The Final Destination and Arrival to the North Pole (IV of IV)

Onwards and forwards to our next stop, Washington, D.C.  Being a native New Yorker I have traveled to Washington, D.C. several times before.  However, it was welcoming during Christmas and even more so with my family.  We had never visited during this time before.  Once there, we walked around the city and enjoyed it through new eyes.  The National Christmas Tree surrounded by what is called the “Pathway of Peace” was one of the many sites we visited.  There are 56 decorated trees representing all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia.  It looked especially beautiful in the evening when all of the Christmas lights could be appreciated.

As we continued to tour the city, we spent time in the surrounding areas of the White House.  One of the tours I wanted us to experience was the inside of the White House.  In order to be able to do this, there is a process to be followed.  You must submit a request through one’s Member of Congress six months in advance and no less than 21 days before travel.  Although I placed the request two months ahead of our travel time, it was denied.  There are limited spaces and the earlier the request the better.  Unfortunately, it was not granted but it will not deter me from trying again someday.  Lesson learned:  request far more in advance next time.

Another highlight on this leg of the trip was the National Monument.  If I had to put the feelings we experienced in words, it could be described as freedom because of the architecture and symbolism of each piece.  There is so much to learn when you travel beyond textbooks when visiting the places you read about.

Peaceful and serene are the other two words that come to mind.  On our way to see the Lincoln Memorial, the kids ran the length of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.  A rather long and rectangular pool located east of the Lincoln Memorial.  It is lined by walking paths and shady trees on both sides. Depending on where you are standing in the National Mall area, you can see the Washington Monument on one side and the Lincoln Memorial on the other.

It was quite a walk from the National Monument to the Lincoln Memorial.  Our kids were having such a wonderful time running the length of the reflecting pool that they didn’t mind the trek to the other side.  When we reached the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial, I remember drawing a breath at the enormity of Abraham Lincoln’s statue.  It was impressive to say the least.

We sat on the steps for a while and took in the entire scene.  From this viewpoint you can see the reflecting pool and the National Monument in its entirety on the other side.  At night it was a spectacular view to witness.

Deciding to only spend a day in D.C., we saw and toured as much as we could and enjoyed the city’s lights at night.  With a day’s drive ahead of us left (8-9 hours) before reaching the North Pole, we knew we needed to reenergize for the long drive.  Calling it a night, we headed back to our hotel for a good night’s rest.

The next day we ate a large breakfast and left leisurely around 11am.  After a long drive, we arrived at our destination!

Overjoyed by our arrival, it didn’t matter that we just completed an 8 hour drive.  The North Pole, NY hosts what they call family yuletide weekends.  It includes 2 nights of lodging, 2 dinners per person, 2 breakfasts, and 2 days admission to Santa’s Workshop.  This is what we booked.

It was an experience of a lifetime, and one we wanted to do before the kids grew too old to enjoy.  However, having experienced it with them, I can say that you are never too old to enjoy such a magical time.  I observed the look on the faces of the parents in attendance, and can honestly say that they seem to be having just as much or more fun than the kids were.

Some more activities include:

  • The kids creating their own ornaments;
  • Visiting Mr. and Mrs. Santa in their own home;
  • Attended a Nativity Pageant;
  • Saw reindeer;
  • Story time, hot cocoa, and cookies with Santa; and
  • Enjoyed the rides including a steam train ride around the park.

Oh to be a kid again!  For young kids and the young at heart, this is definitely an event you want to experience someday.  The theme park has been around for decades and opened its doors in 1949. It is now considered one of the oldest theme parks around.

This is the end of our journey, and I wrote it with joy, love and fond memories, not to mention a big old smile on my face.  Sadly, Christmas is over but the memories remain.  My hope is for you to enjoy the tale as much as I did telling it here.  May all your Christmases be joyful!

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