How to Balance NPS Stamps and Friendship

Ah, where to begin on my adventure to Washington D.C? Since we were headed there for a friend’s wedding, a big group of us decided to hit up our nation’s capital for a long 5-day weekend. I felt a little awkward “making” my friends embark on my quest for National Park stamps, but they were all for it! I was glad I’d been able to take charge of the schedule so I could make sure friend time and National Park time was fair. I mean, you can’t take a trip to the nation’s capital where there are almost forty stamps to collect – and not let me try for them, right?!

My flight got in late morning Thursday, so after arranging a drop off for our bags, we headed to the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. It wasn’t too far from our AirBnB, and had been recommended (besides being a National Park site I needed to snag). I was nervous that everyone would enjoy something that was mainly for me – but lucky for me, I have friends who are into history!

This home was where the Women’s National Party had started and conducted most of their meetings when they had met to discuss women’s suffrage. Seeing the same house in all the old pictures as the same as the one I was currently standing in was pretty great. Besides that, there are a ton of old banners still preserved from their marches as well as hand-drawn political cartoons displayed.

That was the only planned National Park site for the day (the other two on the itinerary were closed due to fire system upgrades). Having two stamps taken off my plate right off the bat, was actually kind of great. Since these two were impossible this trip, I knew I’d have to make it out to DC again the future. And because I knew I’d be back, my mission to finish the list in one long weekend became a lot less necessary.

If it happened I got the rest, great. If not, still great! This freedom allowed me to de-stress and enjoy more activities that weren’t NPS related.  So we had time after Women’s Monument to pass by the Capital building and walk over to the Library of Congress. At the Library, we saw some of Alexander Hamilton’s personal letters and also got a peak at some academics researching with the actual books in the Library.

Most of the rest of that first day was spent reconnecting our big group of old friends. Reconnecting with everyone basically means food and alcohol. And laughter, of course. We had lunch at Busboys & Poets, which had great food (every one of my friends there was a meat eater and still enjoyed the vegan nachos!) and even cooler paintings on the walls.

Later, after getting a bit of time with the groom, our friend Derek, we headed to Barcelona Wine Bar. This spot was chosen because it was Tracy’s birthday, but it was also one of the best hot spots in DC! The wait was long, but the wine was great and we were all just happy to be together -and on vacation! When we finally sat, the tapas were awesome and we began making our next plan.

A few of us had heard U Street was a cool spot with lots of bars, but it was pretty dead for a Thursday. Most bars were also showcasing the Stanley Cup finals, so it wasn’t quite ready for our ready-to-party group vibe. We headed back to the AirBnB to wait for a few more friends’ flights to get in and couldn’t believe it’d only been one day!

Stay tuned – there’s still a lot of DC adventures coming!

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