Thursday, October 31, 2013

DC Day 4

Day 4 of my 5 days here in DC.  Tomorrow is my last day to explore and I already feel a little sad to be leaving.  

The day was overcast but temperatures were in the low 70's and the fall colors are still with us.

 First stop

Photo of Ford’s Theater taken by Matthew Brady some time before the assassination

I’m so glad I returned today after finding the landmark closed on Tuesday.  The theater and its attendant museum were, no surprise, fascinating.  The museum contained several of Lincoln’s personal belongings.  

And also the murder weapon.  Very small, easily concealed.   

Seeing the theater gives one a sense of scale that no written account can provide.  

Best of all, the Presidential Box was open!  The docent explained that it’s usually always closed because of the crowds but today there were only a few of us, so we got to peek into the box from the door that Booth used. 

Appropriately, my next stop was the Lincoln Memorial.

Shortly before this photo was taken, I had left my backpack unattended for 2 minutes about 12 feet away, though never out of my sight.  Next thing I knew, the Capitol police quite literally pounced on it!  They rummaged through it ferociously and were hauling it off.  I quickly claimed it and they gruffly warned me never to do that again. Then they swooped away. 

I guess all that criminal activity made me hungry so I stopped here for a quick lunch.

Then it was on to the Korean War Memorial with its haunting sculptures. 

The FDR Memorial is new since we were last here.  It’s situated in a serene spot on the edge of the Tidal Basin.

With this view of the Jefferson Memorial across the water

There were several vignettes depicting the times

And beautiful features like this

And the main feature

The sculptor really captured little Fala.  And all terriers the world over! 

I probably walked for 2 hours, all told, and was ready to return home earlier than usual and prop my feet up.  

Rain is in the forecast tonight and tomorrow.  My plan for my last tourist day is to spend it at the National Archives. 

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DC Day 3

Another satisfying day exploring Capitol City. 

The bus didn’t show up this morning so I got a ride with some very nice people from British Columbia who are staying in the park.  They are a long way from home!  Their plans are to head to Florida and make their way back home up the West coast.  Whoa – now that’s a road trip!

So, I started out here.

When I was on the subway, I was about to look up the address to the White House until I remembered that I already knew it!

The tours are very limited now.  But I took the tour way back when Jimmy Carter was living there.  However, the National Park Passport books didn’t exist then so I stepped into the Visitor’s Center and got my stamp.

The on to Arlington National Cemetery.

The day began gray and drizzly but, at Arlington, the sun came out, only adding to the beauty, and I walked for a long time.

Next I visited Arlington House, former plantation and the home of Robert E. Lee until the War.   

The house overlooks JFK's grave site.

Lee married the great-granddaughter of Martha Custis Washington and inherited the property upon his father-in-law's death.

The Park Ranger explains the family trees.

The Lees loved their home - they were married in the front parlor and 6 of their 7 children were born upstairs.  

Our docent points to an overhead fresco

But once Lee made the wrenching decision to fight for Virginia, Arlington was lost to him forever. Before the War had ended, soldiers were already being buried in the 1,100 acres of the Lee's former land that eventually became Arlington National Cemetery.  

The tour was brief but notable for the many original pieces in the house.  

Then I visited the Women’s Military Museum.  It was especially interesting to learn about the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps.  The most successful recruiting program of the entire war - in the five years it existed 124,000 women were paid to attend nursing school.

This issue of Life was released just 4 weeks after Pearl Harbor.  Can you see the caption?
Wanted: 50,000 Nurses.

The museum focused on the contribution of women in wartime including, of course, Vietnam.

Not sure what I'll be up to tomorrow but I definitely want to give Ford's Theater another try.  

Till then ....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DC Day 2

A bit of a slow start today.  I was so tired last night that I turned the alarm off and slept till I woke up.  Ahhhh!  Then some housekeeping: filled the water tanks, dumped the black and grey tanks, and shopped in the campground store.  Boarded the bus about 11:30.  After my marathon day yesterday, I decided to take it relatively easy.  

Here’s one reason I love collecting NP Passport stamps.  I might never have visited this museum otherwise. 

It was fantastic!  Not only are the exhibits fascinating, they are so well-done.  There are many hands-on stations that make learning fun.  The museum includes much more than I can convey in a blog post, so I’ll just say – if you are in DC, make time to go!  There were only a handful of tourists.  In fact, the employees outnumbered us. 

Stunning architectural details throughout

Feel what it’s like to drive a Freightliner; something I've always wanted to do.  This way, no one got hurt. 

Design your own stamp. 

It was a hoot!  And I learned about Postal Mascot, Owney.  

Here’s his story for all you dog lovers in general and terrier-mix lovers in particular:

Next, I moved on to Ford’s Theater which is closed until Thursday.  Bummer!  However, I was able to tour the Peterson House across the street where Lincoln died.  

Unlike the theater, the house has always been preserved.  The room where Lincoln drew his last breath feels almost haunted. 

View of Ford's from the upstairs window of the Peterson House

A 3-story tower composed of Lincoln books

Then it was home again.  I did the commute during rush hour and didn’t get back to the GDB until almost 6.  Hot shower tonight.  

Back at it tomorrow!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monument City Day 1

Hello from ….

A beautiful day on Capitol Hill!

While waiting on the bus here at the RV park, I met Wilma from Oregon.  We rode the same bus to the same subway car to the same stop and had a great time talking.

Wilma shows me how the Metro card is done. 

My first stop

National Gallery of Art

I’ve always loved the Dutch Masters.  The last time I was here 3 out of the 4 Vermeers were away on loan.  They were all present today and I gawked for a good long while.  Sorry - no photos, but if you’ve seen Vermeer’s work you know how the canvases seem illuminated from within.  Pictures don't do his paintings justice.  

The Washington Monument has changed a lot since I was here last:

I've never seen so many passport stamps as here at the Washington Monument bookstore.  I counted 23!

Then it was on to

where Pop Culture was the theme for the day

Archie Bunker's chair, Bob Dylan's leather jacket, Ali's gloves, and Apollo Ono's skates

The original Kermit.  Made from Jim Hansen's mother's old winter coat.

No caption necessary

I really enjoyed this exhibit

I appreciated it on a personal level too because I lived through this transformation, as many of you did.  From the tired old Campbell soup casseroles, followed by a pear with a dollop of mayo for desert, to today's global cuisine.  

As the exhibit makes clear, the contribution of Julia Child to America's food revolution can't be overstated.

The kitchen 

the cookbooks (only 2 were hers)

the beloved copper pots and pans.

Though I have to say I'm really uncomfortable with seeing so many familiar items in a museum

Remember these?

I mean, c'mon ...... it wasn't that long ago was it?

A hugely satisfying day.  Can't wait to go back for more tomorrow!

As Judy would say ....

The End.