Robert, his mom, Audrey, Rachel and I have been on the East Coast this past week for Rachel's spring break. We originally set out for Boston to stay with some of Robert's family while we looked at a couple colleges that Rachel's interested in. But just hours into our trip Robert's family warned us to stay away because a nor'easter was expected. So we skipped Boston and went straight to Baltimore/D.C. for our vacation. Thankfully we were still able to see two of the four schools Rachel wanted to look at, and the upside of the winter storm was that we had extra time to hang out with Robert's sister, Jennifer.
We visited so many awesome/inspiring/magical/fun places, I was scrambling to write everything down so we wouldn't forget anything. I will spare you our exact itinerary and give you the highlights with pictures instead.
Because of the impending snow storm we went to Great Falls first and did the Billy Goat section A hike. It's paradise.
Look how the green is sweeping through the dead grass like wildfire.
Robert and his silly hat did some silly dance hiking.
Robert snapped this shot of Rachel and I coming down the giant hill.
We strolled through the zoo, where the only life to be found included a couple of sleeping pandas and a bit of spring splendor. Sparse for a zoo, yes, but perfect.
I held a very friendly hissing cockroach at the National Museum of Natural History.
We took a handful of jumping pictures. Robert and I started a tradition many years ago of jumping in front of "Welcome to such and such state" signs. We probably did a dozen or so over the years. Now, we're starting over with Rachel. And our very first one was a total success.
I also found a stack of exciting poetry books, mostly at Second Story Books, which always has incredibly unfriendly staff each time I've been there, but because it's packed with gobs of poetry it's worth it.
We ate lots of seafood, including a wonderful evening spent at L.P. Steamers with Jennifer and her beau, Evan.
And speaking of food, we ate so many wonderful things, starting in Indianapolis with the feta and greek salads at Santorini Greek Kitchen. The margarita at Fish Taco was just as amazing as I remembered, even after a chilly hike at Great Falls.
In D.C. we ate some wonderful salads at Chopt, Thai rolled ice cream at Icy Code (because strolling through D.C. in blustery 30 degree weather wasn't cold enough for us), and visited Dangerously Delicious Pies for that unbeatable chocolate pecan pie.
In Baltimore we tried Isabella's pizza and ate some bibimbap at Brown Rice that was set up chipotle-style where you pick which rice, meat, and veggies you like. Both were fantastic.
While we were in Philadelphia touring a college, Robert received a very special phone call informing him that he won the Elmer "Carp" Carpenter award, which is awarded to an individual who has been a leader in the area of athletics and/or education in Kansas. In addition to his technology business, Robert is currently involved with a handful of school districts in our area, working on their timing/scoreboard/electronics systems. But he does so much more than that. While he waits for electronics to misbehave, as they like to do, he fills in wherever is needed, everything from managing to keeping score to mopping up sweat. He's been working for multiple school districts for over ten years with tireless dedication, and I'm so proud of him. He most certainly deserves this award.
After the phone call we were all pretty fired up, but Robert needed to put his vacation on hold to work for a couple hours. While he worked, Rachel and I explored South Street, which was wildly interesting, but not a street I would recommend for anyone with small children. It's mostly one humorously-named sex shop after another. In the midst of all the sex shops we saw The Sweet Life, and understandably, we were very uncertain about going in, but it smelled too delicious not to.
Turns out they sell baked goods shaped like ordinary baked goods. We got a mini cupcake sampler to celebrate Robert's award and surprised him with it. And the cupcakes were amazing. We definitely don't have plans to go back to South Street or Philadelphia for that matter, but for anyone else who needs to go there, you must try the cupcakes at The Sweet Life.
Possibly the best thing we ate was Yucatán chicken, which is a Peruvian rotisserie chicken, at Taco-Ma in Takoma, DC. As much as I love rotisserie chicken, it's going to be tough to eat a normal one after eating one with such unique and tasty seasonings.
As with previous D.C. trips (2015 & 2016), there was so much good food. And it was such a fun, relaxing and marvelous trip. Hopefully next time we go to Boston there won't be a surprise nor'easter, but if there is, we'll make the best of it. I've been to D.C. and Baltimore three times now and I still have a very long list of places to visit and revisit. We always have an awesome time.