6 July. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

My flight didn’t leave until 5:30 pm and Sara nicely offered to drive me to the airport which meant we had time to do a bit more sightseeing. Jess came along too. We took a trip to Oxon Hill Farm where we wandered a bit and had a chance to take this senior portrait.
Here we are violating the rule “don’t touch any farm animals.” I thought it was a dumb rule.
Post farm, we drove into Baltimore because Jess heard that the Pizza was quite good at BOP Brick Oven Pizza. It was, but you know what else was good? The gelato shop down the street. I’ve not had gelato before–figuring that if you can have ice cream, why have gelato? Today I found my answer. It was de-lic-ious! Pitango gelato. Go there if you can. I had chocolate noir and creme fraishe which I recommend.
While in the gelato shop Sara saw a woman with a great hat. As we wandered through the shopping area I spied the very same hat in a hat store. We went in to look at the various great hats and chatted with the clerk, who was much nicer than the clerk in the clothes shop down the street who ignored us, which is why I don’t like to go into fancy clothes shops, aside from the fact that they don’t make clothing in my size. Anyway, this clerk was quite friendly and Sara bought a hat. “Would you like to wear it,” he asked, “so others can see it and come in here just as you did?” he asked. She said yes and she did.

On our way to the airport, we saw this billboard. I really liked what I saw of Baltimore and I would like to explore it more someday.
Because my navigation skills are good, but not superb, we got to drive through a good chunk of Baltimore. This was okay in my book because I wasn’t really excited about getting to the airport. We also got to play Sara’s “identify the denomination of the church” game which I’m not so good at, but is fun. We eventually got to the airport and posed for one last picture, with Sara in her new hat. Fetching, isn’t it?
I then entered the hell of airports, as evidenced by this incident. I was waiting in a line that was not moving and witnessed a woman in an American Airlines uniform, with an American Airlines lanyard and American Airlines ID tell a man, “I would love to help you, but I don’t work for American Airlines.”

I hate airlines.

So if someone could get to work on that transponder, I would be ever so happy.

Minus the airplanes it was a great trip. I came home proud to be an American.

5 July. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

After our long day and late night, I was happy that St Paul’s K street’s solemn mass isn’t until after 11:00. We went and I enjoyed the pageantry of the service. Post church we met up with Sara’s sister Jess and went to Chinatown and had “Fresh Noodle Made on the Spot.”
I met up with Jenna at The Building Museum. I was pretty excited to see Portland was featured in the Green Community exhibit. Oh look! We’re even in the picture on this page of the website. There was also a great exhibit about storefront churches.

I bid goodbye to Jenna and decided to take another attempt at the National Museum of the American Indian. On the way, I took this picture of the capitol.
I love the beauty of the American Indian museum’s building. All the undulating lines make it interesting to photograph and fun to look at. You can see more pictures by scrolling down to the bottom of this link.
I never thought I would say this, but I was pretty museumed out. I went to look at the food court, which I heard was fabulous and which looked delicious, but I was still full from “Fresh Noodle.” I wandered through two gift shops buying some last souvenirs. Then I wandered across the exhibit “Ramp it Up” about the skateboarding culture in Native America. Because I have always had a soft spot in my heart for skaters, I loved this exhibit.
I took the Metro back to Sara & Shawn’s and I entirely checked out, missed my stop by a couple of stops and had to double back. That has never happened to me on any public transportation system. Ever. I was pretty tired. We (S&S along with Jess) lounged around a bit and then went to see Vertigo at this Diner. Both Sara and I were thinking “Diner in front, movie theater in back,” but no, there was not theater, just a small screen and a projector in enclosed deck out front. When it got time for the movie, they loaded it up and turned on the sound. It was kind of bizarre. But fun. I’d seen the movie before, but still gasped in surprise as the nun rounded the corner at the end.

It was a good last full day of my trip.

4 July. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

We (that would be Shawn, Sara and myself) started today with the parade. Always a good start to a day, in my opinion. In the parade there were many different people of many different ethnicities in many different traditional costumes as below. There were marching bands. See Sara’s write up of the day to hear about our favorite marching band which we also ran across later in the evening enjoying the fireworks on the mall. You can also see them at the parade in this link. They were great!

The parade itself was interesting, but the spectators were very silent. It was kind of weird.
After the parade, we walked back to St. Paul’s K Street, where we had parked and picked up our picnic lunch. We walked over to the Kennedy Center, where they have nice picnic tables that anyone can sit at, and had our 4th of July feast. You are looking at a BLT, beet and goat cheese salad, potato salad and a delicious broccoli walnut salad. Dessert was blueberry peach cobbler and whipped cream. Yummy! Sara and Shawn need to move to Portland so Sara and I can cook for each other.
We wandered down through the Folklife Festival towards the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and arrived just at closing time. We wandered back toward the Washington Monument. I took this picture, because in DC, they cleverly use buses to block off roads during events. Then, when the event is over, they can just put the buses into circulation. Genius.
We got to the Monument pretty early and just sat and chilled out for awhile. There were naps taken by some of us, and a lot of people watching happened. Sara and I went to find food at some point, but the lines were very, very long so we abstained. We took this picture of me in front of the monument. We heard an awful band play a concert. I noticed that certain “I’m a patriot sacrificing for my country” songs are a bit whiny. They seem like they are all proud, but underneath you can hear the whine.
Eventually darkness fell and I got this picture of the monument. The fireworks started. We were dazzled. Then came the walk back to the car and the very tricky maneuver that bypassed the traffic and got us home in minutes instead of hours.
It was a lovely fourth!

3 July. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

Not many pictures today, as the majority of the day was spent traveling to Silver Spring to visit my Aunt Merle, who lives in a retirement community there. I had left my Zipcar card at home (drat) and so could not reserve one to drive and see her, so I depended on the Metro to get me there. It did, much to my amazement, though it was a bit more than a 90 minute journey each way. This is the road leading to the retirement community. While there, I neglected to take a picture with Aunt Merle. (double drat)
One of the houses on the way back. I liked the decorative wood in this carport.

Sara lives in this tall building. The one in the middle of the picture, not the one closest to me. By the time I got home, it had started to rain, a bit. In the afternoon, I hung around and helped (a little) while Sara prepared for our 4th of July picnic.

In the evening Sara, Shawn and I went to the very fancy and delicious Restaurant Eve, where Sara’s sister works. I had a delightful dinner including a poached duck egg with prosciutto and croutons as well as bouillabaisse for my entree. My dessert was quite fabulous, being a house made “Butterfinger” which was about 400 times more delicious than any Butterfinger I’ve eaten (and about twenty times more expensive.)

If you squint you can see Sara and I in the restaurant. We opted for the stealthy, no flash picture.

2 July. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

On this day, Sara, was kind enough to drive me to Leesburg to visit my childhood friend. That’s us there, myself, Becky and her son, Thompson. As you may guess from the picture, Thompson is about to have a new brother. It was a lovely visit, I hadn’t seen Becky since her wedding in 2000. I also really like this picture. Double thanks, Sara.
Becky gave us directions to lunch which we found quite easily once I realized that we weren’t lost at all, I was just reading the Mapquest directions incorrectly. I liked that the Hunter’s Head advertised Beef Liver & Onions right on their sign. As if that is something people often look for in a restaurant.

After lunch (I had Colcannon) we stopped to take a picture of this lovely church.
We drove to Oatlands, but were not super inclined to take the tour. We wandered the grounds but were not allowed past this point without tickets. So this is my picture of the house. You can see the actual house on the link.
Returning home, I got to go to Costco with Sara and Shawn. It was pretty interesting. They introduced me to the “spot the diplomat corps car” game, and the parking lot was one you had to pay to park, unless you got your parking stub validated. I’ve never seen that in conjunction with a Costco. Costco itself is always a bit overwhelming to me–all that large quantity of food–so that was a tourist attraction in and of itself.

What took the cake (took the chocolate slab?) was the large, solid chocolates molded in the form of the Pentagon. They had them in the shape of the US Capitol and the White House, which I get, but would you want a solid chocolate form of the Pentagon? That place where wars are planned and executed? It’s a little odd.

After Costco, the three of us attended Away We Go. Our ticket seller was perhaps part snail; he was the slowest clerk I’ve encountered in a long time.

1 July. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

Man, keeping today to five photos is brutal. Brutal! But I did it.

Today was the switchover day; I moved from Jenna’s place to Sara and Shawn’s place. (You might know them from their very cool blog Pike Schemes) Before I left Jenna’s place, I wandered down to the C & O Canal. That canal is pretty small. I’ve always felt that the canal got the short shift in transportation history. It seemed like by the time they got them built, we had moved on to a better method of transport.

At any rate, walking down to the canal gave me more chances to take pictures of Georgetown houses. I loved this group of houses, because each house had different ornamentation. Each of these doors was very different from its neighbor.

Gaslights! These were an unexpected find.
Today was the day of our personal tour of the Library of Congress. This was incredible, and something I will never forget. Sara had an “in” with Tori, who has worked at the Library of Congress for 31 years. She took us all over the Library, places that normal tourists aren’t allowed to go. I was thrilled to see things I’d heard about when I was growing up. I love libraries, and getting to go behind the scenes at the A-1 library in the US was indescribable.

The dome in the main reading room.

Tori explains something to Sara and Shawn. She was incredibly enthusiastic about her building. She showed us where her first desk in her first job was, and told us how, during the great renovation, the librarians would wait until the construction workers left for the day, and then at 3:01 they would run down to see what had been uncovered. Most of the library, when she first started working there, was horrible 60s drop ceilings and linoleum floors.

At some point in my past, I watched a filmstrip or an educational film about the Library of Congress. I can clearly recall seeing footage of their “modern” book moving system. It isn’t so modern any more, but I was thrilled to see it in person, then to get to go downstairs and see it from below. Other things we saw: the stacks, the old card catalogs and all four galleries, even the ones that aren’t open to the public.
Have I mentioned that this was the coolest day ever? If you want more pictures, you can see Sara’s post about the day. She didn’t limit herself to five pictures, and she is a good photographer.

After the Library of Congress, we took the secret tunnel into the Capitol Visitors Center where we wandered around looking at the exhibits. Then dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill.

30 June. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

I’m a pretty active person. I live in a city and am car free, so I run, I walk, I bike to work. Every time I have to go to the store, I’m usually on foot. I like to walk. But touring around Washington DC, man that was a lot of walking. I knew it, of course, and brought sensible (yet cute) shoes. But I wasn’t prepared for the blisters. My little toe, at the start of day four was all blister. I couldn’t help but think of the many Americans whose major daily exercise is walking 100 feet from their car to their office each day. When they come to Washington DC, how do they fare?
I took the Metro to the Union Station stop and walked to the Supreme Court. The trains were crowded, and I was enjoying my book, so I made the decision not to fight my way onto the train I was supposed to be on. This meant that I missed the Supreme Court Tour, which was disappointing, but I did wander though the self-guided tour. I then visited the Folger Shakespeare Library and had a great egg salad sandwich at Pete’s Diner. Outside the Supreme Court were a group of people protesting the death penalty. As I waited for the bus, I listened to this protester discuss the death penalty with a passerby. It was an interesting conversation. She had some questions about the death penalty, and also some questions about the protesters. I learned that many of them are on a hunger strike, though not this gentleman.
I took the 96 bus across town to get to the National Cathedral. I love taking buses in cities. You get to see so many things you wouldn’t see in a car or subway. The bus was pretty empty, as evidenced by this picture, but the passenger you can see was also a bus driver, so I gathered from his conversation with the bus driver. He discussed all sorts of things, including his glee in motorists who pass him illegally and then get pulled over by the police.
Jenna and I had reservations for the Tea and Tour of the National Cathedral, and I was early, so I sat in the Bishop’s Garden and finished my book, while ignoring the leaf blower sounds. Our tour, lead by tour guide Myrna, was fabulous and Myrna was a kick. I have many lovely pictures of the cathedral because there are so many lovely things in the cathedral.
This part of the cathedral inspired the most glee. Every aspect of the building was sponsored by someone. And they all had their names carved elegantly in stone to recognize them.
After tea, Jenna and I walked on Wisconsin Avenue through Georgetown where we had a bit of dinner. Back at her home we rested for a bit, before heading out to see the Monuments at Night.

29 June. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

My day started with an aborted attempt to visit my Aunt Merle via car (Jenna’s.) The combination of “not my car,” “not my city,” “rush hour traffic” overwhelmed me and I returned home about 30 minutes after I set out. I’d gone maybe a quarter of a mile. After recovering from that event, I shifted to a “From the White House to Foggy Bottom” walk.

My first stop was the DAR Museum. They have these awesome period rooms which were incredibly fun and which I have no picture of because I’m on a picture budget, here. I had a great docent, and I loved the whole concept of each state decorating a room–it reminded me of the suites at Cottey.

I was starving after the tour, and I asked the volunteer in the gift shop if there was anywhere to eat, as sometimes in tourist areas the choices are really expensive pretzels, pizza and ice cream bars, or a hideously overpriced restaurant with bland food. The volunteer directed me across the street to the Red Cross headquarters where I ate in their employee cafeteria. The food was cheap and delicious and I was thrilled I asked.
I then went looking for the Zero Milestone. I was almost as excited to see it as I was to see the period rooms. But it seems that people think that the zero milestone is there to place things as they take pictures of the White House. This amused and annoyed me, simultaneously.
I wandered through the Renwick Gallery, and the other side of the White House, where I loved Larry’s Fuente’s Game Fish, mostly because the fins were made out of the exact same comb I’ve been using since childhood. There was a fabulous piece that was a carved cabinet, which they don’t mention on their website, but I loved.

After the Renwick, I wandered past the other side of the White House and into the visitor’s center, before walking down to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I broke my rule of only going to places I hadn’t been before, but I justified this visit because they have just done a huge renovation, and so it was new to me.

I saw some good exhibits, “Within These Walls” was very interesting, and I loved visiting Julia Child’s kitchen. In a past boring job, with ample time on my hands, I read the entire Julie/Julia project blog and I love Julia Child’s enthusiasm. My favorite part of this exhibit was the TV they had playing with snippets of Julia Child’s cooking shows. People would just sit and watch her for the longest time. Young people, old people. It was a testament to her charisma.
On my way home, I ducked into this place for dinner. I had the best Greek salad I’ve ever eaten and the owner was nice to chat with too. Also, a blue Lamborghini parked on the street near where I was sitting and it caused a bit of commotion: Random guy walking down the street talking on his cell phone, “and so I…Hey! It’s a Lamborghini! A blue one!” He took pictures, other passersby took pictures. It was an event. But the DC cafe? The best Greek Salad I’ve ever had. Remember that.

The trains were not running up to speed for most of my visit. They were still dealing with the aftermath from the big crash in June and so trains were late, or absent. Here is my photo montage of my choice to wait for the next train.

28 June. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

Also known as the “wander” day.

I started with church at All Soul’s Church, Unitarian, in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. I walked there from Jenna’s place and enjoyed seeing the urban setting. Adams Morgan reminded me of Boston, a bit.

Church was great. Their choir was small (perhaps a summer choir) and had the most amazing cantor. I connected with the sermon, At Theodore Parker’s Grave, in which the minister “outed” himself as a Unitarian nerd. You can listen to it by going here and scrolling down to June 28.
After church I wandered down to the start of my walking tour through DuPont Circle and Kalorama. On the way I discovered this Adams Morgan Heritage Trail, which I followed for a bit. I wish I would have known about these Heritage Trails in the planning stage. I would have made a point to follow them. There are nine of them! For those who are planning trip to DC, you can find the information here.
On that trail, I saw this spot. You may not recognize it right off, but what if I said “March 30, 1981?” How about “Washington Hilton?” What if I said “John Hinckley?”
Did you get it? It is the site of the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan!

I had some time to kill, before I went on the Textile Museum’s tour, so I spent it in this park, reading. That was a nice respite.
There are tons of huge houses in this area. Most are embassies, but you could purchase this one for me, if you would like.

Also on this day, I visited the Phillips Collection and Jenna and I went out to dinner at the Brickskeller Inn, where they have a multi-paged beer menu.

27 June. Five pictures from my Washington DC trip.

Eastern Market, Congressional Cemetery & Smithsonian Folk life Festival

Jenna (my roommate from the Electric Ave. house in Somerville) picked me up at the airport, drove me to her place in DC, set up a very comfortable inflatable mattress and went out to purchase my breakfast items the next morning. What a host.

After breakfast was taken care of, we set out for Eastern Market. The market had just reopened after a renovation due to fire, and was very crowded. We wandered through the flea market where I bought an awesome photo. I would like to buy more photos from this vendor, but there is no information along with the photo about how to do so. Also, the photographer’s signature is not legible. I just searched through all of the Eastern Market vendors listed on the website, and can’t find this one. The first name looks like it starts with an “M” and the last name an “R”. Maybe someday I will figure it out, but until then, I will have to remain content with the photo I have.

Jenna and I ran into her sweetheart Gus (proving that the biggest city is a small town,) and the three of us went to lunch. Afterward, we walked to Congressional Cemetery.

There seem to be a lot of cemetery references on the blog, lately, but what can I say? They are just such cool places. Some highlights:

Cenotaphs. When members of congress died in Washington DC they were buried here, or transported elsewhere and memorialized here. Back in high school, my friend Heather and I were big fans of Henry Clay. We thought he should have been president. So it was pretty exciting to see his cenotaph. This design was used until 1870, when the practice was discontinued.

I love the sculpture of this marker.

Tom “Gator” Swann isn’t dead yet, but he wants you to know he is a proud gay veteran.

This was my favorite grave. You can’t see it very well in this picture, but this says:
Look it up!

Just for fun, I just googled her name and came up with the woman herself. How exciting.

After the cemetery, Jenna and I bid adieu to Gus and wandered through Wales at the Smithsonian Folklife festival. We saw this famous Welsh cook show us how to make vegetarian sausage. She was quite funny and the food looked delicious. She was not allowed to let the audience taste the food, a fact which she lamented several times.
Having our fill of Wales, we went back to Jenna’s where we cooked an amazing dinner and hung out in the rooftop garden.

It was a lovely day.