Other Sites Not to Miss...
Favorite thing: "What the mind of man can conceive & believe, the mind of man can achieve." Napoleon Hill
Here are the other sites I think you should not miss:
1. National Air & Space Museum is the world's most visited museum. It offers 23 impressive galleries that showcase the history of aviation. Collections include the original Wright Brothers Flyer, Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, space capsules, an authentic space station, an array of rockets, jet fighters, hot-air balloons, & an Air-Force One. Also see the Einstein Planetarium, the Langley Theater, & the hands-on astronomical observatory.
6th St. & Independence Ave.,SW
2. U.S. Botanic Garden is a refreshing oasis at the foot of Capitol Hill. Relax in this excellent conservatory with lush rainforest, palm trees, stream, an orchid display, & gardens.
1st St. & Maryland Ave., SW
3. National Archives is the repository for the three NW
Fondest memory: 4. U.S. Grant Memorial is the largest sculptural grouping in DC and the 2nd largest equestraian statue in the world! It's immense: a bronze figure of President Ulysses S. Grant on his steed, Cincinnatus...a depiction of the Civil War hero as warrior rather than politician.
1st St. between Maryland & Pennsylvania Avenues.
5. If you love fountains as much as I do, you'll make a detour to see the Fountain of Neptune located on 1st Street between East Capitol St. & Independence Ave.
It is a delightful turn-of-the-century fountain designed by Hinton Perry that has the sea god, Neptune, surrounded by a fantastical array of sea nymphs & aquatic creatures.Related to:
- Historical Travel
A Rite of Passage: Senior Trip to Washington DC
Favorite thing: "A child only educated at school is an uneducated child." George Santayana
At my High School in Robinson, Illinois, it's a custom for the seniors to take a trip to Washington DC during the spring of the year.
In 1959 we boarded school buses and were taken to the train station where we boarded the train to Washington. It was an exciting time for all of us. Today, it would be no big deal because seniors are so much more sophisticated and more well traveled.
The dress that I wore on the train (in the photo) was one of many that I sewed in Home Economics class primarily for this event. Be sure to click on the photo to see a very young deecat!
We saw the Lincoln Memorial, The US Mint, the Capitol, the White House, the Jefferson Memorial, and several other lesser-known places.
Fondest memory: But what I remember most was going to a club in one of the suburbs where the young Bobby Darron was performing. He did his famous "Splish Splash" and "Mack the Knife" songs, and we were all thrilled.
Maybe things have not changed as much as I thought!Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Disappointing Visit to FBI
Favorite thing: "Well done is better than well said." Ben Franklin
Allan and I were quite excited about seeing the famed FBI Headquarters, & so we were willing to stand in a long line to get in. We certainly were not impressed with the architecture of this Penitentiary Moderne style dun-colored block of a building that was designed by former director & building namesake, J. Edgar Hoover!
After standing in line for more than an hour, we were shuttled through (like cattle) where we saw posters of the Ten Most-Wanted criminals, assault rifles, pipe bombs, & confiscated drugs. Oh, yes, there is an introductory film for orientation purposes.
There was something about this place that was a disappointment. It certainly did not seem like a state-of-the-art facility, and it was somewhat "shabby" in appearance both inside and out. Perhaps they have renovated it since then.
At the end of this 45-minute tour, there was a firearms demonstration by a woman agent, and then there was a question/answer period.
I almost forgot to tell you: you have to undergo a security check so be prepared.
Fondest memory: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is located at 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Tours start at 9:45 am, but lines start by 8:00 am! There are also tours at 11:45 am and 1:45 am as well as 3:15 pm. In the summer months, they add a 2:45 pm tour. You can plan ahead and write to your Congressman six to eight weeks in advance to schedule a tour time if you have a group of six or fewer.
I did enjoy the information about fingerprinting, blood typing, hair and fabric analyses as well as the tales about Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde.
The only thing I liked about the building itself was the bronze entryway topped by a massive eagle.
This is the only photo that I have of the building so forgive its poor qualityRelated to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Corcoran Gallery of Art, a Personal Connection
Favorite thing: "All of Edelson's art can be interpreted according to an understanding of the ever shifting parameters of individual identity." Laura Cottingham
One of DC's finest Beaux Arts buildings, Corcoran Gallery of Art, has ornate grillwork & copper roof. It's the city's oldest art museum & has a marvelous collection including American landscapes, French Impressionist, Flemish masters, early photographs, medieval stained glass, & Belgian tapestries.
Also, the 18th-century Grand Salon from the Hotel D'Orsay in Paris is fully reconstructed! It's the city's oldest & largest private art museum.
Photography & works by contemporary American artists are among the gallery's strengths.
Some of its positives are: it is just a "stone's throw away from the White House; it has a charming Cafe des Artistes which is open for lunch & dinner on given days, but Sunday brunch is what it's famous for; there is also a very wonderful gift shop.
Metro: Farragut West or Farragut North
This art gallery was founded by William Wilson Corcoran, a banker with a strong interest in American art. In about 1925, US senator, William A. Clark, added many of the European works.
Within the building is an art school, one of the only accredited art schools in Washington DC.
My husband's sister, Mary Beth Edelson, taught at the Corcoran School of Art in 1968. She lived in Washington & had several exhibits in the Corcoran Art Gallery.
She organized the first National Conference for Women in the Visual Arts (CWVA) which was held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1972. There was a follow-up six-week seminar which she conceived & organized, & it was sponsored by the Smithsonian.
As a leading member of the first generation of feminist artist during the early 1970s, Mary Beth did one of the best-known documents of the women artists' movement called Some Living American Women Artists.
Fondest memory: One of the main reasons we visted the Corcoran was to see Mary Beth's work. When we looked up her name in the archives, we were amazed at the amount she has done. Her book, The Art of Mary Beth Edelson was published in 2002.
I loved the architecture of this fine gallery which was designed by Ernest Flagg. The building is of white Georgia marble with a green copper roof. This was reportedly Frank Lloyd Wright's favorite, & he called it, "the best designed building in Washington."
The Corcoran stands on a trapezoidal site. There is a frieze under the cornice that bears the names of eleven artists that include Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Valasquez, & Rubens. Critics think that if the founder, Wm. Corcoran had been alive at the time, he might have included contemporary sculptor, Thomas Crawford, whose statue called "Freedom" stands atop the Capitol dome.
I also loved the double atrium on the first floor & a grand marble staircase leading to a rotunda & the second floor.
Iwo Jima Memorial: Symbol of the Nation's Strength
Favorite thing: "He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times." Johann Von Schiller
One of the most famous war memorials in the Washington DC area is the 100-ton bronze statue of five Marines and one Navy corpsman struggling to erect the American Flag atop Mt. Suribachi, a ridge on the small Pacific Island called Iwo Jima. This was the site of fierce fighting during WWII, which resulted in almost 7,000 American deaths.
This powerful scene was captured in a photograph by Joe Rosenthal, a war photographer, and was then translated into a bronze scupture by Felix DeWeldon. Three of the men in this statue were killed later, on this same island.
This poignant and symbolic statue was dedicated in 1954 and stands at the north end of Arlington National Cemetery. A real flag flies 24 hours a day from this 78-foot-high memorial.
Note: The United States Marine Corps War Memorialis the official name for this famous statue; however, it is better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial that honors all Marines who lost their lives while serving their country.
Fondest memory: For those of us with parents who participated in WWII, we had often heard of this particular battle, and so when Allan and I went to Washington DC, the Iwo Jima Memorial was at the top of my "must see" list. I think it should be on everyone's "must see" list too!Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Contact your Congressman
Favorite thing: As soon as you book your trip, look up the website for your Congressman if you live in the US and see what kind of special/VIP tours that they can get you passes for. Tours are handed out first come first serve and tours fill up more quickly during the peak time between March 15-September 15.
I contacted my Congressman's office in Washington only a couple of days before I was going, since it was October they were able to arrange for a VIP Capitol tour and entrance to the permanent exhibit at the Holocaust Museum.
The woman I spoke to said it takes a minimum of 3 weeks to get security clearance if you want to visit the White House and the intern who showed me around the Capitol said it was even more difficult than that especially during busy times. Even though it says you must have a group of 10+ people on the website, he said sometimes they get lucky and get smaller groups in so it doesn't hurt to ask.
Other tours on my Congressman's website include the Kennedy Center, Washington National Cathedral, Supreme Court, Mount Vernon and Engraving and Printing.
Favorite thing: SIGHTS
One of the great things about Washington DC for families and tourists on a budget are all of really cool free things that there are to see including some of the best museums and monuments in the country and the National Zoo. During my four day visit I did not pay an admission charge for any place that I visited.
Priceline worked reasonably well in Washington DC, if you are on a budget, take a look at the Crystal City area or Rosslyn which are both in Arlington VA but well connected by metro. The ride into central DC from Crystal City was only 4 or 5 metro stops, 15-20 minutes, and winning bids average around $50 per night (check www.biddingfortravel.com).
The food court in Union Station was a reasonable option
The metro is $1.35 per ride (a little more during peak) or if you plan on using it a lot there are daily/weekly passes
Map of Washington DC Memorials
Favorite thing: Here is a site you can print our a pretty good map showing the location of many of the memorials and monuments.
Check it out:
Sometimes we get in a hurry, so can't hurt to be prepared some. Hehehe, I know, easier said than done.:-))Related to:
- Historical Travel
A nice walk through the Monuments
Favorite thing: I started at Arlington Cemetery and walked over the bridge but you can also start this at the Lincoln Memorial.
Start at the Lincoln Memorial and walk around the reflecting pool to get to the WWII Memorial. Head back towards the Lincoln Memorial to get to the Korean War Memorial and Vietnam Memorial.
Heading towards the Jefferson Memorial you will pass by the FDR Memorial as you walk around the Tidal Basin. Continue onto the Jefferson Memorial to complete the walk.
Favorite thing: And what would the Capital be without its protestors? Usually they congregate either in the front or back gates of the White House. You can also find them throughout the city handing out leaflets and trying to get their point across.
Fondest memory: This guy was all dressed up as Bush..his slogan says it all!Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: I come here oftern, although some would say not often enough, because I have family in the city. This year has been good to me and I have at least recently been here a couple of times in the past month.
It is quite fun to be able to walk into shops and talk to people who know of what or whom I am speaking.
I will always come back here and enjoy each trip I take to this town.
Tickets to the festivities
Fondest memory: As I understand it, each House member was alotted 200 inaugural tickets and each U.S. Senator had 500 tickets to give out to constituents. Yubert obtained many of the tickets- some from the offices of congresswoman Linda Sanchez for Lakewood and Senator Barbara Boxer for the whole of California. The ironic thing is that both of these women are the strongest critics of the guest of honour. For example, it is a historical fact that the senator was one who made a futile attempt to challenge the 2004 election result at certification. Her office gave Yubert 2 of the tickets.
Not counting the VT group from Texas, Pennsylvania, California, and Virginia, I met a lot of folks at the inaugural event itself, along the parade route, and in the metro (from southwest Virginia, south central Pennsylvania, quite a lot from Texas, and some from Alaska).
Typical sidewalk scene
Favorite thing: The typical sidewalk scene in downtown Washington, DC looks very much like this. Gleaming buildings are on both sides of a bustling street with important people (or folks who think they are) with a briefcase in one hand and a mobile phone in the other walking down them. Besides the usual humanity on the sidewalks are people selling everything imaginable whether it be clothes or food. Don't scoff at the food sold by sidewalk vendors, friends and neighbours. While it may not be pâté and caviar, it's some good eating there, folks.
Fondest memory: The parade route extends along Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House: an exquisitely linear route. Light poles were festooned with American and DC flags. Police offers from as far away as Chicago came to supplement the Metro Police as well as all federal and military law enforcement. Along the way were myriad well-wishers and protesters. Sometimes the two camps clashed like sequins with...anything. It was just enough to add pepper to the gumbo.
Those guys deserve a monument
Fondest memory: When we, a group of amusing VT-ers, were walking around downtown Washington, I surprisingly noticed this small, modest sign in the picture, put on a huge and ugly office building. My American friends were at first a bit surprised looking at me dancing around with a camera and desperately looking for the best position to take pictures of such not interesting building. I had to explain them.
The Voice of America (VOA), which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) that has become the independent federal agency responsible for all U.S. government and government sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting since 1999. They broadcast in 61 languages from 43 radio studios and four television studios located in Wilbur J. Cohen Federal Building to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people.
I, like millions of other Poles, used to hear VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL broadcasted from Munich, Germany) almost daily in 1980' when Poland was formally an independent country but in fact was hardly influenced by the communist Soviet Union. It was the only daily source of information which could easily break from "the West" through the Iron Curtain to millions who needed it very much in those hard times. I remember well desperate seeking the news during the first days of the martial law in December 1981 when both radio stations were totally jammed by communist authorities.
If I had known that VOA was open to the public by reservation I would have tried to join free guided group tour they provided. Details here. Those guys had done so much for me and my country that they deserve a monument. What do you think about the VOA monument in Warsaw or Krakow? It's not a joke!Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
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