Between Christmas and New Years, we decided to celebrate Little Bird's 8th birthday a little early by heading down to Tyson's Corner for a quick stay in a hotel with a pool. We got a great price ($89) for a room with the fun of witnessing hundreds of teenage girls swarm at their first meet-and-greet with Youtube icons. Joy. (Actually, it was hilarious to see them scream and run at any supposed sighting.) Before we checked into our room, we spent some time over at the mall at the American Girl store so that their dolls could get their hair done and ears pierced ($60 for the whole deal - not terrible, but G couldn't believe it). Then, we headed down to the quintessential tweener heaven so that both girls could get their own ears pierced! The youngest went first and didn't flinch; then big sis went and didn't do too badly either.
Since Tyson's Corner is only about 22 minutes from DC and the weather was a lovely 50 degrees (for December), we decided to head downtown to get some grub and see the National Christmas Tree.
Although we likely could have found street parking had we looked longer, we decided to park under the famous Willard -- $17 for the first two hours; $21 after that. This may seem exorbitant, but one should expect at least that much in DC - and this was valet! We made our way upstairs to the Willard lobby - wow. They really know how to celebrate the holiday! There was a beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby and decorations galore. G asked why we didn't stay there . . . I asked if he had an additional four hunny for the night . . . He was satisfied with my choice.
We walked north to see if we could get a table at the Old Ebbitt Grill, but even at 3:30 on a Saturday, there was an hour wait. Another time. The place was packed and the Nutcrackers outside were getting their fair share of photo ops. The girls were too grumpy to stand still long enough for me to get their pic, so we headed even farther north and found Woodward Table on the corner of H and 15th. Since we were there between lunch and dinner, we had to settle for the bar menu, but they had a great kids' menu, nonetheless, and G and I really enjoyed our meals of a huge burger and crab/artichoke pizza. (SG had a huge kid's steak/fries and Sylv had yummy cheese pizza.) The price was a bit on the high side - again, expected, but we really enjoyed our streetside seats and the beautiful decor.
After linner, we headed southeast to the White House. The crowds on the street were incredible! So many out to enjoy the weather, I suppose. We walked up to find our "first" protest - Iraqi-Americans protesting Maliki for a recent bombing/civilian slaughter.
The girls were captivated with the chanting, signs, and flags. It was very moving. We got some pix right in front of the place (G commented on how he couldn't believe how close we were allowed to be), then we headed west and south again to make our way to the tree. The crowds increased as we made our way down to a surprisingly small evergreen surrounded by gates and train sets.
The girls tried to throw pennies into the circling trains, and we found our Maryland tree on the outskirts. The quarter-scaffolded Washington Monument stood stoically to the south against the mellow sunset sky. We headed back to our parking garage before it got too dark. We awed at how the Willard's outside decorations were almost as beautiful as inside.