Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What to Do with Visiting Parents

Mombo [our affectionate name for our mother]: So, I was thinking that we should invite Billy and his wife to dinner when we come to visit. 

Me:'re coming to visit?  When?

Mombo: On our way up to Maine in a few weeks. [My brother lives in Portland, Appealing Kate's hometown.]

Me: You're going to Maine? So, if you're coming through D.C., I assume you will be driving? (My parents still live in FL and are taking several weeks to drive the greater part of the Eastern Seaboard for the third time in less than one year -- because that's apparently what you do when you are retired ... and bored.) 

Me: Wait a second ... why wasn't I invited? 


One of the perks/drawbacks of downsizing to my current Georgetown apartment is that I no longer have a spare bedroom for guests. Meaning, my parents won't be crashing with me. 

I'm not entirely off the hook, though. I still have to come up with a suggested itinerary for their stay here, complete with dining options (got it covered already) and daytime activities to keep them out of trouble while I'm at work and out of my apartment if I take time off.  

As I've mentioned before, my parents used to live here and have several friends and favorite haunts in the area. This comes in really handy (as in, they don't need directions) but is also extra-challenging (a la "Thirsty Ivy, take us somewhere new!")

I've started the planning process by doing what any of y'all would do in this situation ... I consulted the Doing the District archives! 

There are a handful of fresh options in Capital Katie's Where to Take Your Mother When She Visits. The Hillwood Estate, for example, is definitely on the menu now. 

My folks will have their car (read: I will be using it to stock up on lots of heavy things!), but they prefer not to drive much when they're in the city ... so I'm trying to come up with some more great options that we can either walk to or that is a quick cab/bus/metro ride away. These are my thoughts so far for not-so-obvious outings in the district ... 

What would you add?

1. The Old Stone House -- that cute little building that looks out of place on M Street in Georgetown and is one of the oldest buildings still standing in the city. Yes, it's within blocks of me. Yes, my brother spent several years at Georgetown University. No, no one in our family has ever visited. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

2. The Citi Open (formerly known as the Legg Mason Tennis Classic), which is part of the U.S. Open series and is held in Rock Creek Park.  Because of the Olympics, the draw will be thinner than years past but some of my favorites are still on the list for now: Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, and James Blake. My parents played (somewhat) competitively for most of their lives and remain BIG FANS, so this is sure to be a win with them ... even if they're only around for the opening matches.

3. The Corcoran Gallery of Art -- because it might be their last shot to visit in its current location (which still seems confusingly up-in-the-air). I don't know yet what days the Senior Thirsty clan will be here, but I'm hoping they'll be around for at least one Saturday (FREE Saturdays until Sept. 1). Plus, the Gallery is running a beach photography exhibition that I think my parents would enjoy. Plus, I'd enjoy an excuse to browse around the gift shop and find a birthday present for my hard-to-shop-for sister-in-law.

4. The Kreeger Museum -- an art museum on Foxhall Road (up the street from Jettie's - yum!). Truth be told, this one made the list largely because I have a Google Offer that's expiring soon, and I've still never been. The museum closes to the public August 1 - September 10, so keep that in mind before you hike over there. I understand that the sculpture garden is quite impressive, as are the permanent collections from Africa and Asia. My parents aren't particularly artsy, but I have a feeling they'll dig the architecture, and hopefully they'll appreciate it as a new adventure!

5. The National Air and Space Museum - Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center -- aka the annex out by Dulles (breaking the no-car rule, obviously) and the new home of the space shuttle Discovery. (Remember how exciting Shuttle Tuesday was?!) Though I didn't grow up particularly close to Cape Canaveral, we could see night-time shuttle launches by walking outside and looking up. When/if a shuttle was able to land in FL, we were woken up with a loud boom as it reentered. Now the folks can take an up-close look at what was once their alarm clock!

That should be enough to keep the parents occupied during their two D.C. visits. Yes, two.  Remember, they're driving so they'll have to come back through here to get home from Maine.  And, yes, I am invited. 

So... what's on your must-hit list for non-first-time visitors?

Here's hoping your hosting skills make you the favorite child in your family too!  Please don't tell my brother I said that...


  1. I love these new places...I'll have to check them out! For my adds, The Lawyer and I are going to take his mom to the Catholic University Basilica. It's really gorgeous inside, with a lot of history and interesting details. Especially for the religiously inclined parents, it's a great place to go. (Pictures from a recent visit here: Another nice spot is Meridian Hill Park, north of U Street on 16th. The Lawyer lives in that area, and when the fountains are turned on in spring/summer, it's positively delightful (and you can see the Washington Monument from, winning!). It's nice for a pre-dinner walk, or possibly to picnic when it's not oppressively hot.

  2. Fabulous additions! Thank you! I was actually a doctoral student at CUA for a while, so the folks are pretty familiar with that corner of town.

    If others aren't, there's lots to see in the Brookland area. If you haven't been to the Franciscan Monastery yet, the grotto is a must-see!

    Meridian Hill Park is one of my favorite spots in the city, but I bet I've never taken my parents. Thanks for the reminder!