Washington, D.C. Journals

An Eight-Day Vacation in Washington, D.C.

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A June 2005 trip to Washington, D.C. by lgarcia45

Quote: This was a vacation designed for fun, learning, and discovery of our nation's capital.

An Eight-Day Vacation in Washington, D.C.

Overview

Quote:
Most memorable moments for us: Seeing the Supreme Court hand down an opinion, Walking through the White House, Touching the Apollo 11 capsule at the Air and Space Museum. Best Things To Do: The National Gallery of Art for Adults, the National Museum of Natural History (quite a mouthfull)'s Orkin Insect Zoo for kids, Gazing at the Declaration of Indipendence and all four pages of the Consitution that make it all possible.Quick Tips: The Washington D.C. convention/visitors bureau runs a good website from which you can order an informative book. Mt. Vernon and Georgetown also maintain websites, as do all the Smithsonian Museums. If you don't know who your representative is, just use the ke...Read More

Courtyard by Marriott Arlington/Rosslyn

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Hotel | "Marriott Courtyard"

Quote:
The Courtyard is located a few blocks from the Rossyln Metro stop in Arlington, VA. It is thus very convenient to Reagan National and all points served by the Metro. This is the primary reason we picked this hotel. There is also a Safeway food store just behind the hotel that makes buying such items easy. Around the hotel are several fast-food joints, like Quiznos and Subway, plus a Memphis-style barbeque place and a nicer-than-normal Chinese restaurant. There is also an Italian takeout/dine-in place (good) called Il Raddichio. The Marriott also has a van that can take you a bit farther afield if you would like to nosh at several other restaurants, including a Cheesecake Factory. Ask the front desk...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 3, 2005

Courtyard by Marriott Arlington/Rosslyn
1533 Clarendon Blvd.
Arlington, Virginia 22209
(703) 528-2222

Filomena Ristorante of Georgetown

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Restaurant | "Filomena"

Quote:
We had a rather late lunch at this spot, which was recommended to me. Filomena's, like many nice restaurants, is less expensive for lunch, even though the menu is largely the same as dinner. It is just off the intersection of M and Wisconsin Avenues, and the Georgetown Connector (the royal blue-colored bus) stops steps from its doors. It is a rather small restaurant done in green and white, with a liberal use of mirrors to make the dining room appear larger than it actually is. Filomena's is proud of the many celebrities who have dined there, and a card outside the door tells you just who has been to their establishment. Most recently, President Clinton and Hillary dined here Valentine's Day, 2005....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 1, 2005

Filomena Ristorante of Georgetown
1063 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20007
(202) 337-2782

Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

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Attraction | "National Air & Space Museum"

Quote:
The National Air and Space Museum is supposed to be the most visited museum, not only in D.C. but in the world. After our visit, I think this is true. The museum highlights the development of Aviation and Space travel, including the role of Aviation in WWII. Although, like nearly all of D.C.'s museums, entry is free, IMAX movies are shown for a fee. We did not see any because they tend to induce motion sickness in me. Allow about 2.5 to 3 hours to see this museum. We arrived prior to opening time (10am) and entered the moment it opened, along with over 500 waiting people. Like most D.C. museums in the post-9/11 era, there is the security check. The main hall features milestones in flight, inclu...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 30, 2005

Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Independence Avenue At 4th Street SW
Washington, DC

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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Attraction | "Holocaust Memorial Museum"

Quote:
The Holocaust Memorial Museum demonstrates, if nothing else, that there is no limit to the inhumanity of man to his fellow man. Galleries and displays do not sanitize the horror of the Holocaust, and as such, it is not recommended for children younger than 13 due to the images. There were images here I had never seen before, and they are horrifying. I can only guess that the filmstrips I saw in school were edited because they were considered too "strong". The museum itself is designed to resemble an early 20th-century factory--an analogy, I think, to the factory-like mechanization of death the Nazis developed. As you enter, you are encouraged to pick up a "passport" that corresponds to a real v...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 30, 2005

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, Sw
Washington, D.C., United States 20024
(202) 488-0400

National Gallery of Art and Sculpture Garden

Attraction | "National Gallery of Art"

Quote:
This was the most beautiful museum we visited. We gravitated towards the Italian Renissance galleries, as they are my favorite. Each gallery has tablets in a holder describing the works in depth. The museum is quite large, so it is helpful to stop at the information desk and ask about highlights if you have limited time or have an area of special interest, like Rembrandt. Currently, the museum has a special exhibition of Gilbert Stuart portraits (look at your $1 bill--that's a Stuart of Washington) until late July. The reason is the normal home of these paintings. The National Portrait Gallery is undergoing renovation. A notable highlight familiar to anyone who has seen the movie "Glory" is a cast of ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 30, 2005

National Gallery of Art and Sculpture Garden
4th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20565
(202) 737-4215

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Attraction | "National Museum of Natural History"

Quote:
There is one overriding reason for women to take in this museum--the gem collection! An entire gallery is dedicated to some of the finest examples of rubies, opals, diamonds, and emeralds the most famous houses (Cartier, Tiffany, etc.) have designed. My personal favorite was a ruby/diamond ring with one of the clearest (very rare) pigeon-blood red rubies in the world. The stones are mesmerizing. Expect crowds in this gallery that inch along the display cases. The Hope Diamond is such a draw, it is mounted in a case that allows for visitors to encircle it. The gem in its diamond necklace rotates around, giving everyone a good look-see. Kids will love the dinosaur exhibit, as well as the Orkin Insect Zo...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 30, 2005

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC
(202) 633-1000

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

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Attraction | "The National Archives Experience"

Quote:
During my last visit to D.C., the archives were undergoing renovation, and the Charters of Freedom, the Declaration, and Constitution were unavailable for public view. If you wish to see these documents--and I hope you do--be prepared to wait quite a bit if you hit it at peak times. We waited in line over an hour in the June heat. The "Experience" gives visitors an opportunity to learn about the Charters and see a film. We choose to go directly to the document room. You will be surprised at the low light level. It is kept so for the sake of the documents. The documents are in a large semicircle with other documents that lead up to and expanded upon the Declaration and Constitution. It's really ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 30, 2005

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Nw
Washington, DC 20408
(202) 357-5350

National World War II Memorial

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Attraction

Quote:
The WWII Memorial sits between the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool. Most of the memorial is below ground, so as to preserve the line of sight from the Lincoln Memorial down the Mall. With fountains, eagles, wreaths, and stars (400--one per 1,000 killed in action), the Memorial pays homage to the "greates generation" that saved the world from darkness. Panels and the entrance ramps show the start of the war (for the U.S.) with depictions of Pearl Harbor, scenes of citizens leaving family and home to enter the military, the homefront contribution, and the return of the victorious heroes at the Southern Panel. Scenes typical to the branches of service at the time decorate the North Panel. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 30, 2005

National World War II Memorial
Constitution Avenue And 15th Street, Nw
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 426-6841

Jefferson's Legacy: The Library of Congress

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Attraction | "The Library of Congress"

Quote:
The Library of Congress was a revelation for me. It is easily the most ornate federal building I have ever seen. Tours are conducted through lobby/display areas of the library, which is a true library, although most of its collections are located elsewhere. A nondescript white building just east of the Cannon offices houses many books. The Library of Congress struck me as a love poem to all things connected to books, done in stone. Everywhere you look, you will see paintings, mosaics, and statues dedicated to thought, learning, and writing. The genesis of the library was the collection of Thomas Jefferson. Now, the collection ranges from two copies of every book published in the USA to countles...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 1, 2005

Jefferson's Legacy: The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave, SE
Washington, D.C., United States 20540
(202) 707-5000

The White House

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Attraction

Quote:
Unfortunately, things have changed since my first visit in '91 with regard to visiting the White House. Tours are currently ONLY possible in groups of 10 (private citizens) arranged through your congressman. I applied for my tickets for June in January. Typically, they will give a yeah or neah 1 month before the date(s) you ask for. Further, you will be asked to provide full names and social security numbers for each person wishing to enter the White House. After a simple background check, your congressman will let you know your appointment time. At the White House, you must provide a picture ID and follow the rules, which you will receive beforehand. They are the strictest rules for any "sight" in...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 1, 2005

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
(202) 456-2121

Washington Monument

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Attraction

Quote:
Currently, the area around the monument is undergoing renovation and construction. The only way to approach the base of the structure is to obtain a ticket at the national park kiosk (clearly marked). Do know that tickets are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at, I believe, 8:00 or 8:30am. They go fast! You are better served by logging on the NPS website and securing your ticket this way. You can select a date/time convenient to you. We secured ours about 6 weeks out. If you plan your visit during the popular summer tourist season, get your tickets ASAP. A small convenience fee may apply (well worth it). The monument offers the best views of the city. New high-speed elevator...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 1, 2005

Washington Monument
Near the Center of the National Mall
Washington, D.C. 20024
(202) 426-6841

Arlington National Cemetery

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Attraction | "Arlington National Cemetary"

Quote:
Pay homage to the men and women who have fallen in the line of duty, as well as those who served when their country (you and me) needed them most - visit Arlington. The premiere national cemetery in the USA is easily accessible via the Metro. A visitor's center has exhibits dedicated to Kennedy's interment, as well as the history of the cemetery. Should you happen to know someone resting here, there is a dedicated kiosk to provide directions and localization of a grave. You will need the full name of the deceased, plus branch of service. Tourmobile offers a get-on/get-off service for a fee of $6 (adults). If you have already walked a great deal, it’s a good idea. Distances can be greater than you r...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 1, 2005

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia
Arlington, Virginia 22211
(703) 607-8000

Lincoln Memorial

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Attraction

Quote:
Be prepared to walk if you wish to visit the Lincoln Memorial. The closest Metro stop is Smithsonian. Another option is to take the Tourmobile that stops here and 19 other places around D.C. It’s a jump-on, jump-off-type of service. We arrived via the Metro. Anytime day or night (unless it’s quite late,) the LM is crowded with visitors. If you want a photo of yourself and the Great Emancipator, you must either be patient or willing to have other people in the shot. Take time to visit the sides of the memorial to read Lincoln's “Gettysburg Address” and other notable speeches. Ask a park ranger if Lincoln's hands are spelling out the initials of Galludette University (for the deaf) in sign language. Ama...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 2, 2005

Lincoln Memorial
West Potomac Park
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 426-6895

George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

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Attraction | "Mount Vernon"

Quote:
If you have a Metro day or week pass, there is an inexpensive way to reach Mt. Vernon. Take the yellow line to its terminus, Huntington Station; exit the lower stairs; and use the Fairfax Connector bus no. 101. The cost is a mere $1 per person, and it runs about every hour. The ride (with stops) to Mt. Vernon takes about 20 minutes. This mode of arrival offers a significant advantage over the Tourmobile that departs from Arlington Cemetery. 1) You can take as much time/little time as YOU want to explore Mt. Vernon 2) There are some cost savings that can add up if your party is large. In addition, the Tourmobile service is seasonal. When ready to leave, just pick up the no. 101 right in front ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 2, 2005

George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, VA 22121
(703) 780-2000

U.S. Supreme Court

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Attraction | "Supreme Court of the United States"

Quote:
This neoclassical building looks far older than it really is. The Supreme Court met in odd rooms in the Capitol (you'll see one if you tour the Capitol) until the early '30s, when this structure was completed. Tours start at 9am when the court is not in session. After the usual security checks, a set number of visitors will be ushered into the actual court chambers. A guide will discuss the workings of the court, plus the symbolism of the sculptures and friezes above. The decorations are of lawgivers throughout time: Confucious, Hammurabi, Mohammed, and Moses, among others. By sheer serendipity, the Thursday we choose to tour the court was the day of a very rare opinion. Usually the court hears cas...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 2, 2005

U.S. Supreme Court
1 First Street NE
Washington, District of Columbia 20543
(202) 479-3000

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Attraction | "The Vietnam Memorial"

Quote:
The Vietnam Memorial is a short walk from the Lincoln Memorial. Books are available (laminated and protected against the elements) if you are looking for a particular individual. The books are arranged alphabetically and give you a panel number and line. The Vietnam Memorial is arranged something like a "V," with the intersecting point having the name of the first and last soldier to die/go missing. A statue of three soldiers is set into the space behind the "V" on grass. They appear to be looking at the memorial. Close by, in a grove of trees, is a memorial to the nurses who also served. The tributes left by family members and fellow soldiers are touching. Periodically, they are picked up by the N...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 2, 2005

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Bacon Drive and Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C., United States
(202) 426-6841

Georgetown Kennedy Walking Tour

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Attraction

Quote:
The Georgetown Visitors Bureau on M Street, just off the intersection of M and Wisconsin, offers self-guided walking tours of the home JFK lived in prior to becoming president. The homes, beginning with JFK's days as a freshman senator, dot the area. Included is the home he bought Jackie as a wedding present and where Caroline and JFK Jr. were born, as well as the Catholic church they worshipped at. We were somewhat foot tired and could only handle about half of the spots. Georgetown offers great shopping and lots of dining possibilities, when you’re ready to take a break. We choose Filomena's. Georgetown is easily reached using the Georgetown Connector bus, a royal blue-colored, small bus that pic...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 2, 2005

Georgetown Kennedy Walking Tour
Georgetown Visitors Bureau
Washington, United States

Quote:
The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Catholic Church in the United States. It is a 10-minute walk from the Brookland/CUA (Catholic University of America) Metro stop. The Church is dedicated to Our Lady. It is n prayer in stone to Our Lady with two levels, a Great Upper and Lower of Crypt Church. The Upper Church has many-sided chapels decorated in mosaic to the various appearances of Our Lady. The main alter has a Byzantine-styled mosaic (said to be the largest in the world) of Our Lord. He has his arms upraised and looks quite stern. The guide said that many people are disturbed by this Byzantine-styled Jesus, as opposed to the meeker, softer Jesus of Latin depictions, but I liked i...Read More

The Capitol

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The best way to see The Capitol is by contacting your representative and arranging for a tour conducted by one of his/her aides. This way, you will avoid the extremely long lines the "general visitor" must tolerate. With summer's sometime-sweltering temperatures, this can really save some frazzled nerves. I contacted our rep several months ahead to set up our tour, but you may be able to do with only a few weeks notice with your rep. A small bonus was that after meeting our representative at his office, his aide lead us to the Capitol via the extensive underground tunnels that connect the Capitol, House of Representatives office buildings, and Senate office buildings. Our wait time for the security ch...Read More