This was not my first trip to my nation’s capital, but I was still able to experience plenty of new things.
A few months back my cousin Kayla, whom my followers will remember from my Iceland and Miami trips, asked if I’d like to accompany her and some friends from church to Washington, DC for a long weekend.
Knowing I’d be newly finished with grad school, I was happy to sign up. It wasn’t until the week of the trip that I realized this was all organized around visiting the Museum of the Bible. And then it made sense why we’d be going with a subset of her church’s young adult ministry. Disclaimer: this was not a church sponsored event. It was merely just a group of church friends organizing a trip for themselves.
This was the first time I’d heard of this museum. And I was very excited to be visiting it.
So we met at their church Friday morning for 9:30. Kayla and I were among the first to arrive. So as the rest of the group trickled in, I was introduced to everyone. There were 15 of us in total. As we loaded up the Sprinter van and played level 25 Tetris with all the luggage, I became more acquainted with some of the group members. I learned that they’re all a part of the creative team at the church. Either marketing, photography, or video production.
Pretty soon we prayed and were on the way to DC. The van ride was smooth. I was asleep for most of it since I’d been up since 4:30 in order to make it to NY from CT at a decent time. To be completely honest, I’m not sure what time we arrived at our Airbnb, but it couldn’t have been later than 15:30.
We picked our rooms and got settled in the house. Half the group left to grocery shop for breakfast and dinner for the following day. The other half held down the fort. But when the grocery crew took at little too long getting back (over 2 hours), we decided to head out for dinner. We were famished.
The main trip organizer, Melanie, already had a restaurant scoped out. We headed to Busboys and Poets which was a venue she’d previously patronized. It was part bookstore, part restaurant, and part poetry club. It had a very metropolitan vibe. The crowd there seemed to be mostly in their 20’s-30’s. I ordered a pasta dish that was pretty decent. Before we were served our entrees, the grocery store crew was seated nearby us. Dinner was filled with good conversation and hearty laughs.
After dinner, we browsed around the bookstore portion a bit before heading back to the Airbnb. Once there we played music, played card games, and talked before heading to bed.
We got an early start on Saturday. I woke up to gospel music blaring from the family room and pans clanking in the kitchen.
As Pete and his sous chefs Angelica and Orlando prepared our made to order omelettes, the rest of the group gathered in the family room for devotion led by Aadia. As we read and discussed St. John chapter 17, we were served breakfast. We concluded with prayer and finished getting ready so we could get to the museum.
Museum of the Bible
The museum was only about 20 minutes from our Airbnb. So we arrived around 11:00. Everyone was in awe of the entrance. We took several pictures before heading inside.
After clearing security. Some of us browsed the gift shop, while others went to the cafe while waiting for Melanie to purchase our admission and JJ and Jocelyn to park the van.
We decided to split up into 2 groups. And then to meet at 15:00 for the Washington Revelations experience.
There was so much to see and experience in this museum. I couldn’t possibly see and absorb everything in the few hours I had there, but I’ll just highlight some of the most memorable exhibits.
I was so engulfed in the exhibits, that there are a lot of photos I didn’t even think to take. The very first exhibit, “Bible in America” stood out to me. It walks you through the history of the book in America. All the way from Plymouth Rock to the Civil Rights era. As an African American woman, it was interesting to see actual copies of the Slave Bible. A “Bible” modified by slave owners to keep slaves ignorant of freedom.
The museum was filled with many groups of Christians, obviously. We bumped into a choir singing the hymn “It is Well with my Soul” in the replica village area. It gave me the chills.
Hands down my favorite part of the museum was the Hebrew Bible experience. It’s an immersive experience which includes 360 degree animated videos, sculptures, sound effects, and lighting. It literally walks you through the first half of the Old Testament. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but my jaw was on the floor when there was burning bush 20 feet away from me.
Before we knew it, it was 15:00 and time to meet with the other group at Washington Revelations. This was a ride simulator which “flies” you over DC to highlight different biblical references engraved in different locations around the city. You feel the wind blowing in your face and everything.
After this we left and split up for lunch. We agreed to rendezvous at the National Mall area. After eating, everyone wanted to ride scooters to the National Mall. Uber and Lyft have rentable electric scooters riddled throughout the city. You just use their apps to locate and rent one, and then you’re on your way. It’s something like $0.25/per minute and you have a 15 mile range to travel. 3 of us unfortunately couldn’t find one charged up enough to get to the National Mall. But I wasn’t too disappointed. It’s been well over 10 years since I’ve been on a scooter 🛴, and I wasn’t sure I could manage one well enough on the road.
For those who are unfamiliar, the National Mall, it isn’t an actual mall. It’s the name used to describe the area from The Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.
Those who successfully acquired scooters weren’t able to make it all the way there. They shut off right before the Mall. This was due to the parade being thrown in honor of the Washington Nationals winning the MLB World Series earlier that day. The Mall was FULL of people in red t-shirts, hats, and jackets. At first we thought it was some type of MAGA event, until we looked closer.
In the proceeding hours, we walked the entire length of the Mall. Starting at The Capitol, and ending at Lincoln Memorial.
As we were leaving the Washington Monument, a low flying helicopter went right over our heads. 1 minute later it landed in the front lawn of The White House. Was in the President? We don’t know. I unwittingly was recording a video at the time.
So that was it. By then it was night time. We went home around 20:00 and arrived to a family style dinner prepared by Pete and his sous chefs.
Many stayed up to take advantage of the extra hour. Kayla and I went to bed to take advantage of the extra hour of sleep.
Another early start on Sunday. We had to check out of the Airbnb by 10:00. So we had to fit in showers, breakfast, and cleanup by then. Somehow we pulled it off and had the van loaded up by 9:45.
We attended church service at National Community Church held at Lincoln Theater. We arrived just a bit early for the 10:30 service. We congregated outside and took some pictures in the alley next door.
Service was absolutely beautiful. I wanted to take some pictures of the service, but I didn’t think it was appropriate. We were out around 12:00. We split up one last time for lunch and agreed that meet up at the van for 13:30. My group went to DC Noodles, just a few blocks down from the church. We shared a great meal and conversation. Afterwards we met at the van and made our way back to Brooklyn.
Overall this trip was a lot of fun. Sometimes it can be tricky traveling with a larger group. But everyone was able to stay unified throughout the trip. I look forward to traveling with this group again.