Friday, July 24, 2015

Family Vacation 2015 - DC Day 2

When we last left our adventures, we had moved out to stay in the suburbs with our friends and were happily hanging out together before the start of a busy day 2.

 One of the only things we made plans to see in advance was the Washington Monument. I got tickets way back in the winter (unlike the Capitol tour tickets I requested only one day in advance).  Brent had never been up in the monument even after 8 years living in DC due to ongoing construction and the last time I went inside was in high school. Also, B had been reading a series of books in which the Washington Monument plays a key role so we were keen to go ---- and almost missed our tour.  We got a slow start in the morning and then had to walk, take the subway, take a shuttle bus, and walk some more to pick up our rental car.  With one person that might not take long, but with five, a stroller, and car seats it took quite awhile.  We did find an amazing parking space nearby, but were about 15 minutes late to arrive and I'd given up hope.  Luckily, Brent was much more persistent and just kept asking around until he discovered that they would gladly honor our tickets.  Hooray!
 The great thing about the ticket system (other than the flexibility) is that the lines are short and everything is well-managed so no long lines for small people to endure. Interesting quotes, like the above, and short movies also punctuate the small waiting area.
 Up top - great views of DC from all directions. It was a bit cloudy and drizzly, but still a great view of the White House from this window.   Those of you who have spent time on the national mall in the summer can appreciate how lovely a cool rainy day was for this type of visiting.
 In vacation photos, particularly of places I've been before, the people are what matters and I love this photo of our crew.
 After the views above, we took a stair case down one level to a small museum area with fun facts about the monument including these lightning rods.  The trip down was particularly awesome.  Periodically the glass on the sides of the elevator would suddenly become clear (rather than opaque).  Through the glass, we could see the interior or the monument.  It features stones from each state and many other organizations, countries, etc... The very first stone we say--- Oklahoma!!  The stones were beautiful, varied, and oh so interesting.  Three times on the way down the elevator slows and the glass clears, it is awesome.
 Then we headed back outside for the short walk to the WWII memorial and the mandatory search for the Oklahoma pillar.  Everyone immediately takes photos at their state's pillar.  We spent some time talking about their Great-Grandfathers who served in WWII, the two different fronts of the war, etc... B is old enough to be interested and absorb this, which lead to a lot of interesting discussions as we toured on this trip. (Note the penguin touring with us as well).

 The view back towards the Washington monument.
 Each star on this wall represents about 100 lives lost during WWII (over 406k total). It is breathtaking in that moment of realization.

 Strike a pose!  We didn't make the long walk to the Lincoln/Vietnam/Korea War monuments this time.  We saw them a bit from a distance and driving by, but decided to conserve our travelers a bit as that walk is farther than it seems. (Yes, we've been fooled by it before and while they are amazing and important this won't be their only opportunity to visit DC)
Next up, a quick walk past the White House before heading to GW for lunch and an ice cream social with my colleagues. 
A lot of my work family was on vacation, but we had a great time chatting with those that were available and the kids tremendously enjoyed the ice cream sundaes.  Everyone was very sweet and I'm so glad we got to do it.  Afterwards, in a tradition my Dad would approve of, we wandered around campus telling stories, finding my graduation brick in the quad, etc...  We happened upon the new GW Textile Museum and everyone really wanted to go.  I had never been, but have wanted to so we gave it a shot!

We did just one floor of the museum and it isn't tremendously kid friendly, but it is beautiful and high tech.  I really enjoyed the concepts behind the exhibit and kind of want my house to look like the insides (color scheme etc) of this museum.  I was impressed and very much enjoyed it.  The kids left asking if we could go to more museums... ummm,yes, this is the place for that. (Although further museum visits had to wait until Friday).

We visited George in Kogan Plaza, played a bit, and rested before heading off to Georgetown. 

I loved driving through Georgetown.  It remains as cute and charming as ever.  Our first stop on campus was Brent's old lab, which was oddly exactly the same.  We did run in to Dr. Kromer and discovered that the lab will move in just a few weeks so we caught it in its last moments there. I love this blurry photo of the kids in the hall in the lab building where Brent (and I) spend a lot of time well before they were born. I also love that E fell asleep while Dr. Kromer talked (he is not the first one to do so.)
We made it to Healy Hall via a very circuitous route as Georgetown University has built a lot of things since we were last there and several areas remain under construction.  The kids dubbed it a castle and I have to agree.  M also spotted the "Grandfather Tree" (Not pictured) that my dad used to love and that she immediately loved and found fascinating and sure to be a fairy hotel.  It was very sweet. 

 We also visited Dahlgren Chapel, where Brent and I went to church during most of our time there.
 Healy Hall is beautiful inside and out and the cannons are great fun.
It was then time to head back to Virginia.  Throughout our Georgetown adventures M found moss everywhere, which she says mean faeries live there.  She touched every mossy tree on the way back to the car and had a delightful time on this enchanted campus. 

 We joined our friends for a dinner picnic in the park (the same park where B used to play as a toddler). It was, of course, followed by frozen custard, sorbet, or Popsicle at the Dairy Godmother, which is every bit as delicious as we remember. (As an aside, this week B asked me where the closest Dairy Godmother location is and I had to inform him that this was the only one... clearly he is a fan).
 We took our treats outside and enjoyed the music and fun of Del Ray's 1st Thursday festival.
Some kind woman invited B to participate in the cake walk (Cleo, the daughter of our friends, is in the yellow dress and helped him out).  To his great excitement he was one of the (many) winners and selected some blue cupcakes to be enjoyed the next day.
At this point we were all pretty exhausted and headed back the Heather's house to try to get our crew to sleep.  It was a lovely day filled with friends and favorite places. 

Everyone's favorites from Day 2 were:

M- Washington monument & going to get ice cream

B - WWII memorial and talking w/ OGC friends at lunch

E- pants and clothes, (He might have been exhausted when polled or maybe is talking about the costumes at the textile museum)

Brent - Catching up with Dr Kromer in the lab, Visiting the Georgetown campus

Abbey- inside stones of Washington monument; Lunch with OGC,  and visiting the textile museum

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