Guiding: Breakfast, Chompers and the Babe

One Hell of an Omelet

After seven years as a DC city guide I have long since grown accustomed to clients arriving here with some odd notions about touring, including some strange itineraries; this week, though, was a keeper.

Here’s an (obvious) tip: the closer you stay to the city the more time you have to tour because your travel time is shorter.


My group, 41 precious and smart fourth-grade girls and their chaperones, were staying quite close in at a hotel near the Pentagon.

As we toured the first day I was talking about the schedule for the following one when I suggested that based on their hotel it would make a lot of sense to head to Mount Vernon first thing.

The group leader agreed, adding that it would have to be after breakfast.

“No problem, I said, “We are in a great position.”

That’s when she informed me that breakfast was in Manassas, Virginia.

That’s the rough equivalent of staying in Times Square and going to Queens for a bagel.

This must be some breakfast place, I thought.

Can you say “Golden Corral”?

There goes two hours of touring time as we schlep to the hinterlands for french toast and bacon.

The Chompers

These kids were smart, constantly coming up with facts about whatever site we were visiting.

Since we were a group of young ladies I concentrated on women’s history as we made our way about.

At ten years old they knew the story of Rosa Parks and the bus boycott.

At the US Memorial Holocaust Museum they told me the tragic story of Anne Frank.

At the Portrait Gallery I showed them the painting of women US Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elana Kagan and, of course, Sandra Day O’Connor. We talked about the justices again at Arlington Cemetery.

The Four Justices

One of the students, Sophie, was especially likely to share a fact or an insight.

When we were at the FDR Memorial we walked to the statue of Mrs. Roosevelt and I asked them who it was?

Nearly in unison they shouted “Eleanor.”

I then asked them what they knew about her and Sophie’s hand shot up.

I said, “Go ahead.”

“She had big teeth.”

Very right and very hilarious.

The Babe

The last day we toured Capitol Hill, took the tunnel over to the Jefferson building of the Library of Congress and stopped by the exterior of the US Supreme Court building on a beautiful, sunny, and chilly Saturday.

Standing on the steps we went over the number of justices, the few requirements to serve on the court and length of service.

Testing retention, I asked them if they could name any of the women justices we had talked about.

A hand shoots up and I say “go.”

“Babe Ruth”, the student says.


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