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Published: September 17th 2014
One of our favorites.
Living near one of the storied cities of the world provides endless diversions. We last lived near D.C. in 1996 and then, only for a short while. Just when we were getting in the rythym of this happening place, we had to leave and always told one another that there was “unfinished business,” as there were so many sights to take in.
Fast forward some 18 years (really?) and we were back and this time hell bent to take in as much as the city had to offer, not wanting to be a similar position. Now, we want you to know that we really enjoy visiting museums and monuments. Fortunately our approach to visiting them is insanely similar, or maybe that is sanely similar. It would be inappropriate to describe ourselves as museum geeks that can spend endless hours reading each wonderful detail and minutia of history that they have prepared for us to better understand a different time and people. This is just simply not the case.
The other way of looking at this is that there is no way you can remember all this information. It is just too much. We're not Mensa International members, but fairly
intelligent folk who are quite curious. There are times when we might like to be able to spend endless hours reading, reading, reading and absorbing but we can’t do it. We simply max out at about two hours. Depending on the size of the museum we generally read a lot of detail the first thirty to forty minutes and skim a bit after that. If you get a good base in the beginning it can carry you through the rest of the museum. It works well for us, which is extremely lucky or otherwise, one of us would be fully immersed, while the other would be bored out of their skulls waiting on the other.
We’d love to hear what your museum style is. We are sure we all do it a bit differently. This could make for some very interesting conversation.
The District of Columbia is one of the amazing cities of the world. We never tire of the grandeur it has to offer. It takes our breath away each time we visit. Each direction you look you will find some amazing museum, a historic building, a stunning monument or an architectural marvel
Museum of Natural History
These creatures are fantastic...and a bit scary!
that could be new or old. A veritable cornucopia of both structure and form. The history of this "district" is quite unique and there was actually talk of moving it west, but President Ulysses Grant in the 1870's put and end to such talk and the city we know today is a wonderful place to visit.
Ironically, thanks to an Englishman named Smithson, there exists the Smithsonian museums. How did this come about? Well, the short of it is that Smithson was wealthy from multiple inheritances, unmarried, and in his will, he stipulated that the money be left to his nephew. If his nephew died without a family, the whole of his estate would be donated to the founding of an educational institution named after him in Washington, D.C.
Oddly enough, he never visited the United States in his lifetime…..
And so, the beauty of being in the D.C area is that all of the Smithsonian Museum’s are free. Well—not exactly. They are actually a function of our tax dollars at work but they don’t charge an admission fee. Free for everyone, not just citizens of the United States. And the
National Aerospace Museum. Amazing display of all things that fly.
people come in droves to see these edifices and their contents.
So hang on to that thought for a second……One day we were in the café at the Natural History Museum and decided to grab a quick bite. At the table next to us were your typical older U.S. citizens who were most likely on a bus tour of our nation’s capital and were visiting the museum. We sat there and listened to them complain about the cost of the food in the café. We get it as they are probably on a fixed income but we wanted to say….Hey!! Look around you are in a world class museum for free. Ah we digress……
A typical Saturday would find us hopping on the metro and some 35 minutes later, we pop up on the Capital Mall, right near these wonderful museums. We visit a museum for a couple of hours and go back another weekend to finish the museum. These Smithsonian Museums are big and for us, for the most part we are unable to get through them in a single visit. Did you know that Washington D.C offers 17 Smithsonian Museums & Galleries? At this point we’ve
4th of July
Near Washington Monument. Camped out all afternoon to see this spectacular display...well worth it!
only been to about a third of them. Below is a list of most of the places we managed to get a look at during the five months we’ve been in the area.
· The National Portrait Museum and American Art Museum are two buildings connected and have an amazing collection of art and we were able to enjoy this setting for hours.
· The National Gallery of Art is filled with the grand old masters.
· Freer Gallery of Art
· Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
· National Air and Space Museum in D.C & in Chantilly
· National Museum of Natural History
· American History Museum
· National Geographic Museum (non-Smithsonian)
· Spy Museum (way cool for Cold War spy stuff)
Okay, that’s a brief word on museums. Lest we not forget the many monuments D.C. has to offer. Monuments help to make D.C. one of the great cities of the world and attractively imposing. Monuments to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln are impressive enough, but toss in the World War II Monument, the Korean War, the Vietnam War Wall and oh yeah, the White
Celebrating July 4th
House and you’ve got quite an eyeful of stuff to look at.
The Washington Monument just recently re-opened after the completion of repairs caused by an earthquake a few years back and affords great views of the city. Begun before the Civil War, it is quite the structure. The Jefferson Memorial is exquisitely lovely in the early spring when the cherry blossoms surround the tidal pool. The trees are over 100 years old and a gift from the Japanese government. Quite a nice gift at that! We have to admit that we got to see these lovely blossoms in 2010, when we stole down here in March for our anniversary. We chronicled this in a previous blog.
Our favorite is the Lincoln Memorial. More that once, we would climb the steps, take a seat and just look out over the Reflecting Pool towards the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building. It is just a great view and we never tire of it. Not to mention that Abe is one cool guy.
As you can see from our photos we visited a few of the other major monuments.
While in town we had
Top of Washington Monument
visits from our good friends Chuck and Birdie. Chuck was the best man at our wedding. Our niece Lauren and Pete came for a visit. We've been lucky that Lauren visits us frequently ....she has visited us in many of our locations. We thought we mention that she recently became a mother....and now there is "Great Uncle Dave."
We would be remiss if we did not mention our most favorite denizen of the District, Andy. We have known him for quite a while and it was our great pleasure to be o
Our time in D.C. afforded us the chance to meet another Travel Blogger, which is always a treat. “Roosta” joined us for a nice meal in old Alexandria and we spend a pleasant meal doing what else? Talking travel! Each traveler we meet has a little different take on the experience and we enjoy the chance to swap stories. Safe travels………
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