The U.S. Capitol Building and the Nat'l Mall looking toward the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
It was time to take an up close and personal look at the subject of so many of my articles and posts these days, The District of Columbia, also refereed to as D.C., "inside the Belt Way" , Washington, DC etc. I did just this over the last week along with side trips to coastal North Carolina, down near Wilmington and southern Va., to vist old friends. All in all we had a great time. Our DC visit covered just about all the major highlights like the Capitol bldg. tour, cafeteria ( the food was decent and relatively inexpensive) and the Vietnam memorial ( depressing to say the least.) We also visited the relatively "new" American Indian " museum ( really interesting and the bldg. is a piece of art itself, the Lincoln Memorial, Air and Space Museum, The Museum of Natural History, The Nat'l Archives, the Herschon Art Museum and the Nat'l Portrait Gallery.
Bright Sunny Days
The weather couldn't have been better for both our days in DC, temps. in the high 60's / low 70's blue skies and no wind. Just sitting out on the Nat'l mall that lies in the center of everything was delightful. The first day we visited the Air and Space Museum filled with historic planes and missiles like the Wright Bros. plane and the Apollo 11 moon capsule as well as dozens of other famous planes and displays. ( always worth a visit.) We also went past the White House ( you can't get close anymore) and briefly visited the Lincoln Memorial and walked past the Wash. monument as well. The second day included visits to see the "Hope Diamond" and other gem collections, now located in the Museum of Natural History ( it looked fake). Then we walked across the street to see the actual Declaration of Independence ( terribly faded) and U.S. Constitution ( in great condition) docs. as well as the only know existing copy of the English "Magna Carta." For some odd reason the Nat'l Archives also had the original copy of the Nazis era "Nuremberg Laws" available outside the rotunda for viewing just opposite the Magna Carta. Maybe, they felt it's removal of human rights was a good contrast and a warning that progress isn't a straight line? Whatever, it was weird finding it there. We topped off our visit with my favorite stop, to see the paintings and drawings of Norman Rockwell @ the Nat'l Portrait Gallery.
All in all the area around the mall was filled with attractions and great restaurants, bars and shops and looked prosperous and clean. The Nat'l monuments are huge and awe inspiring. DC is definitely worth a visit but take the time ( at least two full days) and plan your stops to make the most of your visit. If going by car ( as we did) I recommend staying outside the city and driving in each day, other wise you'll pay very high room rates . Parking is readily available and not to bad price wise for a full day in a covered garage down town. We ate in two restaurants in the so called China town section near the FBI building and Ford's Theater about two blocks off the mall and in the center of everything. Clydes was great but a bit pricey and The Matchbox was delightful, modern and inexpensive for what we ordered. Both restaurants were within walking distance of everything and good parking. DC is a most if you've never been or if your returning as I was after so many years. We saw tons, but left tons more to go back to see some day and my guess is by then there will be even more and better attractions.