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Old 01-03-2007, 15:23   #1
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Seeing the Sights of Washington DC

The Grandkids want to see Washington DC, so we are thinking of taking Sunspot Baby there in August.

Anyone have experience with the marinas that are close to the historical sites?

How about anchoring out and using a marina dinghy dock?

Should be a fun trip - Grandkids are age 10, 12 & 16, and we would appreciate any information you can share with us.

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Old 01-03-2007, 15:35   #2
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Entlie,

DC is a great destination. And, the 95nm trip up the Potomac River is scenic, historic, and delightful.

I'm based there at Capital Yacht Club (CYC) (www.capitalyachtclub.com), located in the Washington Channel. This is in the shadow of the Washington Monument, is close to shops and restaurants, and is within walking distance of the Smithsonian Museum and other tourist attractions.

CYC welcomes transients...we get lots of them. Be sure to make a reservation if you plan on being dockside. If you do, we have water, electric, and cable TV hookups.

Another option is to anchor out. Lots of boats do. For a modest daily fee, you can then use CYC docks and facilities (clubhouse, bar, showers, laundry, etc.).

Another possibility if you choose not to use CYC is the marina next door...Gangplank Marina....which is commercial.

Hope you make it; it's a fun place to be. In August, though, it can be VERY HOT. You'll need A/C, or a place to hide if the WX is bad!

Hopefully, I'll be in Maine at that time. But, if not, look for "Born Free" at the end of "C" dock.

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Old 01-03-2007, 15:42   #3
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What is the water depth and bridge hights on the river?
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Old 01-03-2007, 15:48   #4
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Gunner,

Water depth is generally 20' or more. We get rather large ships in D.C. :-)

At CYC, water depth in most slips is 15-25'.

The Wilson Bridge used to be a hassle, having a clearance of only 50' and an opening schedule which required 36 hour notice and only opened from midnite to 5AM. Happily, this is no longer the case. The new bridge span is in place (clearance 84'), and the old opening leaves have been physically removed. Only problem now is that construction barges sometimes block the channel during workdays, but they move after working hours and, with notice, they can sometimes be moved during the day as well.

The only other bridge over the Potomac south of D.C. is the 301 Bridge at Morgantown, with well over 100' clearance.

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Old 01-03-2007, 15:54   #5
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Thanks, Bill, for the quick reply. We have talked to Kelvin at Capital YC, and just need to firm up dates with the kids before we make our reservation. We'll check to see if you're still there in August.

Good advice about AC. We have a CruiseAir that we will probably dust off and bring with us.

Irwinsailor has a good point - our mast height is less than 55', bridges appear to be ok and river depths look ok to us at a glance, but if there is something we should know, would love to hear it. We will be coming from our home port of New Bern, NC, hopefully by way of the Dismal Swamp Canal.

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Old 01-03-2007, 15:56   #6
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While I was posting my note above, Bill was providing information. Is this a great forum or what?

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Old 01-03-2007, 16:00   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Entlie
While I was posting my note above, Bill was providing information. Is this a great forum or what?
Absolutely! (unbiased opinion) We hope to get there someday too! Great info btrayfors. Gonna tuck this away for future reference!
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Old 01-03-2007, 16:01   #8
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Entlie,

..."bridges appear to be ok and river depths look ok to us at a glance, but if there is something we should know, would love to hear it"

There is one more thing: watch out for the FUN POLICE! They catch you or your crew having too much fun, and you're really in for it :-)

Have a great trip.

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Old 01-03-2007, 16:17   #9
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We've dealt with the "FUN POLICE" before. We'll be real careful.

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Old 01-03-2007, 17:43   #10
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Having lived in the DC area for almost 15 years

Let me give you some tips on spending money, seeing things and going places.

First the money,
EVERYTHING will be expensive relative to a cruising budget, so don't plan on eating out a lot unless you have $$. The cost of living is so high, and tourists abound, and in August it's super hot and they know you will pay $3.50 to $4.50 for 21 oz or smaller cold anything. Bring a daypack picnic lunch and everyone should bring a water bottle or camel back. They should be about 1/2 full of ice in the morning and you'll have cool water rationed through out the day. If you need fresh water, all the museums have fountians to refill. The food court at Lafont plaza is really good and a lot of goverment folks eat there so the service is brisk and the food outstanding for the most part (but expensive plan about $7-10 a person, a meal). If you must get somthing to eat, ie you ran out of food, most of the side street vendors have pretty tasty (if not similiar and overpriced) hot dogs, pretzels and other stuff. I don't know if any of them pass health inspection more than once a year. The best transportation is either the shoe leather express or the Metro (underground rail). You should be close enough to not need it though. For people who aren't used to walking, DC is a long hike from everywhere, so plan your trips with breaks and very leasurely.

Seeing things! Big Misconception by most people; there is no single Smithsonian..... the Smithsonian is a long mall with almost a dozen or more museums. Do not try and hit more than two a day MAX unless you just hate one. The morning when they open is the best, expect lots of school kids on safari. Expect all bags and purses to be searched so keep them simple to inspect and you'll speed through. My favorites have always been the natural history, american history and air and space museums, but the native american is pretty cool too. When you go into a museum hit every floor open to the public and take all the corners and openings you can get into. some of the coolest neatest stuff always seems to be in an untraveled corner. Do NOT blow your wad of money in the first museum! (done this more than once in the natural history museum it is so tempting) Don't buy souveniers till the middle of the trip or the end of the day, especially in August. if you want to get in and tour the white house or congress get tickets now! you can request them from your senator or representative. You will get tickets for a specific time on a specific day, don't miss it! oh and don't climb the fence in front of the white house or look like it. I had one buddy get picked up by the SS after driving around the white house twice waiting to pick someone up because he couldn't find a parking space. He will never forget the experience and they do not kid around PEROID.

Do go see the mint, the monuments (they make a great stop or side trip as a break) and the national zoo (take the metro).

Have Fun, somehow most people think you have to have money to have fun in DC.

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Old 01-03-2007, 22:57   #11
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2divers - Thanks for the insiders' guide!

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Old 02-03-2007, 06:09   #12
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Glad to be a help

I know to many people who went and tried to 'see everything' in 3 days and really missed out. You need almost a full week to just see the museums and your choice of marina will put you closer in and probably cheaper than most of the expensive hotels! So it sounds like you have a really good plan.

Since your from NC you ought to have a handle on hot and muggy in August, but it will be 98-100 degrees and ~95% humidity.... hence the reason congress is not in session over the summer.

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Old 02-03-2007, 12:24   #13
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"I know to many people who went and tried to 'see everything' in 3 days"

And that's such a waste, since taking your time just means there's all the more reason to come back another time and take another visit to other parts of town. So much to see, so many new memorials, and apparently the relatively new "Spy Museum" is a great hit for kids and adults, too.<G>

August: A great time to stick to the indoor locations!

There's also a Segway tour program, they spend 1/2 hour teaching you to ride a Segway and then off everyone goes, not quite on foot for the rest of the day. Ain't cheap but a nice way to cover ground, that's just GOT to have big wow factor for the kids if they're old enough to ride 'em.
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Old 02-03-2007, 18:23   #14
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The food court at Lafont plaza is ...
That would be L' Enfant Plaza, right?

Not to pick on spelling unnecessarily, but I thought it might be easier to find on a map. Most people pronounce it like "la font" or "lon font".
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Old 03-03-2007, 07:02   #15
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You are correct of course.

I never did the like french spelling, but the french had a heavy influence on the layout of the city (french architect) and the buildings and just about everything else.... I can say that I LOVE french food, but that is probably because my grandmother was french and I loved going to her house to visit! It was always a gastronomic delight!
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