The fourth day of our trip came around incredibly quickly; we’d spent a solid weekend in DC, and had a lot of fun, but we were ready to pick up the car to hit the road.
At 8am sharp we left the hotel, which wasn’t the easiest seeing as we were still marginally jet lagged and recovering from two days of intense sightseeing! Plus we’re not one’s to give ourselves an early night! For example, on Saturday Night (Day two), we went to a bar a stone’s throw away from our hotel, called ‘Tune Inn’ (http://www.dinersdriveinsdiveslocations.com/tune-inn-restaurant-bar-dc.html) which is kind of a dive (it featured on diners, drive ins and dives so that’s not that harsh a comment!), but they did amazing burgers (including turkey) and big ol pitchers of beer so we were quite content. Then on Sunday Night (Day three) we went back to the area we had been in the afternoon before, where we got some more beer from Gordon Biersch (http://www.gordonbiersch.com/) and some solid American pub grub.
Nonetheless we made it out of our hotel, which was lovely by the way; I didn’t write it up in any of the posts while I was out there, but it was called the Capitol Hill Hotel and was in a really good location – close to the metro (which is very easy to use by the way; just get a metro card, which costs a few bucks, and then you can add money on to it with the machines as you need it, just like an Oyster card. Alternatively I still have mine if anyone wants it!) and it didn’t break the bank.
We had a room with two double beds in it, a small kitchen with a large microwave, a dining table, an ensuite with a tiny bath, and a random walk in wardrobe/dressing area. Plus, we got free breakfast that we revelled in every morning. I still miss that breakfast ngl.
I think if I went back I would stay in George Town just because it’s meant to be quite hip and now I know my way around a bit better, and that it’s super easy to get the metro, central locations aren’t the end of the world. Though saying that the hotel really is in a good spot not just for getting to museums and monuments, but also food places and the station. Perfect for your first visit there anyway.
The station was about a 20 minute walk away, which doesn’t feel that long by foot unless you work in the hotel, where they suggested we got the metro anywhere further than a five minute radius. When we said we were walking to the main station they looked at us like we were mad men. To be fair though, we did have all of our luggage, so it was a bit of a trek.
We managed it though, and successfully picked up the keys to our car. This bit is always one of the most exciting bits, for sure, as for a long time we’d been discussing which kind of car to get. For the same price as a fancy ass saloon car we could get a 4×4… We went with a 4×4 in the end seeing as the last time we were all together in a rental car, it was a tiny Suzuki Swift in Norway, and spacious was not in our vocabulary, and it seemed like we needed to treat ourselves. Also we were going to be driving around national parks, on long drives and the weather was quite unpredictable around the time, so we wanted to make sure our car was up for the job.
Turns out we had nothing to worry about, as we got an absolute beast. We named her Big Bertha, and she was a Nissan Pathfinder. We only asked for a medium SUV, but we were randomly given a free upgrade. Boy I am so glad we were; aside from a few issues we encountered further along the line, it had a ton of space and was really high up, which made it incredibly easy to drive. Also a car that big meant we really felt like we fitted in on American roads.
The first stop on our journey was one of the best roadside attractions I have ever encountered: DINOSAUR LAND. It costs like 2 dollars to get in, and was more than worth it. I mean, it’s one of the tackiest things ever, and no you definitely are not allowed to ride the dinosaurs, but it’s a park filled with giant dinosaurs so I don’t think I need to say more.
We were only there for about an hour including our wind down time in the gift shop, but it’s a good stop off on the way, especially if it’s empty like it was for us.
Once we were done we made the two minute journey up to Walmart and revelled in the American-ness that is the giant supermarket. Then once we’d bought ‘essentials’, comprising of beer, sugar cookies, sweets, a thousand cereal bars (slight exaggeration maybe) and milk, we were on our merry way to Shenandoah National Park.
The journey didn’t take too long, and soon we were cruising along skyline drive, where we checked into our little cabin room in Skyland, which is a resort run by the national park and one of three there, before heading out on our first hike of the trip.
I will write all about that on tomorrow’s post though, as I can only assume you are all currently overwhelmed by the idea of Dinosaur Land, and disappointed that you cannot be there yourself right now, so probably can’t take any more for one day. At least, I know that’s how I feel.
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!
P.S. On the way, our series of quizzes began – you can watch the first one, a ‘Bear Quiz’ below: