There are goods and bads to living close to DC. Good: You have a lot to see and its so accessible. Bad: Everyone ELSE wants to see it to. So, often in order to see an exhibit or have a tour, you have to get to DC early.
Its difficult to get anywhere in DC quickly - and we live 30 miles out - adding to the delays.
I arranged months ago for us with our congressional office to have a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing - where they print money! The kicker: The tour was at 8:45. In order for us to GUARANTEE that we would be in DC in time for 8:45, we left the house just after 6:30AM. That is MIGHTY EARLY for us! On a bad traffic day, it can take that entire time to get into the city. On a good day, not so much. Today was a good day. We drove across the bridge into the city at 7:30 and found a parking lot by 7:45. At least there weren't lines at the BEP.
It was fascinating to see the steps that the paper goes through to become money. Its a multi-step process done on a HUGE scale - for example, one pallate of paper going through one machine was printing $32,000,000. They were having a rough day though - one machine jammed in 3 different places while we were watching and in another room, they had the huge magnifying glass out and a supervisor on the floor and they were scrutizing a sheet of bills.
All in all, a nice tour. We drove around a few streets in DC after our tour, and saw the Supreme Court building and the Library of Congress. We checked out a couple of other buildings that we were curious to their purpose. We then headed out to take Mike to the airport for what I hope is his last trip / conference for a while! Then we all came home and napped!