Washington DC

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Washington DC

Postby Chief J » Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:50 am

My Troop is planning a trip to Washington DC and I would like to query the members of the board who have gone to DC on what their troops have done.

Where did you stay?
How did you feed?
Travel to and from?
Travel in and around the area once you were there?
What activities/locations did you schedule and see?
Any other information that you think may be helpful?

Any and all assistance is greatly appreciated. Background reference, we are located in SW PA and it would be about a 4-5 hour dirve for us to get to Washington DC.

Thanks,
Chief J
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Postby wagionvigil » Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:20 am

Chief J Here is an Idea. Since you are right on the Yough River Trail why don't you bike to DC. It is a great trip. There are two ways of doing it I prefer the first.
This is a totally unsupported trip. WHen you leave the Burg you have everything with you you will need for the whoe trip 6 to 8 days.
The other is to have support vehicles carrying everything and meeting you at camping points along the way so when you get there everything is set up and the food is ready.
AGain I prefer the first.
AS far as staying places in DC I am sure the Military bases are still used in that way for scouts.
ANother great idea is to contact a congressman or senator to arrange a tour of the capital and Pictures for the home town paper. Ricky is running scared and he would be up for any free advertising.
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Postby Mad Dog » Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:23 pm

How large is your group and how long are you going to be there?? If you are driving I would suggest stopping in Baltomore and visiting the Inner Harbor and the Aquarium. Once in DC you could use the Metro and walk between attractions. You don't want to drive in the District if you can avoid it. Groups of 10 or more can still tour the White House. The Air and Space Mueum and the National Zoo are free and always a big hit with the boys. You might also want to include the Spy Museum. I was in DC a year ago with a non-scouting group. We did all of the above and also included a ball game at Camden Yards.
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Postby DadScout » Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:44 pm

Our Cub Scout Pack just did a family style trip. Everyone was on their own for transport and lodging but we were all together for some sight seeing. Number one is to call your congressional rep or senator. They can set up a tour of the capitol building with not much fuss. They will also arrainge a tour of the White House. Be aware this needs to be requested months in advance but the White House won't let you know till 4 weeks prior.

After those tours all the Smithsonian Museaums are free - www.si.edu and there's about 12 of them - Air & Space, Natural History, American History, American Indian are all popular. While on the Mall you can arrainge for entry to the Washington Monument www.nps.gov/wamo Tkts are free if you stand online early in the morning but the number given per person is low. You can reserve ahead for $2 per tkt. Call them to see about Scout Groups. The Bureau of Engraving is also a good bet www.moneyfactory.gov (not joking on the URL). The 3 war memorials and the Lincoln Monument are all walking distance to the Washington Monument. Don't forget the Scout Monument on the Elipse between the White House and the Washington Monument. The Jefferson and FDR monuments are beautiful but a bit off the mall (by about a mile) and not near a Metro station.

The Metro is a great way to get around but beware, the fare is based on distance and the all day tkts aren't good till 9am. For a guy used to the NYC Subway it took some getting used to.

We didn't try to stay at the Military base. Warnings about potential lockdowns or lockouts due to security caused us to not even ask. I know our Troop stayed at Bolling AFB for next to nothing $ and ate at the commisary like kings for about $3 a head. But that was pre 911 and pre ACLU v DOD so I really have no idea if they'd even allow it any more.

One warning, and since you're from SW PA it might not be a surprise but it can be rather hot, humid, and uncomfortable in WDC in the summer.
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Postby Chief J » Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:14 am

Mad Dog wrote:How large is your group and how long are you going to be there??



We will most likely have about 20 Scouts and 4-5 Leaders. We are looking at a long weekend (Thursday through Sunday) in May 2007.

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Postby CapXK » Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:34 pm

Just returned from a family trip to DC. We saw several Scout troops at the museums and monuments. You can do all the major monuments as a walking tour in a day. We started at the Washington Monument at 10:00 and finished at the Jefferson Memorial at 3:30. On the way we saw Constitution Gardens, Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, DC War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. A pleasant day of walking. We also fit in the White House Visitor Center and the Old Post Office Tower on the same day. If you want your group to go to the top of the Washington Monument you will need to get tickets in advance. The Sunday we went the tickets were sold out by 9:30 AM for the entire day (and the booth opened at 8:30). You can get the tickets online, there is a link at the National Park website for the Washington Monument. The tickets are free but there is a processing fee - $5 apiece I think. The best time to see the monuments (and to try and find parking) is on the weekends. Check with the DC tourism websites - weekend festivals can really crowd up the place. The Smithsonian museums are great - there is a shuttle bus from the Smithsonian to the Air & Space annex at Dulles Airport that costs $7 per person. The annex has some great exhibits - the Enola Gay, the spaceshuttle Enterprise, the Concorde among others. Parking at the annex is $12 per car. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park has a unit in Georgetown, Great Falls, and several other units all the way to Cumberland. The Great Falls unit has hiking trails along the Potomac, the Georgetown unit has a 45 minute canal boat ride. The visitor center at Georgetown had Chesapeake & Ohio Trail BSA patches for sale - I don't know what the requirements are. Mount Vernon is only 17 miles south of DC, and has programs for Scouts. They have booklets of exercises for Scouts under 13 and one for older Scouts - completion of the booklets entitle the Scout to purchase a special patch. The Metro works great - the DC Metro website has complete instructions on how to buy and use farecards (you can even buy the farecards in advance so you don't have to deal with the machines at the stations). I wouldn't drive into DC unless you are willing to spend $12+ for garage parking or have a tour bus.

Your Scouts will have a great time.
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Postby 616kayak » Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:53 pm

heading out to dc tommorow
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Postby CapXK » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:43 pm

Almost forgot. You have to go to Arlington National Cemetary. It is a truly humbling place. The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns is incredible. The guard changes every 30 minutes during summer hours. Stand at the right side of the Tomb area to get the best view of the ceremony. The Marine Corps Memorial is just outside of the cemetary. Arlington is on the Metro line.
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Postby 616kayak » Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:48 pm

I’m going to see the tomb guards tomorrow. That is what i have been looking forward to seeing the most. One of my AI's in JROTC spent a year and a half as a tomb guard. I have read tons about them.

Some DC tips.

Always ask for advanced reservation for groups it saves tons of time in lines.

Metro day passes are $5 and usually aren’t worth it.

Food in the Smithsonian museums may seem expensive but admission is free.

Take advantage of the time at monuments when there are no tour groups. Take your pictures during those times.
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Postby lambeausam » Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:36 pm

I second the visit to Arlington. It is unbelievable. I participated in the wreath laying ceremony in 8th grade. There is nothing more humbling.

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