Friday, June 30, 2017


Our last day here before we head home. We accumulated more than we brought.

Our first stop this day was the National Gallery of Art.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907)Shaw Memorial, 1900, patinated plaster
Even before the war’s end in April 1865, the courage and sacrifice that the all-black 54th Massachusetts Regiment demonstrated at Fort Wagner inspired artists to commemorate their bravery.
The story of the 54th inspired the 1989 movie 'Glory'
This museum was not their favorite
Monet, Claude
French, 1840 - 1926
The Artist's Garden at V├ętheuil 
oil on canvas 

This is the one museum we visited in all of Washington that did not have any lines which was a relief. I enjoy looking at the real deal art of these famous artists. A lot of it is so familiar because it's been commercialized into posters and greeting cards and such. It blows me away to stand in front of something Renoir or Rembrandt painted centuries ago. If I lived in Washington D.C., I think I'd come here often to wander around the maze of rooms or just sit and read in the beautiful gardens.

Elijah was bored ....
.... so bored ....

Neil took these two pictures so I had to place them side by side because it was purely intentional and so funny. I wonder if The Thinker was actually thinking or if he was just bored, too.
I can relate to this one. Instead of the Blind Girl it should have been named the What? Girl

Shelby and I could relate to this one

Wonder what he's thinking about?

No lines. No waiting.
We all enjoyed the gift shop here. I wanted one of everything.

Nope. This is not on display at the National Art Gallery. Saw this in Hard Rock Cafe. We wandered in to kill some time before heading to the Ford's Theater Museum. Hard Rock was packed with (you guessed it) school trip kids. So I wandered around looking at memoralibilia while Neil and kids browsed the gift shop. The place has changed in the last 25 years of course, so the displays have changed to accommodate the younger generation (Beyonce and such).

This caught my eye.

We had been looking forward to the Ford's Theater Museum, but that's changed, too. Many artifacts have been moved elsewhere. They still have the coat Lincoln wore the night of his assassination. And this little Deringer Booth used to kill Lincoln. It's tiny but packed a deadly wallop, especially when aimed point blank at Lincoln's head.

St. Patrick's Church

We stopped at Union Station on our way to a night tour of D.C. Neil had booked for us. Also, we wanted to check out Shake Shack--someone had recommended to Neil as a good place to eat. It's inside Union Station which is an enormous Amtrak train station and shopping/restaurant center.

Shake Burger Fries. Totally delicious.

Lots of history here and beautiful architecture

Union Station also serves as commuter rail services, the Washington Metro, and buses. It opened in 1907 and down the line of time was restored in the 1980's. Union Station is owned by Amtrak and the United States Department of Transportation.

Columbus Circle also known as Union Station Plaza or Columbus Plaza. It is located between Union Station and the grounds of the United States CapitolUnion Station and its access roads interrupt this circle on one side, forming an arc. In the center of Columbus Circle is the Columbus Fountain, a monument to Christoper Columbus.

Built in 1912. Old Chris Columbus gets such a bad rap these days, I'm surprised this hasn't been removed.

This is Bobby, our night tour guide, who told the seven or eight of us on his tour van, that we would be entertained and enlightened. And he was right. Told us all sorts of fun facts and little known trivia about each place he took us, and laced it all with corny jokes and pop quizzes questioning what we did (and didn't) know about American history. He was a lot of fun and very nice and likable.

The whole purpose of doing this "night" tour was to see the monuments all lit up. But an Eastern time  zone plus the late sunset didn't help at all. We stopped at places we'd already visited. The Capitol building terrace was being set up for an Army band concert.

Caught a fleeting shot of the J. Edgar Hoover Building

The ever-present Washington Monument in sunset mode

Back to the White House where Elijah noticed sniper tripods on the roof

Made a quick stop at the WWII Memorial--way less people around at this time of day

History lessons with peeps

The Tidal Basin is a partially man-made reservoir between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel in Washington, D.C. 
It was really beautiful as the sun finally set.

The basin covers an area of about 107 acres and is 10 feet deep. It is where several memorials are situated, two of them being the Jefferson Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

We finally got to see the Jefferson Memorial, which, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful memorials in Washington, and we wanted to see it at night.

19-foot bronze statue of Jefferson, his gaze toward the White House

Our next stop was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, our first time visit.

The 30 foot tall granite statue is called the Stone of Hope. It is impressive.

The final stop on our night tour was the Lincoln Memorial

Our tour guide Bobby pointed out that there are two sides to Lincoln's pose--on his left side, his fist is clenched, his eyebrow raised, his leg pulled back and bent as though he were about to leap out of his seat. This is his 'war' side. On his right side, his hand, face, and leg are relaxed. This is his 'peace' side. Or as Bobby put it, his 'chill' side.
Our week in Washington, D.C. came to a close that evening. This was my parting shot.
We all enjoyed the journey and the adventure. It was fun and educational and interesting and boring and exhausting and at times frustrating sometimes all rolled into the same hour. Neil and I had such a great time with our grandpeeps this week. We'd do it with them all over again.
We headed back to our hotel at 10:00 to start the process of packing it all up and taking it all home.

5:30 A.M. came way too early for us

Checkin' Out

For all our efforts to get it all together early, check out, and walk over to L'Enfant Station to catch the Metro to the airport, we ran right into a locked Metro gate. As it turns out, the Metro schedule runs later on the weekends. Metrorail begins service at 5 am Monday through Friday, 7 am on Saturdays.
So all we could do was wait. Shelby wisely chose to sit.

Elijah chose to ride the escalator. Up ...

....and down. At one point, he ran hard all the way up the down escalator, got over heated, stumbled and fell and cut his knee on the metal stair, all of which made him sick and hurl. A nice parting gift from E to D.C.  By the time I scrambled through my suitcase, looking for a Band Aid and Neosporin (I was prepared--like a regular Girl Scout) and got his knee bandaged and got him some water, the Metro gate finally opened.
We were freaking out because the Metro line we needed to be on was taking forever to arrive (an hour!) which caused us a hassle getting to the airport in time to figure out how to get our boarding passes (different set up in D.C. than Nashville where it was much easier).
Freaked out again when we showed our flight number and time to an airport clerk(?) who told us our plane was already boarding. We were in panic mode by then, but she figured it all out for us and was very helpful and got our boarding passes printed out.
We checked our bags and hurried to security which was another comedy of errors. Neil was carrying in his carry-on a scented candle that Shelby had bought and somehow this showed up as something weird in the x-ray that caused the security checker to pull Neil and his bag aside where the checker unpacked Neil's carefully packed carry-on and unpack the candle only to give Neil the go ahead to leave, leaving Neil to repack his bag, all the while trying to race to the airline gate. And as he hurried away, stuff was spilling out of his bag that he had to stop and stuff back in the bag.
In retrospect, we can laugh at the whole situation but at that point we were desperate to make our flight, which was indeed boarding the shuttle to take us to the plane. By the grace of God, we made it.

Fear of flying? Nope!

Ready for the next adventure.

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