If you ever find yourself in DC, one of the most important tips I can give you is this: if you look like you’re supposed to be there, no one will question you. It’ll be fine. Shoulders back, eyes forward, just keep walking. The amount of times I’ve found myself in a “restricted zone” or “Members only area” without getting arrested is, quite frankly, impressive.
I first learned this about DC on a trip to the Library of Congress several years ago. It’s not a huge building, and it’s very hard to get lost or turned around and yet, 5 know-it-all teenagers couldn’t figure out how to exit.
“Janelle says she can get us out!” Just as we were about to break down and actually ask for help, here comes my mother, followed by her new best friend, Janelle the Janitor. Janelle then proceeded to take us into the basement of the Library, where the lights flickered and all of the signs clearly proclaimed we should not be there. She led us down a seemingly endless hallway until we finally got out through what was most certainly an illegal entrance to the Library of Congress.
But nothing happened; we apparently looked like we belonged with the janitor. We then threw ourselves into the pink caddy and sped away from Capitol Hill.
This is a pretty normal day for me whenever I’m with my mom. That’s why even though I’m 25, I still don’t mind hanging out with her. There’s always the chance we could get arrested.
So Why “Pink Caddy?”
When I was growing up, my mom worked as a successful Mary Kay sales director, and as a result I got to be chauffeured in a pink Cadillac for years. Of the duo, I’m the GPS, the academic, the planner. I make sure the logistics are mapped out so that nothing goes wrong. But my mom always ensures that things never go according to plan.
Not on purpose, but just because we never know what will happen when the two of us are together on an adventure. (For those who don’t know her, she’s 5ft. (in the mornings), spikes her strawberry blonde hair, and has more personality than a roomful of yellow Minions.)
And so, chaos ensues everywhere we go. We’ve collected so many crazy stories that for years and years I’ve said that if I were to ever write them down, I’d call it the Diary of a Pink Cadillac.
“Pink Caddy Travelogue” isn’t exactly that; this isn’t going to be a collection of childhood mishaps and misadventures that could only happen to the McKneelys (though they may creep in from time to time). We don’t even have a pink caddy anymore, but those stories, many of which have been forgotten, are exactly why I don’t want to miss out documenting them any longer.
This will be a way to write about all of the cool places, here or abroad, that I get to experience. While I’ve always loved sharing my pictures from these places on social media, I want to be able to share more – what I loved, what I didn’t, what I learned, tips if you ever want to go there too.
Now, as your reward for reading the very first Pink Caddy Travelogue blog post, here’s a very short list of a few more tips you probably haven’t heard about visiting DC:
- Seriously, I’m not kidding about this one: if you look like you’re supposed to be there, you can go just about anywhere. I once rode an elevator with Marco Rubio because I did that.
- Spot Hero is your parking friend. I once lost my car in DC (another story, another time) but NEVER AGAIN. It removes the stress of trying to find a spot once you’re in the city. Plus, it saves me an average of $10 on garage parking, so I highly recommend using it.
- Anyone can visit the White House, but most people don’t seem to realize that. Just ask your Congressman’s office for tickets 3 months before the date you want to go, and voila!
- For a sweet treat, Georgetown Cupcakes are extremely overrated. Don’t waste your time in that line. Instead, Ice Cream Jubilee (ummm hi, Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream!!) and La Colombe are where you need to go (seriously, those draft lattes are heaven in a cup on a Swamp-town August day).
- The Kennedy Center might be my favorite theater of all, even over any on Broadway in NYC. It’s elegant, impressive, and people are still expected to dress up to see shows there. But if you don’t want to fork over the money to watch a performance in the concert hall or one of the theaters, they offer free performances on the Millenium Stage several nights a week. Just go here for the Millenium Stage schedule!
I did say it would be a short list. But no worries! I believe exploring your backyard is just as important as seeing the world, so there will be more about the DC/NOVA area! If you ever have any questions or suggestions for what you’d like to know more about, feel free to reach out. There’s nothing I love more than acting the part of virtual tour guide. Except maybe draft lattes.
Until next time,