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Trip Report Washington D.C.--Museums, Monuments & Mount Vernon

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After all the help I received from Fodorites planning this trip I thought I would post a trip report.

We are a 50-something couple and this was our first trip to Washington D.C. We decided only in August to make this trip. We usually spend more time planning trips but found a good airfare and hotel price so determined to take a week and see the capital. We arrived at Dulles airport early Saturday evening where Abe's Transportation picked us up and drove us to the Omin Shoreham Hotel. We easily checked in and were soon in our room ordering room service. There was a nice feature on the menu to create your own salad. I chose entree size which was way too big but very good. We enjoyed the comfortable room and peace and quiet after spending the day on an airplane. Our room had a king bed, looong bathtub (must be original to the 1930 building), walk-in closet and view of the Washington Monument in the distance.

Sunday October 3
Walked 19,000+ steps
We decided to treat ourselves to breakfast at the hotel this morning in an elegant room with sparkling chandeliers.  We walked around the grounds which are very pretty then took the Metro to the stop nearest the White House for photos.  We we were not able to get a tour of the WH but we were able to secure a Capitol tour on Wednesday.  We walked to the Washington Monument, and the Vietnam and Lincoln Memorials which were both tear inducing. Strangely the Lincoln Memorial gave me that "I am in Washington" moment more than the White House which we saw first.

We noticed a lot of trash on the Mall and from the signs on the ground recalled the march on Saturday. Clean-up from the march caused the street where the Trolley usually stops near the Lincoln Memorial to be closed and we could not find the temporary stop for the Trolley. We saw someone get out of a taxi and were able to take advantage of it and save the Trolley for another day.  Passed the Jefferson Memorial on our drive.  We went to Old Ebbitt Grill which a few people had recommended to us.  We were supposed to have dinner there with friends this night but one of them became ill so we had to cancel and decided to have a late lunch instead. DH had crab cakes benedict and I had roasted salmon with rice.  We shared a piece of peanut butter pie which was wonderful.  I would return just for that pie. I've searched online for the recipe and emailed the Old Ebbitt Grill to see if they will share but if anyone has that recipe please share!

We walked to the American History museum but we'll need to go back and spend more time there.  Julia Child's kitchen, a pair of the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore and Kermit the Frog were the highlights this day.  There is an exhibit on Lincoln and the First Ladies I want to see. The building is rather grey and uninviting and the interior isn't much better. Small rooms held the display of pop culture items and the lighting seemed dim. I understand the care with lighting for preservation but the overall presentation was not attractive.

Walked up the hill to the Metro then hit the CVS near our hotel.  We bought cereal, milk, bowls for breakfast the rest of the week.  We have a little fridge in the room and I joined their guest club when I reserved the room (thanks to another Fodorite).  We get two complimentary drinks each morning so  we'll get our juice, coffee and tea then add our own cereal. We'll be able to save a little money and get ready faster in the morning as we have a lot we want to see each day. We had a light dinner in the bar and watched some football to end this day.

Monday October 4
Walked 14,000+ steps
It rained in the morning but not a bad walk from the Metro to the Mall. Most of this day was spent at the Air & Space Museum. The entry into the Milestones of Flight made an instant impression with several famous aircraft including the Spirit of Saint Louis and an Apollo Spacecraft. We purchased tickets to two films for the afternoon then spent the morning in the many exhibits. Having grown up with the space program we were especially interested in this museum and spent significant time in the Apollo exhibit. We had childhood and teen memories of many of the missions and astronauts. We had been warned against the fast food in this museum so when lunchtime came walked to the American Indian Museum next door. The cafeteria there offered dishes with ingredients known to Native Americans so we shared the sampler which included salmon, bison and 3 sides. I wasn't too crazy about the bison (and I do like some game) at least it was freshly grilled. The rice salad was very good as were the sweet potatoes.

The American Indian Museum was in a beautiful building that stands out from other museums on the Mall for its architecture. The design and presentations of the exhibits were far superior to the American History Museum. The lighting and colors of the displays were beautiful. We could only sample a little of the 4th floor after lunch and hope to return. Gorgeous jewelry in the entrance to the gift shop was way out of my price range.

Returned to the Air & Space for the films. The first one, “To Fly”, was unimpressive on the development of flight. Disjointed and dated they had a lot of nerve charging $9 to view this film--we could have spent more time in the American Indian Museum. The second film, “Legends of Flight” was a bit of a Boeing commercial but a much better film. After visiting a few more exhibits and a purchase in the gift shop we headed toward downtown.

We walked past the IRS building and took the obligatory empty pocket photo on our way to the Old Post Office which I understood to have shops and restaurants. So disappointing. It was a food court with a few souvenir shops. Perhaps I confused this with Union Station? We left and headed uptown toward Ford's Theater to purchase tickets to Sabrina Fair. Too late, the box office was closed. We found a light dinner then returned to the hotel and ordered tix online for the following night.

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