First vacation of the year, and it was well worth it. More expensive than initially expected, but still worth it to me. We all desperately needed the downtime. Not just downtime at home where we do a “staycation” but spend it doing laundry. An actual vacation where we go away, stay at a hotel, and have fun.
Mission accomplished, my friends.
The plan was to leave by noon on Wednesday, drive down to Baltimore. We would stay at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. See Washington D.C. one day, see the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, see my wife’s sister and family another day, explore Fell’s Point, and the National Aquarium, all before Saturday.
As usual, we had a mad rush up until Wed. So much work for us to finish at the office before we could turn on the out-of-office agents, then cleaning up, laundry, packing. We eventually left around 1pm after a brief-but-quick light lunch at home. The drive to Baltimore was quick and uneventful. Seriously, no traffic, no bad weather!
Once we checked in, we were pleasantly surprised at how nice our room was. Harbor view? Can’t be beat. Double beds, LCD tv, access to the Concierge lounge? Gotta love it.
We chilled out in the hotel room for a few hours, then walked over to Roy’s, which is an upscale Hawaiian/Asian fusion chain restaurant. Nums and I have dined at a Roy’s restaurant or two in the past, so we were looking forward to this. We all ate like kings and queens, and we’re extremely happy that the kids were open to eat something other than the usual kids menu fare, e.g. chicken tenders, hot dogs, mac & cheese. One of goals is to get the kids to eat and enjoy a wide variety of foods.
Thursday was our big visit to Washington D.C. We had a nice breakfast at the Concierge lounge, then picked up the car and drove into the Capital. Driving in wasn’t bad, but finding parking was a little difficult. We parked at a municipal garage somewhat close to the Mall, then hoofed it to the Smithsonian Castle. We took a short break to snack on cheese and crackers, grapes, etc, then made our way our destination: the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Btw, I had no idea the admission was free. Our plan was to spend the afternoon checking out the exhibits with Namita’s old friend Patrick, catch the “Hubble 3D” show, then drive over to Virginia for dinner with Namita’s high school friend Barbara and her family.
The museum was very good, much like I remember, but mentally draining. I think all museums are. Why is that? Namita and I were talking about it, and we hypothesized that it’s because of all the stimuli — chasing after the kids, the exhibits, the sounds, the crowds of people all around you, the ticking of the clock and trying to see all you can see, planning what’s next, etc. Hmmm, sounds like the stress of being a parent and taking your kids someplace is the real problem.
We had a late/quick lunch at the food court there (McDonald’s), Patrick made his departure, and we went back inside the museum to see Hubble 3D on the big IMAX screen. It was crowded, we got stuck in two different rows on the extreme right, but it was still good. After the film, we made our way out and back to the car.
We wanted to see the famed cherry blosssoms, but we couldn’t see much from the car as we left Washington D.C. We were next on our way to Virginia to meet up with Namita’s friend Barb and her family at their house for dinner. Barb and family ordered out, and we had a swell Tex-Mex dinner. The kids ran around playing, I had some beer, and life was good.
Friday was all about hanging out in the Inner Harbor area around our hotel, and being a bit more relaxed. I went to the gym in the morning and ran 4 miles. I immediately went upstairs to meet the rest of the family for breakfast. I later freshened up, then we went for a walk in the harbor area. We did a 30 min jaunt on one of the peddle boats (I did all the peddling with my still-very-sore-from-running thighs.) We wrapped up with lunch at La Tasca, a tapas restaurant right on the water. I wouldn’t have thought the food would be very good, but it was decent.
After lunch, we split up. I brought Lily back to the hotel (after buying more snacks from the local CVS), while Namita and Josh drove to pick up our niece Sophia. She would be coming to hang out with us at the hotel pool for a while. After the pool, we all freshened up, then we all went to my sister-in-law Anju’s place for dinner and wine and all sorts of conversation. The kids would be sleeping over at their place, which I could only assume would be rambunctious.
Saturday was our last day. Namita and I woke up fresh, and packed up our clothes and everything else that needed to be packed. We’d be driving back to Anju & Sunny’s to pick up the kids, then we’d all get a quick lunch, then hit the National Aquarium. We had lunch at this Haute Dog gourmet hot dog stand near Towson, MD. Then we drove back into Baltimore, parked again, and hit the aquarium. Still pretty cool, much like I remember from the last time we went in June 2009. Finally, we took the water taxi to Fell’s Point, had dinner and drinks at some bar/restaurant. Ice cream at Maggie Moo’s, listened to some fellow playing the guitar and singing, and water taxi back to the Inner Harbor East area. We said our goodbyes, and went back to the hotel and car.
We took the kids for one last rest break in the lobby restrooms, changed the kids into their pajamas in the parking garage, and then we were off back to NJ.
And that was the big Baltimore vacation. Next vacation won’t be until Delaware in August this year, so it’ll be a long while until we get to relax again.
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