A Capitol Experience
November 24, 2009
The White House
Bob & Kathy
A Capitol Experience
National Portrait Gallery
Kathy met me at the foot of the Washington Monument after she finished attending the NAEYC conference. The conference is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, with over 15,000 educators from across the US in attendance. The keynote speaker was the current US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. I think Kathy enjoyed it, she certainly had a lot of stuff to take back and share with her class, including her favorite item, a brand new ukulele.
After meeting, we headed up to the top of the Washington monument, another first for either of us. The views from the top were pretty impressive as we had excellent views of the Capitol, White House, National Mall and most of the large memorials. After taking in the view, we walked over to check out the National Christmas Tree, which was set-up in the Ellipse in front of the White House. We walked around the White House then headed back to meet Bob and head out to dinner.
The next day, Kathy & I were on our own for most of the day. Starting off in the U-Street area that is home to one of DCs most beloved dining landmarks, Ben’s Chili Bowl where we arrived just in time to get the first lunch order of the day. Delicious Chili Dogs and Half-Smokes were the order of the day. Next we headed across U Street to the African-American Civil War Memorial and Museum before taking the train across town to the Eastern Market.
Ben's Chili Bowl
African-American Civil War Memorial
Eastern Market is a Capitol Hill institution, a wonderful market that has been in operation since 1873. The market itself is supplemented by a wide variety of vendors who pack the area around the building creating a veritable bazaar of vendors including, butchers, bakers, produce, florists, craft-makers, artists and farmers. It is a great experience.
From the market it is a short walk up Capitol Hill to the Library of Congress, which was our next stop. We toured that incredible place before heading over to the sparkling new US Capitol visitor center, where we took a walking tour of the Capitol building. Congress was in for a rare weekend debate, over the merits of the new health care plan. It was a pretty exciting time to be there.
The Library of Congress
Bob & Michael
Bob joined us at the Capitol and we all headed over to check out the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, which share the same historic building. It houses a dazzling array of classic American art from just about every relevant American artist. Also there is an amazing collection of Portraits including one of every US President. It is a fantastic collection. After a quick stop for a drink in nearby Chinatown, we caught the Circulator over to Georgetown for a wonderful meal at one of Bob’s favorite Vietnamese restaurants, something we just don’t have in Key West.
Our DC trip concluded Sunday morning with what may have been the hi-light of the trip, if you could actually say that about visiting the incredible United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. We were there when the doors opened as it has become one of the most visited and in demand museum experiences. It is hard to really describe or capture what you experience when visiting the place, but it is something that everyone should see. It is an incredible tribute to something so horrific that it defies description and yet it manages the delicate balance of a fitting memorial that neither shies away from nor focuses too much on the graphic horror, opting instead to tell the story in very human terms.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
US Holocaust Memorial Museum website