Saturday, October 22, 2011

DC Trip: Day 2

Saturday morning we got up (much to our sore feet's dismay) and rode the Metro to Federal Center.
We saw the Department of Education.
the American Indian Museum (Smithsonian)
and the Bartholdi Park and Fountain. The fountain was sculpted by Fredrick August Bartholdi (he also sculpted the Statue of Liberty) for the 1876 Centennial. It was originally lit by gas and changed to electricity and is made of cast iron. The fountain is surrounded by small model gardens meant to inspire urban gardeners.
I must say that with the fountain, gardens, and welcoming seating that was around it was very inviting and quite the unexpected retreat in the middle of the city.
We then saw the U.S. Botanic Gardens which was established by Congress in 1820 to cultivate plants that could be beneficial to Americans.
We then made our way around the Capitol to the visitors center where we had to wait in line to get in the building for 20 minutes. And when they say no food or drink they mean not even any empty bottles (so if you have a reusable one you want to keep don't take it). 
Once inside there is a great hall and another line to sign up for a tour time (I recommend requesting a tour through your Congressman, you get to go to a separate shorter line and get your set time despite the rest of the crowd). While waiting in line for the tour you get an amazing view through the ceiling of the visitors center to the statue of Freedom on the dome of the Capitol.
They have a 13 minute introductory video after which you are sorted into your tour groups and given these great headphones with a receiver through which we could hear our wonderful tour guide as he led us through the Capitol (they do break up as you go room to room so try to stay close to the tour guide).


The rotunda with the fresco painting of Washington
In the mural around the rotunda notice the face at the base of the tree (just above the tallest fern on the right side of the trunk). It is supposedly the likeness of the 2nd artist added in by the 3rd artist.


The white star is where there used to be an opening meant to look from the rotunda all the way down to where a crypt was saved for Washington himself.... his family however refused to move him here and his body lies at his home Mount Vernon. So it was subsequently filled.
There are statues throughout the Capitol and visitors center (2 from each state) of prominent citizens. This statue of Ronald Regan had a great feature....
notice the white and black stone in the center... those are pieces of the Berlin Wall which Regan worked to bring down.

Back outside we walked around the other side of the Capitol and found this small fountain that seemed to be hidden.
Looking down the mall from the Capitol building.
I enjoyed trudging through the leaves and hearing them crackle beneath my feet.

This statue of Ulysses S. Grant that stands in front of the Capitol is one of the most complex equine statues and is a three part statue overlooking the reflecting pool.


We then walked past the Newseum,
Federal Trade Commission,
National Gallery of Art Museum (Smithsonian) and the National Archives (which had a huge line which is why we kept moving that day).

to the Old Post Office. This buildings architect was Jim's great great great uncle Willoughby J. Edbrooke
.
The building happened to be one of the sites in my NPS Passport book and had a food court on the bottom floor. Three birds... one building!
We took the elevator up to the 12th floor observation deck which has breathtaking views of the city in every direction.
 Hirshorn Museum (Smithsonian) known for it's odd doughnut shape.
The National Cathedral (which also happens to be the building in the city that sustained the most damage during the recent earth quake.)
We then made our way back to the hotel to catch the Buckeyes playing Illinois.... and I am happy to say the Bucks won! We got showered and ready for our next exciting event.... Les Miserables at The Kennedy Center!
On the way to the Metro I caught this reflection of a crane in a building on the opposite side of the street (Made me think of you Dad).
On my favorite escalator. Also notice the Gatorade bottle, after two days of not being able to carry around water or drink lest it be taken away at the security gate I was feeling a bit dehydrated. (I also got protective of my drinks and several times prepared excuses ahead of time for why they should NOT take away my water bottle... thank God we didn't go any where else they did that or someone may have been hurt.)
If you are going to the Kennedy Center you are able to take the Metro to the GWU/Foggy Bottom stop where a Kennedy Center Shuttle bus will pick you up and take you to the Kennedy Center.

Jim found the South Carolina state flag.
There was also a display of costumes through the years.
We were sure to check out the view on the deck before finding our seats.
The chandelier in the Opera House a gift from Austria.



The musical was wonderful and as an added bonus it was uninterrupted span of three hours in which we did not have to walk... well a little during intermission through the beautifully decorated (for Christmas) gift shop.



3 comments:

  1. How cool that Jim's uncle designed the Old Post office! I've ate there three times and I've been up in the bell tower twice. Did it still have all the little stores? I don't think Ronald Reagan's statue was there when I was in the Capitol, but that is so cool about the Berlin Wall. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." I can remember on the news the Germans from both sides pounding away at the wall and all the excitement. Makes me a little teary just thinking about it.

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  2. I remember that order from President Reagan.

    Have you considered being a tour guide or trip planner....GREAT !

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  3. Jody- There were still little shops and places to eat, we had a late lunch there that day. And Jim said "even though I'm not the actual architect I'd be happy to sign an autograph for you as a family representative".

    Mom- I was hoping that these posts would be helpful to others looking to travel... I did research a few blogs when planning our trip.

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