Monday, November 30, 2009
All right, I'll lay out our trip to D. C. as best I can after a week or so. (clicking on the pictures makes 'em bigger) Here's the skinny.
We flew direct from Cleveland to Reagan National last Friday. Easy breezy flight on one of those little Embrerer jets. GG had a bunch of extra points so the flight cost a total of $10.00 for the two of us.
We gathered our gear and headed for the Metro station at the Airport and were in our hotel in 30 minutes after landing. Again, Blondie had some coupons and shit, plus it was the weekend before Thanksgiving, so the room was $83.00 per night. Right on.
We were two blocks south of the Capitol in Capitol Hill. Just half a block from the "C" Street house of recent lore which is in the heart of RNC controlled south side of the Hill.
We first went to the National Botanical Garden. Lovely and free. Then off to the Air and Space. Saw tons of cool stuff including John Glenn's Freindship 7 capsule, bunches of Goddard related materils, a space monkey, the Enola Gay and a complete replica of the Hubble Space Telescope.
We had a 2:30 appt. for a tour of the Library of Congress at the Jefferson Building.
Breathtaking building that had a great Herblock exhibition and a nearly complete restoration of Thomas Jefferson's actual library which was, of course, the collection that begat the entire Library. Tres cool.
We went to dinner on Friday night at the world famous Ben's Chili Bowl. Sam Cooke on the jukebox and a greasy spoon on Friday night on U St.
We also tried to see the Numbers Band at a little joint down the street called The Velvet Lounge. That didn't pan out so well.
Saturday morning went straight to Ford's Theatre. First tour of the day starts at 9:00. We went in with a horde of High schoolers but jumped ahead of them and went straight to the balcony of the theatre. You can stand directly behind the chair that Lincoln was in when he was shot. It's really something and I oddly thought of Crazy Joe Davola when we were there. No pictures allowed.
We then went to the White House Visitors Center which sucked but had nice bathrooms. The line for our 11:30 appt. to tour the WH was chaos. People misdirected and confused and once past the initial metal detectors and such, a very loosely designed event. After going through there I frankly wasn't surprised that those boneheads that crashed the State Dinner 3 nights later got in as easily as they did. Again, no pics allowed at the WH.
Had a House of Reps tour scheduled via Dennis' office but that too became a unique mess. Because the House was out of Session, there were no tours of the House Chamber. However, with the health care vote going into Saturday, you could get into a live Senate session. The tour was great and just as we walked into the Senate Chamber, we heard the familiar tones of Al Franken orating in favor of passage of the HCR bill. Very neat indeed. Finished the evening at with dinner at Johnny's Half Shell and nightcaps at Sonoma
I also need to mention the excellent Trolley Tour we took both Saturday and Sunday. Ticket is $30 each and you can get on and off for two days all over the District and Georgetown. One of our drivers was an equity actor from OK named Sooner Steve. Hilarious and informative. We also used the Metro extensively. Fare cards and mini map got us all over.
Sunday was Memorials and such. Lincoln, WWII, Korea and the Vietnam Wall. Our trolley went across the Potomac to Arlington where we went up to the Tomb of the Unknowns and Kennedy's grave. Teddy, Jack and Bobby are the only plain white wooden crosses in the whole place. And unbelievably, it wasn't until we were directly in front of the Eternal Flame...at about noon...that GG observed that it was November 22nd. That kinda blew our minds.
We headed off to Georgetown for a late Sunday lunch and stumbled across Martins. Great joint. Got back on the trolley and headed back to the room. Monday was a travel day.
All in all it was a great time although I was yet again reminded of the power that the USA has always had is primarily military. Regardless, from an architectural and cultural perspective, this is a world class city that left us wanting to stay longer.