Flying Frontier Airlines

Through Airfare Watchdog I saw a great fare for $84 rt on Frontier from Detroit to Dulles.  I had never flown them before but how bad can it be?

I was pleasantly surprised and would easily fly them again.  (We are looking at them again for a return to DC.) The economy flight is what we purchased which meant we paid $3 for seat selection and if we had taken a large carry on we would have had to pay for it.

We also took on our backpacks for free with just what we needed for a couple of days.  We did the same thing on our short New York trip.  We have it sorted out to what we truly need to carry with us and always have room for a souvenir or two.

“You may carry-on one personal item that fits under the seat. This item must not exceed 18″ x 14″ x 8″ in dimension, inclusive of all handles, wheels, and straps.”

Personal items include:

  • Handbag, purse, or pocketbook
  • Backpack
  • Briefcase
  • Laptop computer, with or without a bag

We were not sure how strict they would be so we measured twice.  Upon boarding there was easily plenty of overhead space and we were not forced to have them by our feet on either flight.

You do not get free drinks, free peanuts or free crackers.  For $84 I will buy my own IF I need to have a snack.  Pop and beer was offered for sale on the flight but we did not see many takers.

The flight crews were great on both flights.  The only word of warning is do NOT try to switch to an open seat.  You will sit in what you paid for, moving to a stretch seat will get you an offer to pay for the upgrade or a request to move back to your seat.  We saw a woman try to do it twice in two different rows, she was caught by two diff attendants and sent back. It was kinda funny but just an FYI.

All in all we had a great flight. I was thrilled with the price and we would love to fly Frontier again if they are offering round trip flights that reasonable!


Picture from the Denver Post.

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Dulles Airport Food Delivery Service to Hotel Recommendation

The front desk clerk of our hotel recommended Manginos for dinner delivery. Daughter had a race the next day and wanted pasta for dinner.  The extensive menu also had a few coupons inside that we put to good use.


Our food arrived early than the anticipated 40 minutes. Not bad for a busy Friday night!  We ordered a Penne Alfredo, Chicken Parmesan sub, Turkey Breast sub and breadsticks.  We also ordered cans of pop with our meals.

No matter what Dulles hotel you choose we would recommend Manginos for food delivery.  Everything was delicious!!!!

More information can be found here:

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Country Inn and Suites Dulles Airport

We had a very early flight out the next morning from Dulles airport. It did not make sense to stay in Crystal City another night at the Radisson to have to leave so early in the morning.  Instead we used Lyft to take us to our hotel near Dulles.

The hotel is very close to the airport, less than a five minute drive.  However from near the White House in 5:30 traffic it took us almost 45 minutes to arrive at the hotel.


Check in was quick and friendly.  We were able to print our boarding passes in the lobby and arrange for a 5am taxi ride to the airport.


The bathroom and room area were plenty large.  Standard Country Inn and Suites look.  There is also a Burger King in the parking lot if you wish to use that for dinner.  We elected to use an italian recommendation from the front desk for delivery.

When we arrived in the lobby at 4:55 our taxi was already there and waiting for us.  Great service and we would stay at this location again!  With AAA discount we paid $71.10 for the night.  Note that this hotel is far enough from DC I would not recommend making the drive daily to visit the capital area.

45620 Falke Plaza
Sterling,  VA  20166  USA

More information can be found here:

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The White House Photo OP

After hitting two museums and several building “gardens” we ignored our angry feet and walked toward the White House for a photo.  We took a small break for an ice cream truck and then kept moving at a very slow pace. It was well over a mile walk that might have included some whining on the way…

When we arrived at the photo location it was mobbed by tourist.  We had to wait for some people to leave to get our turn at “fence” time with the White House in the background.


I can tell you that this is something I don’t need to do again. Unless you have someone who really, really wants to see the White House I would save the feet and do something else.


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Gardens at the Smithsonian Museums

It would be lovely to see the Smithsonian Gardens in the spring or early summer. Even with our late fall visit several of them were still stunning. There are sculpture gardens, a rose garden and a butterfly habitat.

The butterfly habitat was done for the season.  We quickly walked through it and were hoping the rest of the gardens were not in the same state.





Most gardens surrounding the buildings are open at all hours, but a few are behind gates and open museum hours.  More information can be found here:

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Taking the Natural History Smithsonian Tour

Going back to DC I would change a few things. #1 would be to visit the natural history museum first thing in the morning when it opened.  I anticipated spending the most time here so we chose to spend the second half of our days here.  I would instead visit American History in the afternoon…

We arrived a little after one at the natural history museum to throngs of kids.  It was borderline chaos! A longish line for bag check and yelling kids all over the levels.  We waited a few moments for the 1:30 tour and this group was very large.  With the noise it was at times hard to hear the guide depending on what room we were in.

We began in the gems and minerals, learning about the Hope Diamond.  And other interesting stories about jewels located in that room. Fascinating that the Hope Diamond was mailed to the Smithsonian!

Then we moved on to whales, giant squid, moon rocks and Lucy,  Our guide was very good at explaining everything from how much whales eat to how they pieced together Lucy.  Unfortunately a little after 3pm we had to bail on the tour.  We wanted to visit the mummies and a few other items before leaving for the day.



We were a bit disappointed by the mummies.  Maybe we have seen too many large displays?  It just seemed to be such a small corner, we expected more.


Tours are offered at 10:30 and 1:30 daily.  More information can be found here:

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White Apron Sandwich for Lunch

I like to use Groupons for food whenever possible.  Before our DC trip I found a Groupon that would work for lunch on our museum day.  White Apron Specialty shop serves up hearty sandwiches and is less than half a mile from the American History Museum.

For $13 we received two sandwiches, two bags of chips and two drinks.  The initial plan was to share this between three people.  (And we easily could have, the sandwiches were large.) But in the end we purchased an extra sandwich and shared the rest.

Daughter ordered the Brooklyn, I had the turkey Provencal and Sister ordered the Bronx sandwich.  All were on huge sliced baguette with loads of toppings. Ordering was very quick!  We snagged one of the last tables as it was pretty busy at 12:30.  Lots of professionals grabbing lunch!  All of us enjoyed our sandwiches and would return again!


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Smithsonian American History Highlight Tour

After a very successful Air and Space tour we adopted the tour strategy for the next museums we planned to see. We knew there was so much information and no way to see everything.  The highlight tours we figured would cover the “big stuff” and we could fill anything we had really wanted to see after the tour.

We arrive at American History just after the opening for the morning.  Rode the yellow line in again from Crystal City and walked the short bit to the museum. We could tell already at bag check this morning was busier.  We caught the 10:15 with around a dozen or so other people from the visitors center.  The group was just large enough and some people did break off once the tour started.

We started with the Greensboro lunch counter and Jefferson’s desk.  A Vietnam war helicopter and the inaugural gowns wore by the first ladies.


And Daughter loves to read the Smithsonian magazine, she spotted the “football” in a display.


We went down to Julia Child’s kitchen which was on my list of must see items.


And ended with the huge star spangled banner.  Such an impressive display!!!!

Our tour guide was an older gentleman who had great information not only about each item but also about meeting guests who visited the Smithsonian and had a connection to an item.  The tour was very well done and last until 11:30.

We viewed a few other items and at a little after noon figured it was a great time to break for lunch.

Currently highlight tours are given at 10:15 and 1pm.  More information can be found here:

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Our Foray into Ethiopian Food

My cousin suggested we find an Ethiopian Restaurant while in DC for something new.  We pitched the idea to my sister with the promise that if she was hungry afterward we would find her something she recognized to eat. With some reservations she agreed and I had list of place to try depending on where we ended up around dinner time.

We oddly were back at our hotel around 7pm after leaving Georgetown. (I had a place in mind if we stayed in Georgetown but everyone was ready to head back.) Luckily a place with great reviews was just around the corner from our hotel.

Harar Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant was relatively full when we arrived.  This  picture is from Trip Advisor as the tables were close and it seemed rude to take a picture.


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Old Stone House in Georgetown

We stumbled upon the oldest standing building in D.C. built in 1765.


The house is now managed by the National Park Service and open for walk through visits.

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