Washington, D.C.

Over Labor Day weekend, we traveled to our Nation’s capitol.  This was my fourth trip and The Hubs’ first.   One of my greatest trips ever was when I was twenty-three and accompanied mom to D.C. where she had a conference.  I was left to my own devices and wandered all the art museums and galleries during the day.   I loved it.  (The other two trips were accompanying students…enough said.)

Let me say, that this trip rivals that first trip and exceeds it!

Like Boston and Philadelphia, this trip was a meet-up with my Sis and one of the nephews, Nephew II to be exact.   While Sis conferenced and presented all day, The Hubs and I took NII all over.  It was great to have this new 7th grader in tow.

Here’s what we visited:

  • Air & Space Musuem
  • National Gallery
  • Hirshorn (and Sculpture Garden)
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • National Archives
  • Library of Congress
  • Capitol Building
  • Longworth Building
  • Udvar-Hazy Center
  • World War II Memorial
  • Vietnam Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Botanical Garden
  • Bartholdi Park
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • “The Castle”

We walked tens of thousands of steps almost everyday.   Our hotel (The Omni Shoreham) was about a block away from a metro stop, but still, we walked a lot!  🙂

Based on my previous trips, I have always said that The National Gallery was my favorite place on earth (with the Hirshorn coming in at a close second).  The National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum are now my favorite places on earth.   We visited here twice.  Not only is the Kehinde Wiley Obama portrait on display here along with Michelle’s portrait (by Amy Sherald), but also portraits of Clinton and JFK that I had never seen.  

There was an “Art-o-matic” in the Luce Foundation area.  This part of the museum(s) is an open archive, storage and restoration center.  AMAZING!  It’s a fascinating place and I hate to admit that we were quite fascinated with the art vending machine, almost as much as we were with our other surroundings.

Even though it was a long after dinner trek for us, it was well worth visiting the WWII Memorial at night.

The Udvar-Hazy Center is located near Dulles and is part of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  I hate to overuse “amazing” in this post, but there’s really no other word.  This journey was definitely worth the $40 slightly erratic Uber ride there and the two hour bus/metro ride back.  Highlights include the Discovery space shuttle, many Apollo 11 artifacts and exhibits, the Enola Gay, a Concord and thousands of other planes along with another great curated restoration area.  (Note that the only food options here is McDonalds and you will want to plan a whole day for the excursion.)  Worth it!

The Library of Congress was celebrating “200 Years of  Walt Whitman.”  The group was not intrigued by this exhibit so I literally had to run by and peruse it quickly.

Junípero Serra (Statuary Hall Collection)

I’m not sure that I had ever toured the capitol.  (If I had it was on that first trip and it was so long ago I don’t remember.)   We were able to get sort of VIP tickets from a congressional office.  (Don’t get excited, that just meant we didn’t have to stand in line.)   Our tour guide was so knowledgeable.  I don’t think we could have stumped him with any of our questions.

Inside and out of the botanical garden was, again, amazing!  

I will say that we do own a few cacti that I did not see there.  🙂   But, I now want a papaya tree.

A couple of let downs from our trip:

The original Air & Space Museum (on the Mall) did not live up to The Hubs’ expectations.   Granted it was in the middle of a huge addition (and hopefully remodeling), but nothing much had changed since my trip of thirty years ago.  (I’m definitely glad we made the trip out to the Udvar-Hazy Center to see all the exhibits there.  That was the highlight of both The Hubs and NII’s trip.)   Another expectation that wasn’t met was our visit to The American Indian Museum.  The architecture of this building is fantastic and beautiful but there just wasn’t a lot inside.   We have been trying since the trip to summarize our feelings.  The best we can do is that because we live in Oklahoma and have grown up surrounded by amazing cultural tribal events and museums like PhilbrookGilcrease and Woolaroc that our expectations were indeed higher than most.    The food inside The American Indian Museum was some of the best we ate the entire trip (on and off The Mall).

Speaking of food, it was not the highlight of the trip.  We just didn’t have time to seek out any spectacular places and most of the time we were eating for sustenance only to sustain our hikes!  (If you’re interested in any of the food or more reviews, you can check out my Yelp page.)

I want to end the post with the somber, humbling, and thought-provoking memorials.

Everyone should visit D.C. at least once to experience the majesty, the power, the glory and most importantly to remember.

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