a very SPECIAL package…our future daughter’s wedding gown! BUT we did it!!!! Oh…the ADVENTURE!

 

A stop over in Tampa

We got back to the Port of Tampa this morning bright and early at 8am. It was about 9:30 by the time we disembarked and got to our hotel. We are spending one more day in the sunny (warm) South before heading NORTH to snow country again lol

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Of course, being early morning we couldn’t check in to our hotel, so we just left our bags at the front desk and grabbed a cup of coffee, found a cozy spot and caught up on news, emails and blogging while we waited for Dad Goode to drive up from Cortez. Unfortunately  Mom has not been feeling so great this past week  so she stayed home. 

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Off we went to explore…

A Sunny Sunday. What to do?

A drive down the bay along the coast to Clearwater, Ste Petersburg…to Madeira Beach. Wow the homes and boats…$$$$$ We had lunch at a great spot on the water at John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk where we could see dolphins  and watch the boats come and go.

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Then back to the hotel to check in. This is a happening spot on a Sunday. We could stay right here. Oceanview balcony on the 6th floor.

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Then Dad suggested Ybor City. Florida’s Historic Latin Quarter. Red brick buildings, wrought iron balconies and gates along Palm lined streets. Exotic Aromas, sights and sounds. What a fabulous spot. It’s also the place to see hand rolled cigars made. Ybor city was founded by Vicente Martinez Ybor as a cigar manufacturing Center. Old world charm, enjoyed with a cup of cafe con leche…if only we had more time…

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We said goodbye to Dad, we are so thankful he was our tour guide. We saw lots of neat places that we wouldn’t have been able to see by ourselves. Then we hopped on the trolley and headed towards the water again.

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I have been reading about the development of the Tampa Riverwalk, so a stroll along the river. I love waterfronts and this one actually starts right down by Channelside where the cruise ships leave. Somebody else will be sleeping in my bed tonight. Lol

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After we were finished at the River Walk we grabbed a cab, went back to our hotel, watched the sea doo races from our balcony, enjoyed a delicious dinner and…one more night…

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IMG_1830 IMG_1819a BEAUTIFUL sunset!!!

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Sea Legs

Some people say they will NEVER cruise because they couldn’t handle the idea of being on the sea all the time. On your typical 7 day Caribbean cruise, there are usually 2 sea days and the rest through the night sailing and waking up in a new port the next morning. This is why David & I love cruising. It’s the adventure and excitement of a new port every day! And we don’t even mind the two days at sea, especially if the waters are calm and once you get your sea legs!

So…This Western Cruise is as follows:

Mar 1 Embark Tampa, Mar 2- Day at Sea, Mar 3- Honduras, Mar 4- Belize, Mar 5- Costa Maya, Mexico, Mar 6- Cozumel, Mexico, Mar 7- At Sea, Mar 8 Disembark Tampa

So what do we do on sea days? Well… we wake up and step out on our balcony and breathe in the fresh sea air and enjoy a coffee. And then we make our way to Deck 11 for a Buffet breakfast and eat it outside on the back of the ship getting some morning sun. And then after breakfast we go for a stroll around the ship to check out all the fun places. On a new ship it’s easy to get lost when you’re finding your way around. There is so much to do. Morning yoga and Zumba and dance classes and language lessons. Art auctions and card games, the Casino if you’re in to that… There’s shopping and eating and information sessions and port information seminars…and eating… And then there ‘s swimming and tanning and hot tub sitting and eating and nap time because you’re sooooo exhausted and then eating. Haha lots of eating!!! Then there’s afternoon coffee and back to the room to sit on the balcony and shower time and dress for dinner. Dinner can be casual or fancy. Gotta get some pics of us and the sun setting. Then it’s game time…lets’s make a deal or jeopardy, and then…it’s Showtime!!! Music and dance, jugglers, comedians..you name it, they’ve got it. After the show a stroll up to the out door Cafe for some snackies. ( pizza and wings, a tea and something sweet)  If you aren’t too tired there’s discos and pool parties or just quiet chill in’ a nice little corner. I didn’t even get in to the gym or spa or library or … Well you get the picture. There’s just SO much to do!!!

Here are some pics…in no certain order…

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And at the end of the day… which is fairly early for us because of all the sun, food and fresh air ( we are exhausted) we snuggle in our lovely queen bed, get rocked to sleep by the ocean waves and have lovely dreams of waking up in an exotic location in the Caribbean because that was the day at sea and tomorrow is a Port day!! Ahhh….

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