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, my family finally booked a one-week trip to experience America’s founding history.

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 the teachers attend a conference.

It happens every October and just so happens to be the perfect time to travel. The temperature is just right!

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

Due to a small booking mistake, we had to take the kids out of school a day early and fly to 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 off 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 explored Salem today, walking through its historic streets and shops. We discovered fascinating information about the renowned witch trials of 1692 and the Colonial period in Salem.

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

Salem MA Lighthouse

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 Little Italy for dinner. We wrapped up our last night in Boston with some cannoli and music in the street!

Ryan LaPerle

Day 4 – On to Philly

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

In addition to that, we had the opportunity to see the Liberty Bell and the original Supreme Courtroom.

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.

We visited the Natural History Museum and then returned home, feeling exhausted but fulfilled from our whirlwind tour of historical sites.

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 to some DC tours, most were planned a week or two in advance.

I am also meticulously organized and put everything onto a Notion Spreadsheet that is easily shared with others. Notion is similar to Excel, but with a serious twist.

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, we scheduled a period of downtime. Whenever possible, we made use of public transportation. 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 is 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.

We paid for the Aquarium in Boston ($118), ferry and trolley tour in Salem ($237), Freedom Tour in Boston ($104), and Amtrak Business Class tickets ($708).

The rest of the activities were free. The only other expense was food, which averaged 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 things to see and do in the area.

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