Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Great DC Adventure: The Museums

Hey look! It's TaGeez's first ride on a subway! Our first full day in DC found us bright and early on the Metro towards the Capital. The weatherman predicted rain so we decided to hit the museums first and wait until Saturday for the monuments - too bad they had it backwards, but we still had a damn good time!

Our primary goal for this road trip was... vacation. We wanted to get away, enjoy great sites and good food. On the plus side, as we mingled among the museums, there were Virtuals everywhere! Just as we exited the subway we saw the first one streetside.

Funny thing about Pointing Skyward, two years ago I sent out a trackable attached to an airplane with the goal of reaching this Virtual. I thought at the time it would be a very, very long time before I made it back to DC. Well, the trackable went missing on it's first stop (a cacher emailed me that a Boy Scout Leader swiped it at an event), and I made it to this Virtual first!

Unlike my last visit to DC, we actually made it into the Smithsonian Castle (hard to get a good picture as The Mall is under construction - they're adding compression-resistant turf). Did you know there's a crypt inside? The occupant never visited the US while alive, but he's buried here.

Next stop is the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  Oh, the lines! With all the security checks, we stood in line for 45 minutes. This was a big change from my last visit. 

Behind the wall (behind us) was the actual Star Spangled Banner. No pictures were allowed.

Kermit, R2-D2 and C3PO were all off exhibit so we detoured to see the big guy's hat.

And Julia Child's kitchen. Boy, that was the only thing gourmet about the day. Lunch consisted of Nathan's hot dogs on The Mall.

Then off to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History,

Yes, we did all the touristy things.... visited an elephant....

Shopped for a diamond. Hmm... I'm a HOPEless romantic.

We continued up the road to the National Archive. Unlike last time, you can no longer take pictures inside. Shame because of the amazing parquet floor and brass seal embedded at the foot of the gallery. This was the only stop where the fieldtripping masses made it impossible to truly enjoy the exhibits.

Hey, did you know there is a Sculpture Garden across the street? With a lovely fountain and walkway.

We then moseyed up to Capital Hill, munching on apples pilfered from the hotel breakfast bar that morning. Poor TaGeez. He knew I was dragging him several miles out of our way for some amazing buildings, Virtuals, and benchmarks. What a good sport!

Capital Hill

View from Capital Hill

We took the 365 degree tour of the exterior. Dome under construction
and SO many students!

Further on is the Library of Congress. I would've loved to see more, but most of the day has flown by and energy levels were lagging at this point.

Library of Congress

And then, thanks to geocaching, we detoured to the United States Botanic Garden. With time limited, we probably would've skipped it this trip. However, it was a LOVELY stop - a reprieve - amidst great beauty.

Often cache pages will contain fascinating bits of trivia you wouldn't normally know. 
On Oct. 15, 2001 officials representing the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among other agencies, commandeered the Conservatory to respond to the anthrax contamination of congressional offices on Capitol Hill. Portions of this Conservatory were transformed into the government's 24-hour Anthrax Command Center, primarily because the building was considered to be totally anthrax free, having been closed and not receiving mail for four years.

And our last stop on the museum tour was the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, right back where we started from this morning. 

Jules Verne

According to my fitbit, TaGeez and I walked almost 8 miles during our first full day in DC. 

We covered the ground to the right of the line - WOW!

It was with great relief when a friend of our picked us up from the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum for dinner in Georgetown. We had a fabulous meal (Maryland Crab Cakes) at Martin's Tavern - the oldest family-run restaurant in DC and the site of JFK's proposal to Jackie O! So much history everywhere!

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