Baltimore/Washington A Nearly Perfect Weekend
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I wanted to do a mini trip report about my weekend in Baltimore/Washington. Mainly because I had ...
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I wanted to do a mini trip report about my weekend in Baltimore/Washington. Mainly because I had such a wonderful time I can’t stop thinking about it and I just want to share.
Who: Me - Holly, Mommy Evan - son, 5 Janet - Mom, Grandmom Megan - Niece, 10 Beth - Best Friend, Aunt Bethie Jill - Sister, Aunt Aaron - Nephew 12 Eric - Nephew 6 Home – South Jersey Marlton and Medford Where – BaltimoreMD, Frederick MD, Odenton MD, Andrews Air Force Base
My son Evan has been bugging me for a year or so to go see the Blue Angels. Last year, May 2011, we went to an Air show in MillvilleNJ. The Blue Angels were supposed to perform but they “got grounded” about a week before the show. I was so disappointed. We still went to the show and had a nice time but I just knew I was going to have to find another opportunity to see them.
Around February of this year I started looking around to see what was happening. Andrews Air Force Base just outside of WashingtonDC was going to have a show with the Blue Angels and Fort Dix/McGuire/Lakehurst, just up the road from us, was also having a show but it would include the Thunderbirds.
After a long discussion with my sister about did we want to see the BA or the TB and checking all our baseball schedules we decided on the Andrew’s show and the Blue Angels. Turns out, just by dumb luck, that Evan did not have any baseball this week, the township was doing some fund raiser so there were no games. I decided to make a weekend of it all.
I have a friend who lives between Baltimore and WashingtonDC. Last year we did the National Aquarium and a little of the InnerHarbor and spent the night at her house. Again Evan had been bugging to go back to Aunt Bethie’s house. I called Beth and she was available for another sleep over. I love it when a plan comes together. I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to take Evan to a fort this year at some point over the summer as well. Hey- Baltimore has a fort!!!
The plot thickens…
So in a relatively short period of time I had all the details worked out.
Leaving on Saturday May 19
We’d drive the 2 hours south to Baltimore
Get some lunch afterward
Head out to Fredrick Maryland about 45 minutes outside of Baltimore to go see a miniature train display that Evan has again been aching to see (thanks to Aunt Sue giving him a brochure of it about 6 months ago)
After the train place we’d drive back to Aunt Bethie’s to spend the night
My sister Jill and her kids would come up by dinner time as well
Sunday May 20th we’d leave Beth’s and drive about 30 minutes to get to Andrew’s Air Force Base for the air show
The BA(Blue Angels) we scheduled to perform late in the show and we’d have a 3 hour ride home so it would be a long day and night on Sunday. But we were all looking forward to it.
OK making a disclaimer now please forgive me if I type Blue Angles as that won’t show up on spell check as being wrong – you all know I mean Angels!!!
Coming up next: Will all my plans go down the drain at the last minute?
Sounds like the weekend was meant to be since all the plans kinda fell together like that. I love when that happens. Last few times I was in Disney during football season, the Texans were on bye week so I didn't have to miss any games. Didn't plan it that way, just ended up happening that way. So cool!
Will all my plans go down the drain at the last minute?
I had planned this weekend away in the back of my mind for quite a while but really nothing firm until just a few weeks before the actual weekend. We had everything all arranged and then the Thursday before we left I got some bad news.
The Preakness was going to be run the day we were traveling into Baltimore and I was told that the roads around it would be a parking lot, not at all what I wanted to hear.
I began to re-think everything, should we leave early, go down on Friday night? Skip the fort altogether? I started to do some research and found that Pimlico is on the opposite side of Baltimore than the InnerHarbor. And all the roads from WashingtonDC had advisories on them. We were coming from the north. So after some clamoring around we decided to leave 1 hour earlier so if we got stuck in traffic hopefully it won’t put us too far behind. We were now scheduled to leave at 7:00am on Saturday. Only time will tell if we get hit with traffic.
Mom calls me at 6:20, she is at my sister’s to pick up Megan and they are not even awake yet – oh no! – not looking good. Amazingly they get up and ready and mom picks me up at 6:50 only 5 minutes behind schedule. We head over and pick up Beth, who had come up a few days before and was visiting her in-laws and we were on the road by 7:03am. Not too shabby.
We hit absolutely no traffic what-so-ever on the way down. The kids are really well behaved too. I was sitting between them which I think helped and Evan was chatting away. You could tell he was excited. We had one potty break on the way down thanks to my “tiny bladder boy” and we pulled through the gates of FortMcHenry and into the parking lot at 9:05 – again right on time.
The sky was bright blue and the morning chill was burning off quickly.
Mom has some sort of NationalParkPass and that got all the adults in for free and the children were free anyway – score! A quick restroom break and we went in to watch the film about the battle. We missed some of it but figured we’d catch it all again as we left the fort.
Evan was sitting on my lap and I was on the floor and I was trying to explain to him what had happened. He was so cute. He asked if the battle had happened last night. I know he doesn’t understand fully but I told him it happened 200 years ago.
Now earlier in the week I was telling Evan about the fort and its significant and about The Star Spangled Banner. He had heard it before but doesn’t fully “get it” just yet. The only version of it that I have at home is the Whitney Houston version so we had listened to that a few times during the week. Of course that made me sad to think about her too. She was at her peak when she recorded that – what a tragedy – so sad.
So back to the film, we are watching the film and of course at the end of it they plan The Star Spangled Banner. I make Evan stand up and I stand up and few others but there must have been 50 kids (12-13-14yrs old) just sitting there. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. My mom said – “I can’t believe no one is standing up”. Now I don’t know if the chaperone heard this of he just figured it out on his own but he told them all to stand up, and they did.
We later found out this was an 8th grade class trip and they had gone to Gettysburg the day before and were doing the Inner Harbor and Medieval Times later that day. But this won’t be the last time they were being disrespectful. And these were American children – not foreigners who might not know proper American flag etiquette.
After the film I’m all welled up with emotion (anything patriotic does it too me) and I look at my mom and she has been crying too. “Are we cut from the same mold or what?” So after the film the park ranger tells us that they will be having a flag “exchange” at 9:30 so we could watch that. They were taking down the night time flag and raising the day flag. If was about 9:25 so we high-tailed it over to the fort to watch the ceremony.
I was expecting something like the flag retreat at the MagicKingdom but what we got was so much more – really awesome.
I think I should have titled this report – “just by dumb luck” because so many things happened during this trip that purely was dumb luck. The Flag retreat/raising was just one of them. I had no idea they did it and we just happen to be there at 9:30. You know right place at the right time.
Coming up next: The flag raising and a history lesson… How many states were there during the war of 1812? Answer in next post – no cheating - take a guess?
What a great day this is turning out to be-- and it's not even 10am yet!
Trivia question: I believe Louisiana became a state before war was declared, so 18 states for the duration of the 3+ year war. (I need to brush up on my US history-- it's been a long time since I learned things like this!)
I didn't even realize that the Blue Angels were going to be at Andrew's. I am used to getting to see them down the road at Pax River Naval Base. When they do the Air show down here (a little over an hour from Andrews) their flight path for practicing goes right over my DM's house! And they fly really low. Loved seeing that when I was younger, post Top Gun movie days!!!! I actually got to meet one as they would have them come in and visit at some of the local High Schools.
It's going to be very interesting hearing a "tourists" perspective of Baltimore's sites. See, I don't understand how Baltimore and "wonderful" go hand-in-hand, but that's only because I've lived in MD all my life, and have been commuting to this horrid city for over 4 years now. So far it sounds like you're having a great time at the Fort.