Day Trips from D.C.

posted in: American Travel | 0
Time sure flies when you’re having fun! May passed by in a flash and we are already nearing the end of June. Soon enough, it will be August and then the real adventure begins! Since my last post, we’ve been like busy bees exploring more of the Washington area, but this time taking day trips from D.C. to Virginia and Maryland, trying to make the most of the time we have left. Here’s the recap:


Memorial Day Weekend: For once, we spent the entire weekend doing absolutely nothing. No sightseeing, no chores, just lounging, watching t.v., and of course, if you’re Jaime, playing Clash of Clans on the iPhone. However, before we settled down for our hibernation, we had to go see the “Flags-In” ceremony at Arlington Cemetery.

Soldier inserting American flag at a tomb in Arlington.

I knew that the cemetery takes up the job of inserting a little American flag at every single tomb for Memorial Day. However, I didn’t know there was an actual ceremony for the process. I simply thought workers came after the cemetery closed and inserted the flags. It’s actually nothing like that and if you ever have the opportunity to witness it (Memorial Day or Veterans Day Weekend), I strongly suggest it. Basically, soldiers volunteer and come in uniform the Thursday before Memorial Day to lay down the flags. Not only that, they must maintain and reinsert any fallen flags throughout the weekend up until Monday. Meaning that particular weekend, the weather was not that great with a few storms and winds, so I’m sure they had their work cut out for them.

We did a quick walk through the cemetery after our class that day, visiting the JFK site but also Section 60, which I talked about with depth in my post about the first time we went to Arlington. Luckily for us, the soldiers were finishing up in that section, so we got the opportunity to talk to the Captain or Lieutenant (I’m not extremely familiar with the ranks) in charge of the battalion, who talked to us a little bit about the process. It’s a very touching “ceremony” and you get some great pictures out of it. Actually, Jaime went directly to his “three religions” spot (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, once again read that post) and took a picture. After the photographer of the battalion noticed the coincidence, and ended up taking a very similar picture that they posted later on the Facebook page of the cemetery. To learn more about Flags-In, click here.

Tombs in Arlington during Memorial Day weekend.

Soldier inserting American flag at a tomb in Arlington.

Soldier inserting American flag at a tomb in Arlington.
Tombs in Arlington Cemetery during Memorial Day Weekend
JFK tomb with American flag
JFK tomb during Memorial Day weekend.

Annapolis, MD – We also took a little field trip to Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, which is about 45 minutes away from D.C. Jaime wanted to explore the Naval Academy and while this wasn’t particularly exciting for me, I must say I was pleasantly surprised! It was a charming little town (at least the part closest to the Naval Academy) filled with tiny shops, cafes, and restaurants. Also, excuse my little girly moment, but I must say it: the Navy men in their uniforms were SO CUTE! Inside the Naval Academy we walked past the Officer’s homes (so picturesque and New England-y American) and visited John Paul Jones tomb (Jaime was having spasms).





Then, we walked around the town and had a beer and some oysters (we’re obsessed with oysters ever since we moved here) at McGarvey’s Saloon and Oyster Bar by the bay. We regretted not bringing Arya because everyone was walking around and having lunch with their dogs outside.



Assateague Island Beach – This weekend, I got it into my head that I absolutely needed to go to the beach. I had waited and waited and waited for the perfect weekend with the perfect weather because, after all, we were going to drive three hours to get there. So Jaime found me this beach where we could also bring Arya, so it was perfect…in theory. In reality, I was disappointed. As far as the beach goes, it was perfectly fine, beautiful even, if you had never been to Miami. Miami doesn’t have the best beaches, not by a long shot, but what it does have is warm water and burning hot weather. As far as I’m concerned, there is absolutely no point in going to the beach if the wind makes it so cold that you cannot lay out without shivering, which is exactly what happened to me. Granted, I think almost two years living up north has not thickened my blood at all :). On the bright side, Arya had a blast. She played in the sand, dug holes to China, and Jaime was even brave enough to venture out into the freezing water with her. A cool thing about Assateague Island is that there are wild horses roaming free everywhere, so we got some cool picture opportunities. Beware, the toll to cross the Chesapeake Bay bridge only accepts cash if you don’t have the EasyPass, as Jaime and I found out a little too late -_-.

Maryland Beach-08

Maryland Beach-07
Maryland Beach-06

Hillsborough Vineyards – I had no idea there are so many vineyards in Virginia! And that they would be so picturesque! Last weekend, we decided to spend a relaxing Saturday afternoon in Hillsborough Vineyards at the recommendation of our Italian teacher. It’s about an hour and a half away from D.C. but it was marvelous! The views reminded me of Monterey, CA (and I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful Monterey is, I definitely recommend). The setting was calm and tranquil, and a definite plus was that Arya got to tag along too! She was a little star as always. The wine was pretty good, but the views make you go back. You can buy wine and light food on site, or you can bring your own. I’d recommend bringing your own food and buying the wine there. We cannot wait to visit again, it was gorgeous!

Virginia Wine Country-03

Virginia Wine Country-06

Virginia Wine Country-02

Virginia Wine Country-05

Virginia Wine Country-07

Virginia Wine Country-04

As for the rest of the time, it was mostly spent indoors studying and continuing to improve on our Italian. Fortunately, we’ve finally managed to get classes in the mornings so now we have afternoons free, which will hopefully translate into me being able to write more blogposts (if I can pry the computer away from Jaime). I’m also excited because in T-48 hours, we will be on our way to NEW YORK!!! I am so excited for my Sex and the City-style weekend (yes, this is how I picture New York).

Finally, I’ll leave you guys with this little gem of a picture:

It was a totally candid moment, I loved it!
It was a totally candid moment, I loved it!
Follow Beatriz B.:

Blogger at My Napoleon Complex, wife, husky mom, and American Expat living in Rome, Italy.