Back in November I had the chance to head to Leesburg, Virginia, about 40 minutes outside of Washington, DC, for a conference.
I must confess, I relapsed.
For these few days, I was not a recovering superwoman. I was superwoman.
Crazy as ever, I took all three of my kids with me, by myself, for the 4.5 hour drive there and back. In fairness, my mom flew in from Charlotte to give me a hand while I was doing work activities, but getting my kids together, packed, in the car, survive the trip, handle bathroom stops with 3 in freezing temperatures, etc… was all a significant feat for a single mama! And we had a pretty great time, I won’t lie!
That’s not to say it wasn’t hard work. It was. But fun hard work!
The weather was pretty chilly for early November, with temperatures reaching a high of 46 F during our stay, so we didn’t get to explore outside as much as we’d have otherwise preferred, but we fit in a good number of things nonetheless.
During the stay we spent a majority of time at the resort, but we also managed to visit the National Harbor in Maryland prior to a work dinner and spent the first morning visiting Chibis Indoor Playground, a fun way for the kids to burn off some extra energy after hours and hours in the car. Details below!
The conference was hosted at the Landsdowne Resort & Spa. Landsdowne is a high quality resort with ample conference space, a golf course, and several restaurants. I wasn’t overly impressed with the menu selections at either of the restaurants that I tried, Riverside Hearth and Coton & Rye, but the prices were reasonable and that makes it hard to complain. There was a lack of options for children. The hotel has a heated indoor lap pool and fitness center. Rooms were a pretty decent size. There was not ample space to run and play like I would prefer for a conference resort, but we made do. There was this beautiful waterfall feature wall that my kids just thought was the greatest thing since goldfish, and we spent a lot of time just watching and listening to the water run down the rocks.
After the long car ride down, I knew I needed to give my kids a chance to burn off some extra energy. But it was just too cold out for me to feel comfortable letting them play. A quick internet search led me to Chibis Indoor Playground, located just 12 minutes from the Landsdowne Resort.
Chibis was the perfect place to let the kids run free and have some fun. It’s an open play environment with limited entry, so never overcrowded. There were several spaces, oen of which was dedicated for infants- the Infant Playground. This section was limited to pre- and early walkers, and ideal for crawlers. The soft play environment was perfect for little ones to explore!
The Big Kids playground included a family jungle gym which allows parents and kids to play together (and, according to their signs, supports 80 adults!). There’s also a bounce house and slide, activity centers, and ride on cars.
Importantly to me, there were a few chairs and couches for adults to observe their kids from a safe distance, and comfortable for nursing! While the bathrooms weren’t the cleanest, the play space was – and that is important to any parent, particularly in the wintertime. We had a great time on this impromptu visit!
The National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland is located along the Potomac River and one of my favorite spots in the Greater DC area.
We first visited The Carousel and Carousel Playground right on the waterfront for the kids to run around. Prices are reasonable for the Carousel at $7/person for unlimited rides all day. That’s a nice way to get in a ride or two upon arrival and another bonus ride before leaving. That’s exactly what we did. Nico chose the tiger and Gabriella preferred a unicorn. I held on for dear life because apparently I’m 2456 years old and even slow moving rides like carousels leave me woosy after a while.
Then we walked along the pier and checked out the National Harbor Christmas Tree, towering at what had to be 30-40 ft tall. It was beautiful. Unfortunately when we were there there were some gates set up that kind of got in the way of pictures, but my kids weren’t really cooperating with standing still for photos anyways- so no big deal.
Then we went to one of my favorite restaurants of all time, Bond 45. I first went to a Bond 45 when I was living in New York City, but the National Harbor locationhas morphed into my favorite. What the restaurant’s website says is true- Bond 45 brings the feeling of old new York to the shores of the Potomac.
The restaurant is spectacularly run under the management of John Edward, who has personally seated, served, and taken care of me and my guests each and every time we have visited. We were privately seated in one of the Conservatories, which hold up to 20 people each, with the feel of the outdoors, views of the sunset on the Potomac, but the warmth, sounds, and smells of the Italian kitchen. I’m pretty sure we had one of every appetizer, including the Housemade Meatballs, Prosciutto & Housemade Burrata Mozzarella, Alfredo Crab Fries, Steamed Mussels, Fried Calamari, and more! Each plate was more delicious than the one before it. My favorite plate has long been the Proscuitto & Burrata Mozzarella- be sure to give it a try if you visit.
After we managed to let our dinner digest, we made our way over to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center to see the beautiful indoor atrium all decorated for Christmas. It was bustling with several conventions going on at the time and quite busy, but as beautiful as ever.
One of my favorite things about traveling with my kids is the memories that we make. Nico first crawled while we were vacationing on Lake Como, Italy and had lasagna for the first time in Milan. Milana first smiled while we were in Walt Disney World. And on this trip, my Gabriella tried mussels for the first time, subsequently eating the entire plate!
I love that my kids have had the chance to experience so many places with me. While this trip certainly wasn’t easy having to work all day (and then some) and then take care of my kids before/after, it was worth it to be able to live this beautiful life with them, and not be away from them for too long. A special thank you to my mom for making it happen while I was at the conference. We couldn’t have done it without you!