independence day, maryland in july

north carolina wildflowers

With the 4th of July falling on a Monday this year, Eric and I both had a long weekend off work and decided to visit my parents (and Uncle George visiting from England) up in Maryland. We packed our suitcases early so we could throw them in the (new!) car after work Friday and get on the road before sunset. It’s a long drive, so we got there in time to unpack the car and tell everyone goodnight.

Mom cooked breakfast at the house Saturday and we headed out to Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Fort McHenry is known for holding strong against the British during the War of 1812 and inspiring Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became the National Anthem. The flag flying “by the dawn’s early light” was the Great Garrison Flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, which they still fly there 24/7. We arrived just in time to see the special reenactment of the historic guards and fife and drum bands in the center courtyard that the site put on for the holiday weekend. Can you tell I loved everything about this? We went for a walking tour into the old buildings after the show, then down into the underground bomb shelters and up¬†around the maze of walls on the waterfront before calling it a day.

eric and jess pendergrass

fort mchenry national monument entrance sign

Great Garrison Flag flying over Fort McHenry

The next morning we went into Washington, DC for the afternoon, catching the end of the Metrorail and riding the train into the city. We grabbed lunch at a local pizza place before walking over the the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian to admire the old war birds and new satellites. My dad was in the Air Force and is a natural storyteller, so he’s the perfect tour guide to have with you in a museum full of planes. The five of us took a short ride over to Georgetown to pop into a few stores. It started to rain, so we crammed into Georgetown Cupcakes for a to-go box of whatever they had left and caught the train back home.

planes at the National Museum of Air and Space at the Smithsonian

cigar store in Georgetown

box of cupcakes outside pink Sprinkles Cupcakes storefront in Georgetown

Once the actual holiday came around on Monday morning, we were packing up the car and bracing ourselves for a long, long, drive home and a night spent indoors with a fireworks-shy dog. It’s always fun to visit my parents, but it seems extra special to also be near the nation’s capital on Independence Day. What a fun weekend!