Thursday, April 28, 2016

Washington sights and sounds

A bit of the National Air & Space Museum
Marc and I sought advice before we headed off to Washington D.C.
We asked a son-in-law who had served a mission there what to see and where to go. We asked another one and a son who had visited or spent quality time there what were the best attractions. We asked a friend who was a page in Congress what we should see first and what we could skip if time ran out. Everyone was agreed on one thing. We had to go in prepared.
The Spirit of St. Louis, open a window and hang out!
There's too much to do and see to be wasting any time pondering once you arrive.
We ended up with a top 10 list that included seeing the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument.
We had six days and good shoes.
We wrote ahead and got reservations to see The White House. We made an appointment to tour the Capitol.
We bought SmartTrip passes for the Metro.
So at 7 a.m. on the first day we toured The White House, saw the Blue Room, the Green Room, the State Dining Room and the White House china.
Then we trudged across the rainy streets to the Capitol where we walked through miles of underground tunnels until we found our Utah congressman and a helpful albeit surprised intern who took us on the nickel tour. (They'd lost our e-mail.)
Brigham and friends
We saw the two statues that supposedly represent Utah: Brigham Young and Philo Farnsworth (excuse me, but Philo is from Rigby, Idaho)!
We rented a couple of red bikes from the BikeShare rack and headed along the Potomac River to the National Mall where we climbed a lot of stairs to see Lincoln and Jefferson.
We ducked when we realized our bike path was directly in line with planes landing and taking off from the Reagan National Airport. They were so close!
We visited the National Archives where we could see the actual Declaration of Independence signed boldly by my great-great-(many more greats-)uncle John Hancock. It's a little faded but so very historic.
We ducked out of the rain and into the Castle at the Smithsonian and saw all kinds of cool things. It's a great primer for the rest of the museums, kind of a Cliff Notes version.
At the Air & Space Museum we saw the foods astronauts eat, the sleeping bags stuck with Velcro to the wall, the big and little planes, the hot air balloons and toys inspired by the space shuttle.
We saw a huge tarantula in the Museum of Natural History, the Hope Diamond and the original Wright Brother's airplane.
We stared soberly at the thousands of grave markers in the Arlington National Cemetery, visited the Kennedy graves.
We spent a day going back in time at Mount Vernon, seeing the land and the river and the vegetation as it was when Washington lived there.
We learned about Washington's teeth and the reasons he never really smiled. (He struggled with dental problems his whole life.)
We visited Ford's Theater.
Everywhere we went there was something riveting to see and to understand.
Marc loved the information, the detail and the rooms full of exhibits.
Look out below!

He would have been happy just to immerse himself in the history.
I was happy that I got to see the exhibit of The First Lady's dresses from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama!

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