Friday, February 15, 2013

Vacation Rewind - Washington DC Labor Day 2012

We took advantage of a great last minute air fare and headed to Washington DC for Labor Day weekend. It is one of those places that is so close but we just don't go visit enough.

This trip we actually went to a museum that has a paid admission - crazy in a town of world class free museums, I know! But the International Spy Museum was well worth the price of admission. We went early and made it through before it was too crowded. When you enter you pick an alias with a cover story and as you progress through the museum, you are tested to see if you can remember the details of your cover story and your mission. They also had a special exhibit with the actual items used in the CIA mission that was recently made in to the movie 'Argo'. It was pretty cool to see the pieces of history right before the movie was released. If you go, go early. There is so much to see and read you want to take your time and not fight the crowds.

There are several NYC restaurants that have popped up in DC. One of our favorites was Luke's Lobster - a New England style lobster roll is a perfect lunch. It was so good, I ate there two days in a row. (I just had to go check out a vintage jewelry shop so we split up for a bit on Sunday. The shop was awesome, it was chock full of fabulous pieces. Of course the owner was a wacky but very friendly woman who really listened to my tastes and helped me pick some great pieces of jewelry.)

Saturday afternoon we stopped at the National Archives. There was a line to get in, but it wasn't too long of a wait. Seeing the Declaration of Independence is well worth any line.

The Museum of American History is one of my favorite Smithsonian museums. They have changed the entrance over the years, currently a stylized American flag welcomes visitors. Behind the wall is the actual flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

Sunday we spent most of the day at the Air and Space museum. They have a new section featuring the Wright Brothers and their historical flight. When we were in the exhibit there was a very knowledgeable docent telling the story of the Wright Brothers and answering questions. It was very interactive and full of good information.

Sunday night we made a late night visit to the Lincoln Memorial. The Lincoln Memorial is truly inspiring at night; the lighting makes the seated figure of Lincoln more dramatic than during the day.

Michael reading the inscription on the walls inside the Lincoln Memorial.

Monday we headed to the US Capitol for a tour.

It has been a very long time since I've visited the Capitol and they have a new visitors center and tour. You need advance tickets for the tour (yes, we had a reservation for the tour), but the visitors center is open to anyone, no reservation required.

The tour is free and lasts about an hour. We had a very quirky tour guide and she made it fun. You visit three different rooms in the Capitol building. The entire tour group wears a set of headphones and your tour guide talks in to a microphone. This allows multiple tour groups to be in the same room and no one is shouting over one another. It is all very high tech.

This plaque represents the spot where John Quincy Adams had his desk, we all got to touch the spot! Of course I am wearing my very comfortable Crocs ballet flats (the black open toe flat shoe towards the bottom of the pix).

It's the statue of Ronald Regan - the base has pieces of the Berlin Wall.

And one more thing I have never done in DC before, visit the Library of Congress. There is a passage between the US Capitol and the Library of Congress. We walked in air conditioned comfort from one building to the other.

Normally you can only look down at the big reading room in the Library of Congress, but because we were there on a holiday they let the visitors go wild and take photos.

The Library also has wings full of great exhibits. When we were in there, there was an entire section dedicated to first edition books.

All around the ceiling there were famous quotes.

A look back at the US Capitol building. As always, vacation is too short and there are still too many things to do and places to eat!