My First Train Ride and a Family Vacation to Washington, D.C!

So, first fun news of this post…. MEO and I experienced our very FIRST train ride this past weekend taking a trip to visit Casey and Mike in Rockville, MD!  I knew I wanted to ride on a train because it was something I had never experienced before. In my planning and booking tickets, I was advised to ride on a train that had a dining car and I am SO glad I listened to that advice! While the train seats were comfy, the booth and table were definitely better — especially with a four year old on board! At the table we were all (Josh, MEO and myself) able to comfortably eat and drink, color, and play games. All future train rides will DEFINITELY include dining cars.  We actually spent most of our train ride at the table and not in our actual seats!

Another reason I loved the train: You can’t enjoy an alcoholic beverage while driving, but you CAN enjoy one while riding on a train!

ALSO!… I can’t get any speeding tickets on a train. THAT’S a plus for sure!

We arrived at the Raleigh train station Friday morning, boarded right on time with no problems and headed off to Union Station in Washington, D.C.! MEO’s face was the cutest thing and FILLED my heart. She could hardly hold back her ginormous smile…. she was so excited for her first train ride! Somehow, our train arrived to the Union Station two hours behind schedule (!!!) and I’m still confused on how that happened. There was one hiccup on our ride where apparently someone tried to sneak on and then had to be kicked off, but I’m not really sure what that was about! We weren’t expecting to be riding the train as long as we were, so toward the end we all started getting a little antsy, but we arrived eventually and OMG DOES A TRAIN STATION GET MORE BEAUTIFUL?!! 😍😍😍 Union Station was immaculate. Seriously.  Have you been? There are some video clips of the station in the video below — just take a look!

We wanted to explore D.C a little, show MEO the Capital Building, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, etc., but due to our late arrival, we opted for a quick car-tour provided by Casey and Mike! 🏛  

When we arrived to Casey and Mike’s new place the first thing I did was “ooh and ahh” over how pretty her new place is. The whole community that she lives in is beautiful and has such a fun vibe. We did a little exploring around her complex and then ate dinner outside at Mellow Mushroom. They had an awesome “Eye Spy Tee” that I really wanted, but none in my size. 😭

Saturday morning we woke up and had breakfast at First Watch Cafe. Their cheesy grits were so delicious and I was thankful for the good coffee provided too! After breakfast, we went to visit Aunt Joy and Uncle John at Aix La Chapelle — their absolutely stunning farm! Rob ended up planning a visit with Joy and Jon for the weekend since it was a holiday weekend (Memorial day) and Kathy was already going to be out of town (in Sweeden!). MEO really wanted to see the peach trees, so that was the first thing we did when we arrived there. Lots of our farm adventures are also in the video below.

Dora the goat rides on the hood of the Gator!

As we wrapped up our morning at Aix La Chapelle, we planned for our afternoon at the Hometown Holidays festival going on in Rockville! We wandered the afternoon outside at the festival, trying food from the ‘Taste of Rockville’ part, and riding rides + jumping in bouncy houses at the ‘Hometown Holidays’ part of the festival. Oh — and dodging the rain a time or two. It wasn’t too much rain to spoil our fun though! ☔️

On Sunday, we had to leave Casey and Mike’s house pretty early to head back to the (FREAKING BEAUTIFUL) train station — Union Station. Our train ride home was running about 30 minutes behind schedule which was actually nice because it gave us a little time to sit and have a cup of coffee (me) and Bojangles (Josh and MEO).  Once again, I made sure to book a train ride with a dining car so we could have a booth with a table to sit at. MEO and I drew dinosaurs and colored together. Josh and I played a fun game of Rummy 500. I taught him how to play and he beat me… beginners luck? 🍀 Or am I just a really good teacher? Like…. a better teacher than player apparently. 😉😂

I would have loved to stay one more day, and as we were leaving, I was a little sad that I didn’t plan for us to.  But, I’ve spent today giving my mind and body the rest that I know it needs before starting a new week. I know I’ll feel much less stressed and overwhelmed as I start the week refreshed and rejuvenated. Self care is so easily put on the back burner for me, but I’m learning that I can live a much LESS anxious life when I respect my mind and body, and give it the rest and care that it needs to keep going. For once in my life, I’m able to fully enjoy life, traveling, and experiencing new things! ❤️


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