Skip to main content

Free and Frugal Things to Do in Washington DC

Sexy Nerd and I had the best time in Washington, DC last week. I love that the city is so walkable. One moment you're browsing gorgeous home items in Georgetown and the next you're inhaling the sweet scent of cherry blossoms at a Smithsonian museum. That's quite a walk, but doable, especially as my FitBit says I averaged 30,000 steps per day in DC. It's quite a bit higher than my average at home of 4,000. Though, that many steps would be around 15 miles, so...my FitBit may actually be broken.

Look at me wearing a sleeveless shirt in DC in February. This was a million times better than our last visit.

We didn't really even do much in DC, as Sexy Nerd was busy with work the majority of the time, but just being there was enough. One day, we will move there. Just you wait.

That last line should be sung, not read, obviously. Soaking up all the history in DC and Virginia wouldn't have been nearly as fun if I weren't a huge Hamilton fan. We went to Mount Vernon. Yes, the very same Mount Vernon as mentioned in the musical! Hee, hee.

Funny enough, we actually should be living in DC right now. Sexy Nerd's workplace would love to send him there for a few years and if they had offered sooner, we gladly would have accepted. But now we're smack dab in the middle of building a house! Get your timing together, Universe.
Knowing a move is off the table for at least another few years, we still enjoyed picking out imaginary houses to purchase. We're going to live by the water in Alexandria in a stately brick home, complete with a garage (hard to come by in the area) and cute shutters. After moving back to New Mexico, we'll use it as a rental.
I thought this yellow one by the Smithsonian National Zoo (which is free - this city is meant for me!) was just my type, so I trudged my tired legs up the street to get a closer look. Sadly, it's a bit dilapidated in person. I guess we won't be buying it after all. It didn't have a garage anyway.

Well, those reasons and the fact that we're in no position to buy the house right now...if it were even for sale.
Do you think these more modest neighbors hate that bright yellow house?
Look at this roof. It's covered in tiny metal eagles! I told Sexy Nerd to text this photo to our builder, along with the words STOP EVERYTHING - CHANGE TO EAGLE ROOF but he refused.

Can tiny metal eagles be added later? Are there other animals to choose from and do any of them look like Pica? She has a very regal look.

I've been into macro photography lately, much to Sexy Nerd's confusion. It drives him crazy when I get super close to a subject and take a photo that barely shows anything. If the above photo hadn't been zoomed in so tightly though and had instead shown the entire structure, you would never have paid attention to the beautiful wooden door and aged hardware. Doesn't it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

The "structure" is actually a tomb and there are dead bodies on the other side of this door. I hope you enjoyed your warm fuzzies while they lasted.

I'm pretty sure I've seen this exact same roof on a paint website, which is crazy because there's very little paint in the photo. Sherwin Williams?

And, of course, I'm still super into squirrel photos. They're not artistic or anything, but they do frustrate my husband just as much as macro photography. Maybe more.

The squirrel is posing, Sexy Nerd. He wants to have his photo taken. Also, his name is Nutters McGee.

Sexy Nerd took this one.

I had a great time at the Smithsonian National Zoo, excluding one weird incident. I was walking along, side by side with my new emu friend, when I stepped on a piece of gum on the pavement.

Only it wasn't a piece of gum.

It was the lower half (the only half) of a pink mouse, with a tail and two little splayed out legs and teensie tiny feet.

(Ack!)

While watching this elephant enjoy her pedicure, a man turned and sternly informed me that "you never turn your back to them," right before I decided not to stand next to him anymore.

This is my new favorite statue.

Awww! Sweet dreams, giant rat.

This fluffy fellow is a sand cat, which is the most adorable cat in existence. Even his scientific name is cute - felis margarita. I'd never seen one in person before, but have a suspicion zoos could get away with creating Sand Cat exhibits stocked with Persians.

I love this little fellow, but just wait until you see his name. He's no ordinary armadillo. He's...

...a Screaming Hairy Armadillo, AKA my new favorite animal.

For a (window) shopping enthusiast like myself, no trip to DC is complete without a visit to the Tyson's Corner mall in Virginia, which is just a quick metro ride away from the city. I knew it was enormous, but I'd forgotten just how enormous until I was circling its endless corridors. I could spend all day there. They even have a Ballard Designs store! I never knew my favorite decor catalog had physical, retail stores. There was an ottoman marked down from $650 to only $270, but I had no way to fit it inside my suitcase.

Sexy Nerd enjoyed our visit to the National Inventors Hall of Fame at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The woman there was so friendly (and possibly so bored) that she offered to give us a personal tour.

This was our favorite exhibit. Which of these two Ford Mustangs do you prefer?  


Did you know The Energizer Bunny is a rip-off of The Duracell Bunny? Duracell didn't think to trademark their mascot until it was too late.

"Why are you taking a photo of an old fence," you-know-who demanded. I continued to photograph every post and flower and rock until Sexy Nerd pointed me down the hill...

 
...to the sheep! Look at them, all wooly and bleating. They seemed to be put off by my wool jacket though.

Cows too! "We paid to come to Mount Vernon just to look at cows," asked Sexy Nerd? It was a rhetorical question because of course the cows only added extra value to the admission fee.

Ooh, which reminds me. When you go to Mount Vernon, be sure to purchase your tickets online to save an extra $2. We did this on Sexy Nerd's phone right outside the ticket line and it still worked.

Behold, a photo of Mount Vernon with absolutely NO TOURISTS, even on a Sunday. February is a great time to visit. Just be sure to avoid President's Day, when admission is free but they tend to break admissions records.

The Washingtons had quite the view.

George loooved symmetry. This was the greenhouse...but was also originally the home for slaves until George kicked them out so he could house plants here instead. WTF, George?

At Mount Vernon, tour groups consist of about 20 people and each group sees one part of the home at a time. When Sexy Nerd saw a tour group leaving the porch, he tried frantically to take this photo before the next group arrived. They were too quick for him though.

Although the final resting place of George and Martha Washington is well maintained, we were appalled to see vandalism on several of the bricks. Who would do such a thing?

Even if it's in retaliation for the slaves, George Washington eventually changed his stance to anti-slavery. Plus, Martha was the one who actually freed them and it's her tomb too.

Update: I've been Googling this and it seems the anti-slavery thing may have been embellished during our tour of Mount Vernon. Martha's actions and her words didn't quite align, as she continued to maintain ownership of humans and even thought it appropriate to give them away as a wedding present.

Really, if you would graffiti George Washington's tomb, please get the heck out of the United States right now. I'm feeling nice about this at the moment. When I first saw the bricks, my solution was that anyone caught vandalizing should have their hand chopped off. Sexy Nerd thought that was a bit extreme and favored locking the offending hand in a heavy, locked box for one month, at least for first-time offenders.

Next, we practiced our best "lock box" Al Gore impressions.

This dove weathervane would go perfectly with the little metal roof eagles that Sexy Nerd says we are absolutely not adding to our roof, not now and not ever.

And now for the grand finale of this post. It's pretty darn grand, if I do say so myself.

Behold, the first animated gif I've ever made in my life. Ta da!

Popular posts from this blog

Cake Mix Pancakes

This reader-favorite recipe is *almost* as popular as my Cake Mix Cookie Bars recipe .  When making Cake Mix pancakes , the scrumptious possibilities are endless. Red Velvet cake mix pancakes. Chocolate cake mix pancakes. Butter Pecan cake mix pancakes. Funfetti cake mix pancakes. (Yes, Funfetti cake mix pancakes!) With this 2-ingredient recipe, you can turn your favorite cake mix into your favorite pancakes. Pancake making at its finest. Cake Mix Pancakes Personally, I think my funny napkin is the icing on the (pan)cake. It's Sunday morning and you're planning to do all the things today - scrub those grody baseboards, polish your quartz countertop that was supposed to be low maintenance but actually isn't at all, sort through the disaster that is the freezer.  While on your superhuman kick, you think I'm going to make my family pancakes for breakfast. Not just any pancakes - the best pancakes ever. I may even serve them as breakfast in bed! You pu

Chemical Peel Before & After

This article has been updated! My new chemical peel post, which includes pricing, Jessner peel before and after photos, product recommendations, and a helpful timeline for scheduling your treatments, is at the bottom. My original Jessner peel post (one of the most popular on my site of all time) is at the beginning. Original Chemical Peel Article Considering a chemical peel? I recently underwent my first Jessner peel and thought I'd share my results, post a Jessner peel review, and answer some frequently asked chemical peel questions. (I'm guessing that "Does a chemical peel hurt?" is a biggie!) I'd been planning to order an over-the-counter peel when we were in Iceland , but my computer led me a different direction. I decided to do this on a whim after Groupon greeted me one morning with a great $40 chemical peel deal. Now, I can read your mind. You just gasped in horror and thought  You trusted your face to a  discount  chemical peel?!  You're wondering w

How to Move a Mattress

My site is popular for reviewing memory foam mattresses. With today's bed-in-a-box options lasting much longer than the traditional 7 years of a spring mattress, there's a good chance you'll eventually need to move one. But how? This is  how to move a mattress  without damaging it - even by yourself!  When we were faced with the challenge of moving our beloved Amerisleep AS3  to our new home, it seemed like my readers would enjoy the details. This handy tip should work for any memory foam bed, including Casper, Leesa, and Nectar.  I'm happy to report there is an extremely simple way to do it. Apartment and dorm dwellers rejoice! How to Move a Mattress At first, I wasn't sure how to move our king-size mattress down a flight of stairs. It's a problem we've dreaded solving ever since we made the decision to build a new house.  The answer? It was right in the back of our truck.  Ratchet straps . This solution could also serve as a 'How To' for returning

Hello Fresh Complaints

Hello, my bloggy friends. I have a HelloFresh complaint and believe they are pulling a scam. Yours truly came *this close* to falling for it.  Maybe scam is too harsh of a word. Sneaky? You can decide for yourself. The fact that there are so many Hello Fresh complaints online does seem suspicious. My main complaint about Hello Fresh has to do with their promotional rate, which seems like it is set up to be intentionally misleading (more on this below). Despite so many people complaining about being charged more than they thought they'd agreed to, Hello Fresh maintains this as part of their business model and continues to mislead. So it's intentional, right? I do not recommend Hello Fresh. For starters, the service is just ingredients-by-mail with recipes, not meals. You can buy your own ingredients for much less, especially now that most grocery stores conveniently offer pickup and delivery. Excellent recipes are easy to find.  Click here for a list of top-rated, reader-favorit

Window Seat Idea - Dream Home Inspiration of the Day

See it? Waaay at the back of the photo?  I like how the window seat extends past the window all the way to the wall. How about you? If that's not your style, how about one of these lovely window seats? I'll seat you, my pretty, and your little dog too. How perfect would this be in a home office? I'd swap out that wimpy rug with a larger one.

3 Minute Toaster/Convection Oven Smores

These are perfect when you're craving a quick, sugary treat. They work equally well in a toaster oven and a convection oven. Best of all, compared to eating an entire bag of Oreos (something I have never  done), they're quite healthy. What's that, you say? You already know how to make s'mores in the toaster oven? Well then, sit back and enjoy the ooey-gooey marshmallowy photos. (And if you're someone who works with me, please keep the "I've seen her polish off an entire bag of Oreo cookies" nonsense to yourself.)  Step 1: Put desired amount of graham crackers on a toaster oven/convection oven-safe pan.   Looks like it's time to clean this pan, Sexy Nerd Optional 1st step, which is Sexy Nerd's favorite: Spread peanut butter on each graham cracker (I'm not much of a peanut butter fan - WHAT?!? - so I skip this step.) Cover with yummy marshmallows. Top with chocolate chips. Place in the toaster o

10 Canned Cinnamon Roll Hacks

You're in for a treat. Today I'm sharing my best canned cinnamon roll hacks and improvements for turning store-bought cinnamon rolls, like the Pillsbury Grands ones or even the store brand, into something special.  Dry cinnamon rolls? No thank you. They need to be OOEY and GOOEY. That's just Cinnamon Roll 101. All of these ideas keep Pillsbury canned cinnamon rolls soft, company-worthy, and delicious. These are also great for taking homemade cinnamon rolls up a notch, but what a pain that is. With these better-than-homemade canned cinnamon roll hacks, you'll never bother to bake them from scratch again. Test out some of these ideas tomorrow. Won't it be nice to dig into a mouthwatering cinnamon roll for breakfast? You can't get a better start to your day than that. Canned Cinnamon Roll Hacks Actually, make that 11 easy ways to improve store-bought cinnamon rolls: you can top them with homemade coffee whipped cream . Yum! Nope, make that 12 canned cinnam

Dental Memes

As the manager of two successful dental offices, my favorite memes are ones I can share with my dentistry dream team.  Happy Team = Living the Dream! You don't have to work in dentistry to enjoy these. After all, everyone is a dental patient. You have visited the dentist within at least the year...right? (No guilt if you haven't! I've scheduled patients who haven't seen a dentist since the 1970s. Dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dental administrators have seen it all. We love this field because we love helping our patients. It's never too late to get back on track!) Funny Memes for Dentists Reminder: National Dentist's Appreciation Day is March 6th! Funny Memes for Dental Hygienists Reminder: National Dental Hygienist Appreciation Week is always the 2nd week of April! Funny Memes for Dental Assistants Reminder: National Dental Assistant Appreciation Week is always the 2nd week of March! Funny Memes for Dental Office Administrators Reminder: Ad

Baby Taped to Wall (But Why?!)

I could totally see Sexy Nerd doing this if we had a baby. Honestly though, I would probably be cheering him on. Also, I've read online that some folks are outraged by this photo, thinking the baby is being abused. To me though, the baby looks well supported, as if it is in a bouncy chair, and none of the duct tape is touching bare skin. I honestly think this was just intended to be a funny photo. It's not like the parents taped their baby to the wall so they could go out drinking and partying in a cocaine-fueled hysteria. I doubt anyone on cocaine could even achieve this. This photo is from 2010, maybe earlier. Wouldn't it be great to interview this older child one day? It's time to get on that, People Magazine. The internet wants to know what happened to the duct tape baby! Baby Taped to Wall Poor ducky. Enjoy this post? Please be sure to check out my  Amerisleep Mattress Reviews  page as well, which is my most popular blog post of all time.

Anonymous Flower Delivery

Anonymous Flower Delivery Sexy Nerd and I came home from a day of running errands on Saturday to discover an odd message on my phone. It was a girl from a flower shop calling to confirm my address for a delivery.  I called and said there must be a mistake, as I wasn't expecting any flowers, to which she pointed out that people don't usually expect flowers. Oh, of course.  As nice as it would be to have someone send me flowers, it seemed unlikely. Sure enough, she was unable to find any orders for me when I gave my name. She did have a Danielle though, and asked if there might be a different last name. I told her my maiden name. There really were flowers waiting for me!  She confirmed the delivery address - the rental house Sexy Nerd and I lived in 3 years ago. I updated my address and ended the call, anxiously waiting to see who would send me flowers. Who sent me flowers from FTD? My mysterious stalker has beautiful taste! Strange? I had no idea how str