Ahh, good old east coast weather! I am currently writing this amidst pouring rain, thunder and lightning (I sure hope I don’t kill my laptop having it plugged in!) Did I mention I absolutely love it when it rains? Days 5 and 6 were, in summary, Smithsonian days. We hit every Smithsonian we could in the course of 48 hours (with some much needed breaks for our feet here and there). A and I also got to see our most looked forward to sights!
The Old Post Office
We started the day off rather late because, well, we wanted to sleep in. We started the day having lunch at the “Old Post Office” in the Penn Quarter. The Pavilion in the center of the Old Post Office has a kind of crappy little food court and we had lunch there. We of course didn’t know how good the quality of the food would be until after we got there, but that’s not the main reason we went there in the first place. The main reason we went to the Old Post Office is the fact that its bell tower is the tallest point in DC short of the Washington Monument (which is closed right now).
We took the elevator up to the top of the tower, and wow, what an amazing view! The look out on the city was absolutely incredible and worth suffering through the sub-par food court lunch that preceded it. We got some great photos of not only the impressive building and its towering pavilion, but the city surrounding it too. I’ll get those posted up after we get back from the trip.
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and Smithsonian Castle
After the fantastic views from the Old Post Office we made our way back over to the Mall and hit up the Smithsonian Castle. The castle was built in honor of James Smithson, the wealthy Britishman who appreciated America’s drive for freedom and liberty and in his will bequeathed his wealth to found the Smithsonian Institute. The castle now serves as offices for the head of the Smithsonian Institute and the home of James’ sarcophagus. After a few photos and signing up to become Smithsonian Institute members, we headed off to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, something I’ve wanted to see since I was about 8 years old.
The Air and Space museum was awesome to say the least. The aircraft on display covered the entire gamut of aerospace history with everything from the Wright Brothers’ original plane, the Spirit of Saint Luis (among other Lindbergh aircraft), various WWII aircraft and space program vehicles including the lunar lander and the Apollo 11 capsule. Adrienne of course could only stand so much aircraft, but left to it I probably could have been in there for 4 or 5 hours (we stayed about an hour and a half). I don’t think we’re going to be able to make it out to the Udvar-Hazy center near Dulles airport, but even still, it was an amazing experience.
Concert at the Kennedy Center
We finished the evening off at the Kennedy Center for performing arts for a free concert. We saw Annie and the Beekeepers on the Millennium Stage and it was a really enjoyable event. The Kennedy Center is gorgeous and has some great views of Georgetown, the Potomac and the city proper from the roof terrace. We ended up walking back from the Kennedy Center and saw a few more monuments at night, including the Albert Einstein memorial at the American Science Center and the White House from across the front lawn. On the way back from the hotel we also got a chance to try out some of the most fantastic Sorbet and Gelato I’ve ever had at Pitango Gilato.
Yet another day of Smithsonian museums and a few more new things – exploratory dining at its best!
We started the day at Ford’s Theatre, but before that – breakfast at Lincoln’s Waffle House, where according to legend Abraham Lincoln went every morning during his presidency for waffles, eggs and bacon because he believed breakfast was the most important meal of the day! Well, not really, but it was a nice little greasy spoon that was close, sounded quirky and interesting and just happened to be across the street from the theatre 🙂 The food wasn’t hot, but the theatre museum was nice. Unfortunately we couldn’t get into the theatre as it was closed, but the museum and the house across the street where Lincoln died were pretty interesting to see.
Smithsonian Natural History and American History Museums
After Ford’s Theatre we hit up the Smithsonian Natural History and American History Museums for some great sights. Among the traditional dino displays, the Natural History museum was also displaying a live butterfly exhibit, the Hope Diamond and some beautiful animal photography. The sheer variety of creation and menagerie of creatures on display was fantastic to see.
Truly interesting though was the American History museum, understandably because of its more direct relevancy. It was pretty cool looking at some of the great things on display there, from a Dumbo off the Disneyland ride to the board and outfit of Shawn White’s snowboarding victory, to Kermit, to an Apple IIe. The most impressive item stored there though was the original star spangled banner flown above Fort McHenry in the war of 1812. This flag was enormous at 34′ by 32′, originally 32′ x 42′ but trimmed down for memorabilia shortly after the war.
Going through all the exhibits it was inspiring to see how much America has accomplished in its history, and a little sobering to see how much of the museum was devoted to America’s war history and civil rights issues. As a country we’ve accomplished some pretty amazing things from automobiles to human flight, but we’ve also spent a great majority of our history at war. We’re damned good at it (arguably the best), but it sure would be nice if there wasn’t constantly the need to be good at it. In the fallen world we live in though, this seems par for the greed, lust for power and control we sinful humans have wrought upon ourselves. It was clearly evident today that we are indeed a fallen race, through no fault but our own, as a species, in need of rescue. As God’s children, He has created us as incredibly cable and creative beings, but with the free will that we have we still choose to use that blessed creativity of ours for destruction in the service of greed.
on a lighter note!
We finished the day up with a trip for dinner to Dangerously Delicious Pies for some, well, delicious pie! They have everything from savory pies to quiches to traditional tasty desert pies.. A and I had a Sausage Tomato Fennel and Chicken Pot Pie for dinner while we listened to some great nineties punk and rock hits (Foo Fighters, They Might Be Giants, Radiohead, etc.). The pies were awesome and if you are going to DC soon, you must take a cab or bus out there to have some. They have a little satellite kiosk at Union Station too if you don’t want to make the trip out to NW H Street, but the experience at the home restaurant is worth it.
Well, its stopped raining now, but we had a fantastic two days. Tomorrow we go to see the National Zoo (we’ll see how that compares to our own famous SD Zoo).