Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nov 10/11

Thursday, November 10/11 Cloudy - 58 degrees
Metro to Alexandria, Amtrak to Baltimore airport ($27 today vs. $51 on Sunday night for same trip). Flew at 1 PM with few bumps to Buffalo. Picked up car ($39 for parking). Fueled at Smoking Jo's in Sanborn, NY ($3.41 for $51 fill-up), over Lewiston bridge ($3.25) to visit Ellie Lech in St Catherines and another stop in TO at the Marsdens homestead and home in Lakefield by 9:20 PM.
Impressions of Washington:
Beautiful city - so much to see. Helped that I had perfect weather and the trees were turning colors - dropped back into fall for these few days.
Conservative city - tons of office workers - no wild clothing or hair - young workforce - not many old people around.
Lots of runners around city - on The Mall
Most workers - security and police. Purse checking and xray machines in almost every building.
Need to go back - did not do Supreme Court or the Art Museums
Great to visit with Tom and being spoiled with nice accommodations and dining.

Wednesday, November 9/11

Wed. Nov 9/11 Sunny 66 degrees
Metro to L'enfant Plaza and stroll over to the Library of Congress (Jefferson Building) - another beautiful building - tour of The Great Hall, Main Reading Room and Jefferson Library Room. Saw the Giant Bible of Mainz (Germany) - written by hand by monk on parchment in the mid 1450's and the Gutenburg Bible - first book printed with movable metal type (only one of three perfect vellum copies in existence.) Strolled over to Madison Library and got my LOC Library Card - good for 2 years and now I can go into the special reading rooms. Watched some "I Love Lucy" clips from a exhibit that was there.
Walked to Air and Space Museum - amazing place but teaming with school kids. Had lunch salad at the McDonalds on site. Over to the White House Visitors Centre and watched film. Walked by historical Willard Hotel and stopped in fancy Lobby there. The Trolley Tour driver said that presidents would meet with influential citizens in this lobby - origin of "Lobbying".
Strolled by the Treasury Dept Bldg. and Sherman Park Monument in front. Saw the White House from the street but any tour has to be booked months in advance.
Walked back to The Mall and toured the 3 floors of the Museum of American History - liked the bones exhibit - dealing with death mysteries, and Julia Child's kitchen and Bradford Doll House.
Then next door to tour the first floor of the Museum of Natural History that I missed yesterday. Back to Metro by 5:30 PM and dinner at Outback Restaurant with Tom. Hot Tub again - legs and feet were very weary by this 3 day tourist blitz. Packing for going home.

Washington DC Nov 8/11

Tuesday, November 8/11 Sunny 67 degrees
Metro to L"Enfant Plaza and walked over to Capital Building and did 9 AM tour. Beautiful building - incredible tower. Had very knowledgeable tour guide - older woman from Pennsylvannia who treated our group of 20 like she was a sargeant major - but in a nice way. Then back down the street to the National Botanical Garden Greenhouse and Gardens. Blitzed the Museum of the American Indian and enjoyed the temporary exhibit there entitled "A Song of the Horse Nation". It is a beautiful new building on The Mall shaped like a Southwestern Mesa. Walked over to Union Station for lunch in the Food Court there. Toured National Postal Museum after lunch and heard about the Pony Express and Owney the Postal Dog- now stuffed there. Interesting place.
Then back to The Mall and visited the National Archives - to see the original Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Next stop was the Natural History Museum - 2nd floor to go through the Bufferfly Exhibit - free on Tuesdays - I know how to plan. Also saw the Hope Diamond. No time for the first floor - come back tomorrow. Back to the Metro and off at Alexandria to meet Tom, had a quick Chipotle Grill supper and then a ghost and graveyard tour from their Visitor's Centre - Ramsay House. Lovely clear evening with the moon almost full. Alexandria is also home to the George Washington Masonic Memorial Temple (mentioned in the Dan Brown book - "Angels and Demons".) After the tour -back to the hotel and the hot tub.

Washington DC Nov 6-10/11

Mary Travels to Washington DC Nov 6/11
Since son Tom works in Washington DC a week a month I thought I would take this opportunity to visit with Tom and share his hotel room to have a home base to explore Washington DC - hadn't been there before. Don decided not to go with me because he had been to Washington on a tour when Tom was in Air Cadets.
On Sunday, Nov 6/11 I drove down to Buffalo Airport and flew Southwest to Baltimore Airport ( little over an hour flight) for cost of $159.40 return. I took the Amtrak train to Alexandria VA ( another hour and cost of $51 - one way). Tom picked me up at the King Street station and we had a lovely dinner at a "The Wharf" Fish Restaurant in this beautiful historical port town - close to Mount Vernon - home of George Washington. I had delicious She Crab Soup and Tom had Crab Cakes - shared dessert of pumpkin creme brulee - yummy. Home to the Marriott Courtyard Hotel - handicapped suite - in Springfield, Virginia. Tom gave me the king sized bed and took the sofa bed himself in the other room. Wasn't that nice!
Monday, November 7/11 Sunny 65 degrees
Breakfast of fancy oatmeal at the hotel cafe bar and then Tom dropped me off at the Metro Station - bound for Downtown Washington DC. Invested $31.50 on-line for the Old Town Trolley tour for the day to get oriented to where the points of interest are situated. First did the Uptown - Georgetown Loop - past the National Cathedral (Anglican) - but could not stop to tour this stop because it was closed - due to damage from the August 2011 earthquake. We toured by lots of embassies (Embassy Row) on Massachusetts Ave., National Zoo, Georgetown - old historical part of DC, Washington Harbour, Foggy Bottom where George Washington University owns blocks and blocks of real estate, Watergate Complex, and around the back view of the White House. That tour lasted about 90 minutes and then I needed some exercise and strolled over to the Old Postal Pavillion to view the city from the height of the observation deck in the tower - 270 feet high. This was a good alternative to going up the Washington Monument because that was closed due to earthquake damage too. It also housed bells in its tower.
From there I strolled back to the trolley headquarters and had a few minutes before the National Mall/Downtown Trolley Route so I toured the Ford Theatre and saw where Abraham Lincoln was shot by the actor John Wilkes Booth - a Southerner. Lincoln died later in a house across the street from that theatre. All this before noon - what a tourist!
Afternoon tour by all the buildings on The Mall - Smithsonian Museums and Capital Building, Supreme Court, Library of Congress and Union Station. Stopped off at the Smithsonian Castle - saw film and back on to go by Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, and new Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. Switched to the Arlington Memorial Trolley to go over the Potomac River to check out the Arlington Cemetery. Walked around there for a few hours - visited JFK's gravesite, Arlington House (Custis - Lee Mansion) Amphitheatre, Canada Cross and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Trolley back over the bridge to see the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, WWII Memorial (at the end of the Reflecting Pool - under construction) and the Korean Memorial. Crossed back over the bridge with the Trolley and caught the Metro at the Arlington stop and back to Springfield by 6:30 PM. Tom and I went out to dinner at a lovely Steakhouse - I had a stuffed Acorn Squash and Tom had fish. Then a trip out to Tyson Square Mall to refund an item for Diana. The Santa chair display was already there for the Christmas shoppers. Back to the hotel - and the hot tub to soak my weary bones. Great day!