after studying much american history both my kids had their own personal lists of things they wanted to see in dc, our nation’s capital. we were successful in checking out everything on their lists.
saw the white house (from a distance, never had the urge to go inside), the washington monument (hard to miss when you’re in dc – it’s always somewhere on the horizon), the world war II memorial (built in 2004, am guessing probably after “saving private ryan” and HBO’s “band of brothers” came out), the lincoln memorial (always stunning), the library of congress (had never been inside but my artistically-inclined daughter was interested in the painted ceiling – it was absolutely gorgeous with excellent exhibits about the history and significance of america’s founding documents, the uneasy relationship between native americans and early europeans and finally jefferson’s own library – his books displayed beautifully on concentric glass shelves), the u.s. supreme court, the capitol (very freaky to be surrounded by uniformed gunmen with their fingers literally and figuratively on the trigger), the national gallery of art (always a lovely retreat), the air and space museum (thronging students on school trips, long lines but still way cool flight simulator), u-street (neither hip nor hopping but good food at ulah bistro), the national aquarium (small and mediocre), the spy museum (a total commercial rip off complete with tie-in merchandise but the kids enjoyed some of it – like a tunnel that leads you back to the same room (???) and a james bondish aston martin), the nationals park (guard said people were not allowed to photograph it even from the outside (???) – he had some problems with people just looking at it even though the pope and his entourage had long been gone).
we had chinese food in chinatown, real pakistani food at ravi kebab (glebe road, arlington) and met with some family in dc and virginia. the metro was great and the people very friendly (or maybe it was just the contrast with nyc). on our way out of dc we stopped at old town alexandria to visit the torpedo factory lined with artists’ studios and an art school. the artwork was way out of my budget but i appreciated it no less.
on our way out of virginia i spotted an antique store – it was a dream. there were old doors and windows, furniture and pottery, mirrors and chandeliers – everything was timeworn and reasonably priced. the store sprawled over a large area with things scattered around in tiny houses and unassuming sheds or just on the lawn. it was such a kick to search for things i could use in my work – found objects, frames, tiles. promised myself i would return with appropriate girlfriend! have to give credit to my husband and kids though, for waiting in the car for one hour, en route to ny, ready to go but with one family member missing – someone a little tipsy from all her antiquing!