From St. Louis in 7 Days
Day 1: We left St. Louis, MO and decided to drive straight through to our hotel near Washington DC. During our drive we stopped for a quick visit at George Washington’s Fort Necessity National Battlefield.
This well planned bathroom break was the perfect excuse to take a quick walk into 1754 history.
Fort Necessity is where the start of the French and Indian War took place on July 3, 1754. This site boasts the original fort location, reenactors, and a delightful museum. This was a welcome and fun reprieve from the drive.
Once we checked into our spacious room Oakwood Studios we relaxed at the outdoor pool. We needed some fun in the sun after spending so much time in the car. The pool had a spacious deck with plenty of room to swim and hang out.
After dinner we explored the National Mall also known as Americans Front Lawn.
We explored the monument sites in the reprieve of the evening. There were less crowds in the evening, it was humid but not sweltering, and the monuments were all lit up. The visit to The National Mall was beautiful and unforgettable. We were able to visit Washington’s Monument, the WWI Memorial, Lincolns Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the WWII Memorial.
Trip Tips: Plan on not using your car in Washington DC and download ride apps. This will save you time, frustration, and bring you convenience. Go to the National Mall early in the morning for hardly any crowds. Or go later in the evening for fewer crowds and the thrill of the monuments ablaze in lights!
The National Mall is open 24 hours.
Day 2: Our hotel was very close to Arlington Ridge Park. This park, which boarders a section of Arlington National Cemetery, is the location of the United States Marine Corps War Memorial and the Netherlands Carillon. Plan on visiting this area. It was never crowded in the mornings.
We ran through this park in the mornings and loved the view of Washington’s monument from this hill as well as the humbling surroundings.
Our next stop was a visit to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This is a popular museum in DC. We were happy we bought our tickets online and arrived early. This museum boasts the world’s biggest collection of space artifacts and all aspects of human flight. We personally loved the mock-up aircraft carrier and tower. There is something here for everyone.
It totally gave us that Top Gun feeling.
Next, we visited the United States National Holocaust Museum. Two of the most moving exhibits were ‘Daniels Story,’ and the ‘Hall of Remembrance.’
Located among our national monuments to freedom on the National Mall, the Museum provides a powerful lesson in the fragility of freedom, the myth of progress, and the need for vigilance in preserving democratic values. With unique power and authenticity, the Museum teaches millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide. And we encourage them to act, cultivating a sense of moral responsibility among our citizens so that they will respond to the monumental challenges that confront our world.http://www.ushmm.org
After we left the National Holocaust Museum we took a stroll around the White House. We ended our day in the pool.
Trip Tip: Tickets for the National Holocaust Museum are free with a few available each day online at 7am. Plan on reserving your date in advance (with a $1 service fee). You can guarantee your date and time for your visit.
Day 3: This day happened to fall of my birthday where I started it off surrounding by stacks of money at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Our small tour was led by a knowledgeable guide. We were able to watch the creation of U.S. currency and learned what happens to old money.
now we understand just how detailed the process is to manufacture our currency.
What an interesting stop!
Next, we traveled to the nearby historic town of Alexandria. This was a fun retreat from Washington DC where we shopped for souvenirs, antiques and clothes. We took a tour of an original 1792 Apothecary with so many original bottles, herbs, medicines, books, historical items still in place. I adored this!
We left Alexandria and headed back to Washington DC for dinner at the iconic Old Ebbitt Grill. This meal was a must on our to-do list!
This 1856 historic ‘Saloon’ has been welcoming presidents and famous guests since they opened their doors.
With its close proximity to the White House and its aged and beautiful décor I can only imagine who has enjoyed a meal here through the years. We can be added to the list now!
Trip tip: Tickets for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are free but there is a process of obtaining them. There is a booth, located at Roaul Wallenberg Place, that opens at 8 am each day. You can request a specific timed ticket for that day at the booth. Get in line by 7:30 am if you want early tour tickets (like we did). More information for these tickets can be found here. Make reservations in advance if you want to eat at the Old Ebbit Grill.
Day 4: Today we left Washington DC for Williamsburg, VA but not before we did two monumental things. First, we took a quick pop into Arlington National Cemetery at the Ord & Weitzel Gate. This gate is near Arlington Ridge Park that I told you about earlier. Entering this gate saved us so much time as there was no line, no massive parking lot and no crowds. This gate is for pedestrian traffic only.
This gate boasts no frills but you get quiet time to walk the grounds in the oldest and historical section of arlington national cemetery.
Next we prepped for our scheduled time to tour the nations capitol building, The White House. Trip Tip: You must schedule the White House Tour 6 months in advance by going to your States Senator website. Be prepared that the forms will ask you a date range you are available for the tour. You cannot request a time or a date but are given a time slot of their choosing.
This tour was meaningful, moving and impressive. What an experience!
We left Washington, DC and headed to Williamsburg, VA for our next 3 nights. We arrived to our condo at Parkside. This hotel is near Water Country USA, Yorktown, Bush Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg and the Jamestown Settlement. We were ready to relax so we spent the rest of the day in their large outdoor pool.
Day 5. We spent this fourth of July morning and afternoon visiting the enchanting and historical Colonial Williamsburg. We made plans to do outdoor Axe Throwing and a Musket Shooting experience and we toured the historic district and enjoyed interacting with the tradespeople. You could spend an entire week here and still have things left to do. We loved this history, staff and ways to explore. It was so hot that we left mid afternoon, after lunch, to spend the rest of this picture perfect day in the pool. I really want to make it back to Colonial Williamsburg to see more of it. After dinner we watched the fireworks from our balcony.
Happy Fourth of July!!
Day 6: On our last full day of vacation we spent the morning at the pool before heading to Historic Jamestown. The museum was top notch and it was amazing to watch an active archaeological dig. There is so much to discover here! Did you know this was the first permanent English Settlement in the Americas and Pocahontas was married here? Take a tour and find out more!
You won’t be without opportunity to learn and explore.
After our visit we headed back to Colonial Williamsburg for dinner reservations at the 18th century inspired King of Arms Tavern. After dinner we enjoyed the ghost tour on site at Colonial Williamsburg.
Trip Tip: Colonial Williamsburg admission is not required for dining in Historic Area taverns. Reservations are recommended.
Day 7: We left after breakfast and drove straight home. This trip that I dubbed, ‘The Great American Pilgrimage,’ road trip to Washington DC and Williamsburg was memorable, educational, historical and fun!
What an honor!
Have you ever been to any of these sights? Let me know!
Want to explore a trip to Yellowstone, the Badlands, and Grand Tetons from St. Louis? Check out the trip here!