Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Road Trip DC

On Sunday we took off for DC for a few days. Gail had to attend a conference, which left me free to embark on my own tour around the city. It's been a while since I could go around without an agenda. We were able to stay at the Mandarin Oriental

Stop #1: National Law Enforcement Memorial. Hopped off the metro on the wrong side of Judiciary Square, so I had to walk around some of the court house buildings. See, Fredericksburg isn't the only one building new court houses. Although this massive building is simply one of the DC courts.

Found my great grandfather on the memorial wall. They even had free tracing papers and pencils available right there at the park.

Stop #2: The National Building Museum. This stop was completely unexpected. While standing across the road at the Law Enforcement Memorial, I noticed this huge building that appeared to have an open interior and classical architecture. Further inspection lead to the Building Museum. Right now there are only only exhibits on the first floor, while the 2nd floor is being remodelled. The 3rd and 4th floors are for staff. The building has been used for social functions since it's construction in the 1880's.

Stop #3: By far the longest visit was to this unique building just off of the DC Mall. This is the Newseum. Any good blogger's stop off while in DC. This new museum just opened in April 2009. What drew me closer was the facade that contains the 45 words of the first amendment on a huge marble tablet. The view off of the top floor balcony is incredible. Just below is where they tape This Week with George Stephanopoulos. The museum is also rented out for special events, and the 90ft tall hydraulically operated glass enclosed elevators are transformed into bars. The foyers have digitally controlled lighting that illuminates the museum like a bar's dance floor. The museum tour takes you through the history of news reporting, some of the sacrifices reporters have made, and the contributions of both professional and amateurs to the news world.

Stop #4: After cooling off in the Newseum for several hours, I had seen enough and decided to walk back to the hotel. Of course I couldn't make a straight line, so I wandered through the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden. Unfortunately most of the sculptures were put in place many years ago (70's & 80's). Two were missing, presumably out on loan or repair. The fountain was a nice break from the high temps and higher humidity.

Stop #5: Across the mall (which is currently housing several tractor trailers putting away materials from the NASA's 50 yrs), is the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Here several of the outdoor displays are a bit newer. Check out the Needle Tower (1968, but still amazing). I passed two curators that appeared to be painting one of the statues. Did you know that they put wax on the sculptures to preserve them? That's the way they appear to stay shiny all these years.

Stop #6: Ok, this wasn't a stop, it was more of a detour on the way back. This first picture is of the Earth Day Park, where about a quarter of the grasses are dieing. It lacked upkeep, and there wasn't even a recycle bin. Compare the picture of the Earth Day Park next to the Department of Energy manicured sod next door.

Last stop: Later that evening we went out for dinner on the SW Waterfront. On the walk back, we passed the fish market which was abuzz with activity. At this late hour, the only stand that was relatively empty was this fresh fish stand. I thought it made for an interesting picture. Not your typical DC view.

All in all, not a bad hike.

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1 comment:

Larry Gross said...

Cool! Thanks for sharing!

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