Can You Really Experience America's Founding in Just One Week?

Can You Really Experience America’s Founding in Just One Week?

My Rapid-Fire Trip from Witches to the White House.

After years of talking about it, my family finally took the big plunge and booked a whirlwind one week trip to experience the history of America’s founding firsthand.

With MEA on the horizons, my husband and I decided it was the perfect time. For those non-Minnesotan’s, MEA is the Minnesota Education Association. It’s usually three days off school while they teachers attend a conference.

It happens every October and just so happens to be the perfect time to travel. Not overly hot or cold!

From witches in Salem to presidents in DC, we managed to pack a ton of learning and fun into 7 short days.

Here’s a quick snapshot of our jam-packed itinerary and what we experienced at each stop along the way:

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Day 1 – Flight to Boston & Settling In

After a slight booking mishap, we ended up having to pull the kids from school a day early and fly into Boston.

As a pro tip, always make sure you have a confirmation email in your inbox! I realized a week before we were supposed to leave that the tickets weren’t in my Delta Account.

While it ended up costing us a little more, it meant we got to see Salem! We managed to snag a hotel by the airport for cheap.

Day 2 – Witches & Colonies in Salem

Traffic was a nightmare, so when our uber canceled on us, we decided to take the subway into downtown Boston. We dropped our bags of at the historic Bostonian Hotel.

Then did some initial exploring of historic sites like Paul Revere’s house. After getting acquainted with the city, we took a combo ferry-trolley ticket out to Salem.

We spent the day wandering the historic streets and shops of Salem, learning about the famous witch trials of 1692 and Colonial Salem.

We hopped on the last ferry out of Salem and had diner at the famous Quincy Marketplace. We got to experience a Lobster Roll!

Salem MA

Day 3 – Revolution in Boston

Following around our costumed Freedom Trail tour guide, we got to learn about the beginnings of the American Revolution.

After lunch in Quincy Market, we visited the aquarium before heading back to the Little Italy for dinner. We wrapped up our last night in Boston with some cannoli’s and music in the street!

Quincy Market

Day 4 – On to Philly

We boarded an early Amtrak train down to Philadelphia. We indulged in cheesesteaks before touring Independence Hall and seeing the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

We also visited the Liberty Bell and original Supreme Court room. So much history there I had no idea about. Like did you know the first version of the declaration of independence is still housed there?

We got back on the train and made it into DC just in time for dinner!

Liberty Hall

Day 5 – DC: Monuments & Museums

Arriving in DC, we made our way to the National Mall to take in the monuments and Smithsonian Museums. We toured the White House, hit up the Air & Space Museum.

Inside the White House

Day 6 – DC: Archives, Memorials & More

We started at the Washington Monument and got breathtaking views of DC from the top.

Then we walked the National Mall hitting up war memorials, the Lincoln Memorial, and more Smithsonian Museums.

In the afternoon we visited the National Archives to see the founding documents.

Washington Monument Tickets

Day 7 – Capital Hill & Homeward Bound

Our last day included tours of Ford’s Theatre, the FBI and the US Capitol Building. After a final walk through the Natural History Museum, we flew back home exhausted but fulfilled from our whirlwind founding history tour.

FBI Experience Hidden Camera Room
FBI Experience Hidden Camera Room

How did you manage to fit so much into just one week?

It was a crazy adventure that was only made possible but a lot of planning. What was most shocking, the exception of some DC tours, most were planned a week or two in advanced.

I am also meticulously organized and put everything onto a Notion Spreadsheet that is easily shared with others. Notion is like Excel but on serious. This can house all the times, confirmation numbers, links to tickets and everything you need.

Notion is free and they have an app, which is perfect for traveling.

Was it exhausting trying to cram in so many activities and historical sites?

Yes, but we planned downtime. We also utilized public transpiration whenever possible. We bought new shoes before to make sure we had proper support.

And there was some extra downtime planned into the point where we were wondering if we should go back out.

Did you feel like you had enough time in each place?

Yes and no. Ideally, I could have spent another two days exploring Salem, just not during October. I’d like a little more time in Philidelphia.

DC was just enough time. It was my fourth trip, and this trip was more to show the kids around.

Were your kids bored or worn out from all the history and traveling?

The kids did amazing. My youngest I could tell was losing interest in some of the history, but as soon as you give him the camera, he’s all in again.

Like any trip, you gotta plan for all the members. Before going, we all talked about what we wanted to see and do. This helps a lot. And you gotta plan for a little fun in-between.

How much did a trip like this cost for a family?

Surprisingly this trip was relatively inexpensive. For our family of four, two adults and two kids we paid just over $1,000.

The great thing about Washington DC and a lot of the historical sights it that it’s free. We had been storing up a lot of credit card rewards points, too helping us out a lot. The hotels were 100% covered. The flight we paid for one leg, only because of the ticketing snafu. It was a premium cost because it was last minute.

What we paid for was the Aquarium in Boston ($118), ferry and trolley tour in Salem ($237), Freedom Tour in Boston ($104), Amtrack tickets Business Class ($708). The rest of the activities were free. The only other expense was food, which averaged to about $100 a meal.

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for more in-depth posts about each individual stop on our trip! I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for planning your own trip, including other thing to see and do in the area.

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