Maryland/Virginia 2023

Washington, D.C.

Day 6

Today was our final full day staying with the Pinkertons. Since we didn’t get to go into Washington, D.C. on Day 4 of our travels, Faith and I decided we would venture into the capital for a day to see a few sites. The rest of the kids had a school-related event, so it was good timing for us to take a day trip. I hadn’t been to DC since I went with some friends back in 2017.

Pancake Breakfast // DC Commute

We woke up fairly early and ate pancakes for breakfast, hopped in the car, and immediately began the drive to DC. It took us about an hour and a half to navigate the Baltimore tunnels and DC beltway, but we finally made it to the city. We parked in an underground deck near the NASA headquarters on the south side of the National Mall, emerged above ground, and began walking without a real destination in mind.

We tried to find some coffee, a snack, and a restroom, but couldn’t find a good cafe anywhere nearby. We noticed on the map that the Museum of the Bible had a couple restaurants inside, so we decided to walk a couple blocks to try our luck there.

Museum of the Bible

We actually didn’t know much about the museum before we happened upon it, but after reading about it, we decided we’d pay the entrance fee and take the rest of the morning to tour it. Entering just after the museum opened, we headed upstairs to the Milk + Honey Café, grabbed a blueberry muffin to split, and then began our tour.

First, we walked through the visiting/temporary exhibit on the lower level (something about the Bible and astronomy), and weren’t particularly impressed. However, as we ventured on to the main exhibits, we were amazed by the both the quality and quantity of exhibits. Because we didn’t have all day, we had to skim over some of the galleries, but we both wished we’d had more time to browse. There were particularly interesting displays on Bible printing and manufacturing, and on the life of Elisabeth Elliot.

Continuing upstairs, we walked through the “New Testament Experience”, which recreates many of the places Jesus visited during his ministry, some in 1:1 scale. There were replicas of wine presses, synagogues, and much more.

Due to time constraints, we had to skip the Old Testament experience, as it took 30 minutes to walk through, and only started every 45 minutes or so. We started watching a 4D movie that they were showing, but it was a little loud for the baby, so we slipped out the back and moved on. We proceeded to a large exhibit hall focused on different versions of the Bible throughout time, including significant translations, versions, preservation efforts, etc.

On the way out of the translation galleries, there was an oval-shaped room documenting the translation progress of the Old and New Testaments into all known languages.

On the upper floors, there were two more visiting exhibits. One showed all the churches that bear the name “Haggia Sophia”, like the famous Turkish cathedral-now-turned-mosque. This was fascinating; apparently there are hundreds of them all around the world, all with different architecture and unique backgrounds. The other exhibit displayed a large selection of artifacts from the Holy Land. Each exhibit spanned a couple thousand square feet.

We ended our visit with a short walk through their rooftop garden (akin to one in Jerusalem), visited the museum gift shop, and then exited back onto 4th Street.

Rice Bar

From the museum, we walked north past L’Enfant Plaza to the Capital Gallery Shopping Mall, in the same building that houses the Smithsonian’s headquarters. We ate lunch at Rice Bar, a Korean build-your-own bowl counter chain that is very popular in the DC area. Faith and I both got bowls with shaved Korean beef, Korean BBQ sauce, broccoli, carrots, and crispy onions. One bowl had brown rice, and the other had black rice, something neither of us had ever tried (or even heard of!) before. The black rice was more purple than black, but it was incredibly delicious, and definitely our favorite of the two. Here’s an article if you’d like to learn more about the “forbidden rice”.

Rice Bar
Washington, D.C. // Multiple Locations

Build-your-own Korean bowls with delicious options. Be sure to try the black rice!

* – Would definitely visit again

** – Exceptional, must visit if you’re in the area

*** – Worth making a special trip to eat there

For more info on food ratings, click here.

National Museum of American History

After finishing our lunch, we made the nearly mile-long walk to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Along the way, we enjoyed nice views of the US Capitol and Washington monument.

As usual, the museum didn’t disappoint, but it was very crowded with tour groups from various schools. We walked through the exhibits on American enterprise, the history of American food, American technology, and American farming.

We quickly dipped into a smaller room with displays of various unique currencies, and then headed back outside so we could get in a longer walk before we needed to head back home.

Outside the museum, we decided the best way to spend our time was to just walk around and see some of the monuments. We bought an outrageously expensive strawberry smoothie from a food truck, and began strolling west down Madison Drive towards the Washington Monument.

National Mall

First, we walked to the base of the Monument – something we’d never seen up close. We’d hoped we could maybe ride to the top, but you have to book that at least a day in advance.

Next, we walked around the fountains at the World War II Memorial.

Finally, we finished our National Mall walking tour at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Metro Difficulties // Long Drive Home

It was now time to start heading back to our car and back to Maryland. The closest metro stop was back on the mall near the Smithsonian Castle, so we walked a very brisk mile to the broken escalator (temporarily stairs) and descended to the platforms to find a train to take back to our car at Federal Place and Patriot’s Plaza.

Unfortunately, the broken escalator was only the beginning of our troubles. Since we only wanted to take one short Metro ride, I decided I’d pay on my phone, rather than having to load a minimum amount on a card. Apparently, you can’t pay for multiple fares on one phone, like you can with a physical card, and Faith’s phone was dead, so we couldn’t use it to purchase another card. It took us over 30 minutes to sort the payment situation out with the attendant, and then we had even more difficulty getting the accessible turnstile to work so we could fit the stroller through.

I was not a very happy camper/metro rider at this point. We were both miserably hot in the sultry tunnels, and the stress of trying to explain the situation to a rather disagreeable attendant was not helping matters. Thankfully, Walker stayed asleep in his stroller for the duration of the fiasco, and we were finally able to get on our less-than-merry way. By this point, we’d missed a handful of trains because of the delay, so we had to wait even longer to catch the correct line.

The drive into the city took us less than an hour and a half, but it took us over three hours to get back to Havre de Grace! Despite our best efforts to avoid both rush hour and the most congested roads, the Metrorail mishap had delayed us right into the middle of rush-hour traffic. Our valiant effort to leave in plenty of time was all for naught. At least the agonizingly slow drive up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway was somewhat scenic, highlighted by a few deer crossing the highway, and seeing the NSA’s headquarters at Fort Meade, MD.


We arrived back at Havre de Grace just in time for dinner. Since it was our last night with the Pinkertons, William went out to get a sack full of steamed crabs so we could have a proper Maryland dinner before we left. It was incredibly delicious, and even more so after a long day. We learned we need a lot more practice shelling crabs, though!

After dinner, we made some more affogatos, finished the rest of Gettysburg, played a couple games of Scrabble, and then headed off to bed.

The Best Things we Saw Today


The best thing I saw today was… “the farming and food exhibits at the Smithsonian, and the various Bible translations”.

The best thing I ate today was… “the crab dinner, with black rice getting and honorable mention”.


The best thing I saw today was… “the Museum of the Bible”.

The best thing I ate today was… “crabs!”.


Tomorrow, we’ll head south into Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.

– Isaac, Faith, and Walker

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