DH, DS and I went to Washington D.C. for three nights recently.
We got a great internet deal at L'Enfant Plaza right by the mall. Usually we stay in Virginia and take the metro into the city. The reason we got such a good deal is that the hotel itself is in desperate need of rennovation. Carpets, furniture--everything had not been upgraded in decades. However, the room was clean and the staff were friendly. It is convenient for the museums around the mall and the metro station is directly under the hotel so you don't have to go outside to access the metro. The only other problem is that it is not convenient for any restaurants within walking distance as those are usually located north of the mall near the Penn Quarter area and not near the business district by L'Enfant Plaza. On a future visit, I would want to stay elsewhere.
On our first day of arrival, it was a rainy dreary day. We hopped onto the metro after check in and went to Capital South to catch the 2:30 Supreme Court lecture. On previous trips to D.C. we had already seen the White House and Capital but never before had we been to the Supreme Court building. What an interesting building! Inside they have portraits of Supreme Court justices surrounding the walls. The lady conducting the lecture took us inside the Supreme Court chambers. She explained in great detail the seating arrangements of the justices and the attorneys as well as spectators. She explained the process by which each side gets only 30 minutes to explain their position. She explained that the justices come in well versed in the arguments at hand and are prepared with questions. She was very thorough and went on to explain the process of the reading of decisions. The lecturer also explained the friezes and architecture within the chambers. It was fascinating to take a seat in such an awe inspiring place even though no oral arguments were being presented that day.
Right across the street was the Library of Congress and we managed to catch the 3:30 tour as it just had started. Another absolutely fabulous building with magnificent architecture. I thought I was in a palace in Europe. The marble and reliefs were so wonderful. The guide made the tour very interesting with great stories for young and old. We went to view the reading rooms as part of the tour. After the tour we ventured into the Thomas Jefferson library with some surviving books dating back to his time. Other books were replicas but still fascinating. A guide told us how to access the other building and we came upon the I Love Lucy special exhibit which was quite small but fun too. A man from that building said the Lucy exhibit brought more visitors there than any other exhibit.
After those two wonderful places, we were quite hungry and I had read about Cava Mezze here on the boards which was close to the Capital South area. The meal was good. We walked to the Eastern Market metro and went back to L'Enfant Plaza for the night.
On our next full day we left early for the Newseum. I absolutely love this place. Although Washington D.C. is loaded with free museums, this particular one is private so they charge admission but it is well worth it. They have a section of the Berlin Wall. They have the radio transmitter from the World Trade Center. They have newspaper articles and headlines from all over the world dating as far back as the 1500's. You can spend all day in that section alone. The highlight for my DS was being a reporter as he read from the teleprompter. Of course, you get to purchase the skit afterwards. They have four different things to choose from--the weather, white house news, capital news and Supreme Court news and each one provides a different background for your report. Very interactive and a lot of fun. They also have games on ethics that you play against other guests. They have individual computer kiosks with more games. You can spend a whole day here.
We had lunch right next door at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant the Source. The food was quite good. It was also very crowded even though it was late. In the late afternoon we ventured over to the National Gallery and spent some time there admiring their great works. For dinner we decided to order in a pizza at the hotel which was delivered to the lobby.
Next day we went to Ford's Theater in the morning and then onto the International Spy Museum. I was going to skip that one but DS saw it and saw the line and wanted to go in so we joined the line. I wish we had skipped it. They herd you in like cattle and you don't have time to enjoy the exhibits because there is another group of people in the elevator after you coming into the small exhibit space. If it were less crowded maybe my view of it would be different. DS liked going through the vents and coming out the other side and he seemed to enjoy it more than we did. We had a fabulous lunch at Zatinya. That was the best meal of the trip. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Renwick Gallery and caught a tour. I thought it was fabulous. DS and DH were not as impressed. We weren't that hungry for dinner so again we just ordered some snacks to bring back to the room.
On our last day we went to see the new Martin Luther King monument. It was nice. My favorite ones are the Jefferson Memorial and the Roosevelt Memorials which we didn't cover this time around. We stopped off at the Goddard Space Center in Maryland and DS had a wonderful time there. He caught an activity that they were doing making rockets and seeing which ones could fly the distance to hit a target. He really liked the space center. They have different kiosks with educational information. it is a small place but they pack a lot of information in it.
All in all, it was a wonderful few days spent in the capital city.
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DH, DS and I went to Washington D.C. for three nights recently.