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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Not a roadtrip but...Wash DC help requested

    My husband has a business trip to Washington DC and I'm tagging along. We were there about 6 years ago in the summer. This will be a winter trip. Leaving Sea-Tac 12/02 and returning on 12/09. Last trip we saw most of the highlights. Some we will, of course, visit again. Just the different season will make some things look different. And, of course, exhibits change so we will be doing the usual again. And the new Native American Museum and WWII Memorial weren't there during our last visit so they will be tops on our list.

    So, I guess what I'm asking is this: after we do the usual stuff, are there any hidden treasures that we should seek out? I'm looking for little known historical treasures, quirky stuff, and maybe even some wonderful neighborhoods with unique architecture and interesting shops/restaurants that it would be fun to walk around.

    I'm not looking to go far from DC. I know that there's a lot of neat things not too far away but we are doing this on a budget. (Yeah, I know, hard to do in DC.) I think a rental car or train tickets to other cities might
    burst our budget. And I know there is plenty enough to do right in DC and the immediate surrounding areas.

    We've had a very hectic summer/fall so we're looking at this trip as fun and recuperative. Plus, I'm recovering from a back injury that will somewhat limit my ability to be as active as I like to be when I travel. Normally, when I travel, I like to go-go-go but I think this trip needs to be a bit more laid back for both those reasons. Another reason why I'm not anxious to tack on going much away from the general DC metro area.

    Any ideas/hints/tips would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Three resource ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    My husband has a business trip to Washington DC and I'm tagging along.
    I am looking forward to your take on the National Museum of the American Indian. Here is field report that Megan filed a few weeks after it opened. The Medical Museum at Walter Reed has always fascinated us. And I would suggest getting a copy of this audio book -- I have been the Mall several times and I didn't know half of what I was missing. For a intrepid roadtripper -- you have got to go get a photo (of yourself) at the Zero Milestone.

    Mark

  3. Default Baltimore

    I'm looking for little known historical treasures, quirky stuff, and maybe even some wonderful neighborhoods with unique architecture and interesting shops/restaurants that it would be fun to walk around.
    City center to city center, Baltimore is only 35 miles away. Perhaps that is within your range? If so, then I would suggest the Edgar Allen Poe house, his burial site nearby at the Westminster Burying Ground and Fell's Point, a historical district with quirk written all over it, lots of shops, etc! Each year on the anniversary of Poe's birth, someone leaves three roses and a half consumed bottle of cognac on Ed's tomb.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Slowing Down in DC

    If you can't go-go-go on this trip, take in some of DC's quieter and more scenic aspects such as Rock Creek Park or those parts of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal that are in the District, or even some of the less visited National Monuments such as the Jefferson Memorial (a personal favorite for its tranquility, setting and the man it honors) or the FDR Memorial just across the Tidal Basin from the Jefferson.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Great hints....keep 'em coming!

    I appreciate this. As a Poe fan, it never dawned on me to check that out in Baltimore. My daughter is a HUGE Poe fan so I'm sure she would be thrilled if we at least brought back pictures of that. (Yes, the roses each year on his birthday is a pretty cool mystery.) Baltimore is probably within range.

    Saw the Jefferson and FDR memorials last time. May make time for them again this time because they were pretty awe-inspiring. However, things like Rock Creek Park, the canals, and the Walter Reed Medical Museum are new to me and just the type of stuff I was looking for. Thanks!

    Mark, I'll try to write a good, thorough field report upon my return.

    Any other ideas?

    Also, I'm usually not one for tours but are there any tours that you all are aware of that are worth it. A big area of interest to me would be one that takes you to historic settings. Like to homes where historical people lived, settings where historic events happened, etc. I've been doing some googling on this but haven't come up with too much yet that intrigues me.

    Thanks again.

  6. Default Try to get the special White House tour

    Judy --

    There are two types of tours of the White House. The first is the standard one, where you show up and sign up for a tour. But there's a second one, which is only available through your local Congressperson or Senator. It's a much better tour -- but you need to call the Congressperson's office and ask about it.

    There are also a lot of interesting smaller musuems and the like in the DC area -- for example, if you drive up to Baltimore you'll drive past the National Cryptographic museum. That's where all the code breaking and other highly secret stuff is on display. There's also a cold war Musuem now in DC (The International Spy Musuem), the Newseum (museum of the news industry) in Arlington, etc.

    My personal favorite is to check out the National Archives to see the actual Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

    But depending upon what you like, there's an "Insect Zoo" in the National History Musuem on the mall, or some amazing stuff in the National Art Gallery (also on the mall), there's a Textile Museum (surprizingly good), there's a Bead Musuem (never been..), the Library of Congress, the Folger Shakespeare Musuem, the Cocoran, and just tons of others.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Ohhhh, spy stuff!

    The cryptography and spy museum sound very cool. I'm adding them to my list. Thanks!

    Yes, we've contacted our Congressman for WH tour tickets. I didn't know this would get us a better tour so I'm glad we've done that.

    I should probably mention why we're going. This is going to be very cool. The Capital Christmas Tree that will be displayed at the West front of the Capital building is from my area. My husband was invited to attend the ceremonies by the Washington state Forest Service officials who are helping with the tree, so I'm tagging along. We will be in special seating for the actual ceremonial lighting and then be able to attend a special reception after the lighting. I'm not sure what all this means and who attends but I'm really excited about it.

    [Editor's Note:] Some RTA editors were lucky enough to see another "special" holiday tree in 1996 Judy: I hope you get some good photos so we can post on "our" page!

    Thanks for your suggestions. I just went to AAA today and got my free books/maps about the DC area. Lots of stuff to plow through.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-15-2006 at 12:46 PM. Reason: Fixed broken link and added a reference to the RTA visit

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Where are you staying in DC?

    As a teenager I was plopped down in DC twice for 1.5 months each time with no car or any other mode of transportation. I was staying within walking distance of the Kennedy Center (my reason for being there) and of course the Watergate. In fact I wound up getting caught up in a protest outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy that lies between the Kennedy Center and the Watergate.

    I remember being very impressed with the Holocaust Museum and a memorable bike trip over the Potomac to Arlington Cemetary. I however, don't recommend getting separated from your group and wind up walking from the Capitol Building to GWU's campus at midnight on the Fourth of July. :)

    There's always the Smithsonian which I'm sure you've done a gazillion times. I still have lots of sections to explore. I just thoroughly enjoyed walking around the city and exploring all the random little buildings to be found.

    Laura

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default What a great experience for a teen...

    ...even the Saudi embassy protest! LOL

    What were you there for exactly?

    Last time we were there, we had no time to just walk around and explore. It was rush-rush to the various Smithsonians and Memorials. Wonderful trip. I'm not complaining. I'm just hoping this time to do a bit more exploring...like you said, looking at the various buildings, etc. Also checking out some of the different neighborhoods. We never got away from The Mall area last time.

    Do you remember any specific buildings or neighborhoods that we should be on the lookout for?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Why I was there....

    Back before common sense and a car wreck made me realize that I should become an accountant I pursued a career as a cellist. I was in DC for summer camps for young artists at the Kennedy Center. So, I didn't have a whole lot of time for exploration between rehearsals and concerts.

    But, the area just around the Kennedy Center and Watergate is gorgeous. It's right along the Potomac and there is an older neighborhood right there full of big old houses. I always kept in mind that DC is set up as a grid, so I just remembered that I lived at J and 7th ( I'm not sure of the actual address anymore) and worked my way out from there. Also, the Foggy Bottom Metro stop is in that area and I took that a few times. I don't remember it being expensive, but this has been over ten years ago since I was there.

    I can't really recall anything specific now, other than at one point my friends and I had wandered so far that it took us almost two hours to walk back. I vaguely remember that we had decided to walk to the Mall from our dorm room based on our total lack of distance comprehension. And also that the water at the Hall of Records stunk and tasted bad, but we were really desparate and drank it anyway.

    Laura
    Last edited by lhuff; 11-15-2006 at 11:08 AM. Reason: Random obsession with the word "just"

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