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Topic: Anyone been to Washington, D. C. lately?

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Date Posted: 11/21/2007 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
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Last Edited on: 1/21/09 2:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/22/2007 6:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
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I would contact the local office of your Senator and Representative and see what they can do for you. They should know where to eat without breaking the budget.

It's been a while since we went, so I can't remember where we ate.

 

Date Posted: 11/22/2007 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2007
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The last time I was there was about three years ago. As far as McDonald's, with them being a franchise it is hard to say.  I did have luck two years ago getitng coupons from our local McDonald's owner that we were able to use in Mississippi when we did Hurricane Katrina relief.

I would think about who is in your homeschool group, or who in your community really supports the homeschooling efforts. They may have contacts in the D.C. area. The suggestion to contact a senator or congressman is a good one too. Another would be to see if a church that someone attends from your group may have a sister church in the D.C. area.

Not sure where your hotel is or what you're traveling in, but I saw a lot of tourists who had minivans or larger taking coolers. You could buy lunchmeat and stuff like that afrom a local grocery store nd return to the van to make sandwiches. The weather should be nice then so you could make a picnic of it.

 

Date Posted: 11/23/2007 5:28 AM ET
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Last Edited on: 10/31/08 5:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/23/2007 10:30 AM ET
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I'm not sure I would just turn them loose.  It would depend on how well I knew these kids. Some I know I would trust implicitly, others I wouldn't let out of my sight. Maybe let them divide into smaller groups with a responsible adult that they stay with and meet up with the larger group.

We ate food from sidewalk vendors in NYC and had no problems at all. Usually, these are regulated by the city  or state health department. Does the hotel have a concierge that can give you some tips on where to eat?

I know that there is a food court at Union Station. Here is the website http://www.unionstationdc.com/ The Station is a beautiful structure and it looks like there is all levels of costs for eating establishments. Dinner will be more expensive than lunch, so if you are going to eat nicer, do it at lunch and have MacDonald's for dinner to save $. We ate at Uno's there and it was good.

Try http://www.culturaltourismdc.org/dch_tourism2608/dch_tourism_show.htm?doc_id=217001

and if all else fails, contact the chamber of commerce, explain your problem and see what they can suggest http://dcchamber.org

 

 

Date Posted: 11/23/2007 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2007
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There are outside food vendors, but to be honest, I didn't see a lot of them. Maybe this was because prices are so high and I started avoiding them altogether so I didn't notice them after a few days. I know we ate at one on the Mall but the prices were really high and there were hardly any seats in that area. The thing I do vividly remember are that there are TONS of people selling popscicles and bottles of water for outrageous amounts because of the heat. Granted, I'm think of a time I was there in July, but they were selling a regular bottle of water that would go for $1 at a store for $3 because people were extremely hot and had little alternatives.

Personally, I woulnd't turn them loose. You said you have parents going with you. I'd divide the kids up based on the number of adults you have. The kids may not like being in a group with a chaperone, however, they are in a very large city where there are people who prey on tourists. Not that it is hugely dangerous or anthing, I never felt unsafe there. But, I know when I had our groupf of 19 teens and 9 adults down in Mississippi they did things that were naive....count money in public...things like that. They made themselves easy targets without realizing it just because they are real experienced in traveling.

The biggest problem we had, to be honest, were with the adults. Some did not like the "group" thinking and did their own thing with their kids. It made it difficult. You have to take a headcount OFTEN. Washington, D.C. is not a place that you want to lose a kid. If you have 10 kids in a group, and one goes missing then you have a chaperone stuck in a situation of trying to figure out what to do. Not a fun spot to be in.

Another suggestion that I would make is to try and figure something out as far as cell phones with the adults. Personally, I would make sure each adult has a sheet of paper with the cell phone number of every other adult on the trip wth them. Just in case. And, if you don't have a national plan some companies will let you bump up to one for a month so you won't have outrageous roaming charges. 

The D.C. are has a great transportation system. I believe they have visitor's passes for particular numbers of days that are very reasonably priced. There are many things to do along the Mall, but it is a big area. The one day we just walked the mall, didn't' do many museums that day, and I walked more than 20,000 steps. Many people aren't used to doing that type of pace these days. And, the zoo is not very close to downtown. There is an African-American musuem and a second portion of the Air & Space museum that are nowhere near downtown.

There are many sites online. I would map the trip out as far as things the group wants to see in advance and try to stick to it as much as possible, within reason. There will always be something you see when you're there and someone, maybe everyone, will want to deviate from the plan, but it isn't as easy changing plans with 40 people as it is a family of say 4 people. Talk about these things prior to leaving so everyone will know what is expected.

Rhonda

Date Posted: 11/23/2007 10:07 PM ET
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Last Edited on: 10/31/08 5:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/23/2007 10:25 PM ET
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Last Edited on: 10/31/08 5:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/24/2007 12:07 PM ET
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Marla,

Don't fret about planning the trip yourself versus using a tour group to do it. There are pros and cons to each. I would think you'd have a lot more flexibility by planning it on your own. That's a big plus! But, before you starting getting excited over that extra $2,000 per person keep in mind food in D.C. is going to be expensive. Especially if you're getting it from vendors. You pay DEARLY for the convenience they offer.

I'll go looking for the websites I used when I was going to D.C. on a regular basis. I'll post those here for you.

Are there any particular things you know you/the group wants to do for sure? I do recall the Smithsonian website will help you figure out what traveling exhibits will be there when you go. They list those out pretty far in advance. This will provide your group with an opportunity to do some unit type studies about a particular subject prior to the trip if anyone is interested.  

Rhonda

Date Posted: 11/24/2007 2:27 PM ET
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Last Edited on: 10/31/08 5:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/24/2007 9:23 PM ET
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Marla,

Here are a couple of websites I would start with if I were in your shoes.

http://www.washington.org/index.cfm?blnNavView=True&idContentType=36&idCurrentPage=7 - This is a visitor site. It has suggested iteniraries and lots of useful information.

http://www.si.edu/ - The Smithsonian Institute site. You can go to the various museums through this site.

What is your deadline for registration? I would suggest taking a count after the registrations are in on what age range in predominant and go from there.

The food prices is going to be a real issue. I'll do some more thinking. I would suggest you do some searching on the Internet for homeschool contacts in the D.C. area. I'm sure an area resident can help with ideas for eating on the cheap.

Also, I have to say I was amazed at how much I personally got out of traveling with those 19 high schoolers last year. Granted, not all of it was a piece of cake with them....the are teenagers. But it was quite rewarding in the end.

Rhonda

Date Posted: 11/27/2007 7:57 AM ET
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Last Edited on: 1/21/09 2:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/27/2007 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2006
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I have lived in the DC area 3 times with children.  I'll try to brainstorm some things for you, but I have an idea on the "teenager management issue."  Teens roaming around without a goal is trouble.  Teens with a goal or teens in competition are brilliant.  Consider giving them specific assignments to complete in the museums. Most exhibits will allow digital cameras.  Photo Safari, anyone.

Adrianne