Does this post have too many words?? To see my photos click the map.
My time in Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA was a mix of unpacking, running errands, more dog walking, visiting and sight seeing. I didn’t go crazy with the sight seeing since I know I’ll be back numerous time over the next several years. That said I did manage to see a few things as the photos attest.
I had a lovely dinner with Laurie from National Geographic Books who I met at ALA (American Library Association) midwinter conference. She brought me books on the National Parks and dinner – it was a great day. I look forward to seeing her next time I am in town! She showed me The Photo Ark exhibit by Joel Sartore at the National Geographic Museum. This is from their website: “Photo Ark is a multiyear National Geographic project with a simple goal— to create portraits of the world’s species before they disappear and to inspire people to care. Each image is a visual connection between the animals and people who can help protect them.” It was amazing!
I had fun with my college friend Jules who has lived in the area for years and was happy to play tourist guide. Our walking tour of Old Alexandria was chock full of history, stories, fun facts and food. My favorite thing was the old Elk’s Lodge with a big elk statue on the front of the building.
When we went into DC, I was too early for the cherry blossoms but just in time for the multitude of kids there on school trips. To avoid the hoards I didn’t go to several popular Smithsonian Museums, but I did go to:
• The Smithsonian Castle: Has a display room that features items from every single Smithsonian Museum, so you can get a taste of them all in one spot. Plus, it’s a castle!
• Freer Museum – Had an artist from Afghanistan who does miniature paintings. Her work was amazing, and she was fascinating to talk to.
• Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens: Modern, interesting art in a round soviet-esque building.
• National Museum of the American Indian: Such good food! And art, yes the art too!
• National Museum of Natural History: Had a behind the scenes tour of the Rare Books department by a friend of Jules. Yes, it was just a cool as you think it was. Among other things, I saw the original books donated by Mr. Smithsonian himself. In talking to the Librarian I had to smile when hearing about some of the exact same issues (money, work flow, promoting programs, etc) that libraries all sizes and stripes seem to share. Plus her office has the exact same type of book cart that Troy, NH library has.
• Renwick Gallery: Such cool and interesting works. Is it ART? You, decide. And seriously that bug room was amazingly creepy, cool and thought provoking. From website “Jennifer Angus covers gallery walls in spiraling, geometric designs reminiscent of wallpaper or textiles—but made using specimens of different species of shimmering, brightly-colored insects.”
• National Gallery of Art: Just kept getting sucked into room after room of works by famous artists (Hey look a Monet. Is that a Hopper? Wait Mary Cassatt did more than just paintings of women and children?, etc.) and some unknown to me like Winthrop Chandler. When I left, I’d only seen a fraction of the works.
• Library of Congress – Jefferson and Madison buildings: First of all I didn’t realize there were 3 LOC buildings (didn’t make it to Adams). Jefferson is the first and the most opulent. Opened in 1897, it was basically built to show England we were intellectuals with culture too! (Jefferson Building History link) Had a great tour of it with Clay, the LOC’s videographer. If there is an event at LOC, he is in charge of videoing it. He showed me all the cool stuff and some of the back rooms in the Jefferson. My personal discovery was on the 6th Floor of the Madison building. There I found what has to be the best & cheapest cafeteria in all of DC plus a great view. Oh, and filled with library-types, it felt like home.
• Botanical Garden Conservatory: so much pretty!
• Memorials – Martin Luther King, Jr. (big and long overdue), Korean War (my favorite), Vietnam (made me tear up), Lincoln & Jefferson (from a distance)
• Other cool stuff: White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument, the lunch trucks at Lafayette Square – a cookies and milk truck? Yes, please!
Some takeaways from DC: I am totally spoiled since everything was amazing and “free” (my tax dollars at work). Nothing opens until 10am – Really? Yeah, really. Be prepared to walk, a lot. So much more left to see! I hope the metro doesn’t shut down for months at a time like is currently being discussed ( News story here).
Since DC/Alexandria, VA, I’ve been to (more detailed posts and photos to come)
• Winchester, VA
• Richmond, VA
• Connelly Springs, NC – South Mountain State Park
• Lavonia, GA – Tugaloo State Park
• Eatonton, GA
• Chatworth, GA – Fort Mountain State Park
• Nashville, TN