CHERRY HILL PARK
Cherry Hill Park is the closest campground to Washington DC. That was the main reason we chose this park while we tour our Nation’s Capital. The staff goes above and beyond in helping their guests navigate the D.C. gridlock. They even offer a daily session in how to utilize the Metro, what tours are available, bests routes to take and so much more. Not only that, but there is a bus depot inside the campground with courtesy buses to take you to the nearest Metro Station or down to Union Station in the heart of D.C. This is helpful to guests as Washington D.C. is not a driving friendly city. The parkways can strike terror in the hearts of tourists who don’t know exactly where they are going or how to get there. And parking? Forget it!!! Parking spaces/lots are hard to come by and costly. Thus the Metro is the way to travel. If you’re from an area where you’re familiar with El Trains, Subways, and the like, you would probably be very comfortable with riding the Metro rails, but for us country bumpkins, it can be overwhelming. We’d much prefer being able to get around via our own transportation. We did learn a few things our first time riding the Metro……if you suffer from motion sickness, don’t travel on an empty stomach, sit facing in the direction the tram is traveling and transportation in the Capital City isn’t cheap.
Enough about the Metro for now. Back to the campground.
Cherry Hill Park is very pricey. For that you get every amenity you can imagine an RV park having and as they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Our normal nightly budget is about half what we’re paying here, $57 per night, and that’s with our Good Sam discount. Cherry Hill Park is listed as a Gold Best Park in America and the owners strive to keep it that way, continually making park improvements. That said, the sites are nothing spectacular. In fact, we’ve stayed in far nicer parks for less. The park is currently constructing a lodge, a splash park and a second laundromat, all very nice I’m sure but since campers are its bread and butter, I feel there is room for improvement on the campsites. Some sites lack grassy areas, some sites are way too close together and some of the pull-thru sites share patios that could use privacy screening between the picnic tables. All sites could stand a little grass trimming and paint. On the plus side though, all of the sites appear to be level.
Regardless of the rates, we would highly recommend this campground to anyone coming to D.C. You just can’t beat the convenience of staying here.
WASHINGTON AFTER DARK
Everyone we’d talked to at Cherry Hill Park recommended we take the D.C. After Dark tour. The operator, GrayLine, advertises it as their most popular night tour. We purchased our $40 tickets (each) and with much anticipation we waited for the courtesy bus to pick us up in the campground. The pros of the tour were, you get a whole new perspective of viewing the Capital Building, the White House and a few of the Memorials lit up at night. They are grand to see. Being able to disembark at the White House and six other stops to take photos was a plus too. It’s also nice to have someone else driving, who knows where he’s going, the best routes to take and who can offer tidbits of interesting facts along the way. The cons, the price, a bit steep for what you get and being under time constraints at each of the stops. This was made worse by other guests who overstayed the allotted viewing time, not wanting our three hour tour to run over, viewing time was shaved off from future stops. Occasionally our driver would point out buildings of interests as we passed, but most were not visible due to streetlight glare on the bus windows and lastly, our driver’s enunciation was poor, making it difficult to understand everything he was saying.
SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL ZOO
Our disappointment from last night carried over into today’s sightseeing. One would think that having the words Smithsonian and National in its name that the zoo would be mighty impressive. We were anything but impressed. Very few of the outside exhibits had animals in them. More often than not we’d find a Nobody Home sign in front of the exhibits. At one point I jokingly remarked to Don that the zoo had more Nobody Home signs than it had animals. The animal enclosures were characterless. The grounds, unattractive. Between the two of us, we have toured four other zoos other than this one and as Don stated, this is the worst of the lot. It made us appreciate the outstanding Indianapolis Zoo we had back home all the more. If it wasn’t that the National Zoo has three Giant Pandas, there wouldn’t be anything to draw one here. But on the plus side, besides the cute pandas that is, is that it’s free.
We’re hoping this isn’t a precursor of our future sightseeing outings.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid………………