Washington DC - Top Six Things

Here's a cool thing. Kendra's mom(Grammy Adele, G-Ma, or my personal favorite "Ladele") has decided to introduce each of her grandchildren to American history with the gift of a trip to Washington, DC. Instead of taking everyone, we decided to split the trips, so this past month we travelled with the top three Mangoboys to DC and Colonial Williamsburg.

It was a very fun trip. Kendra planned out all of our events and did a great job allowing us to see more than the highlights of the city and surrounding region. There is so much to report on, but to keep it simple, here are my top six highlights of our week on the east coast.

6. The Metro. I'm not a regular commuter in the DC area. I don't know how good or bad it is on a daily basis for commuting. But, if you have to use a public transportation system, it is hard to beat the Metro system in Washington. It was super easy to understand and navigate for newbies and tourists. We only used our rental car once to go into town and the rest of the time we easily travelled to and from on the train.
Maybe I'm being naive (probably), but I felt very safe and especially loved the opportunity to sleep on my way in and out of town. Very cool indeed!

5. Art Galleries. We visited two art galleries: The Smithsonian Gallery and The National Gallery of Art. They were both fantastic. The main exhibit on display at the Smithsonian was the personal collection of Norman Rockwell's belonging to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Way cool! The National Gallery of Art was equally phenomenal. Walking from room to room took us from the 13th to the 17th century of Dutch, French, Italian, and American pieces of art. Seriously, from a guy whose knowledge of art stops at Disney cartoons, these two museums were a highlight of our week! My personal favorite find was DaVinci's smudged thumbprint in one of his paintings. How cool is that?

4. The Library of Congress. This was my first trip to the Library of Congress and I was stunned by the beauty and architecture of this building. I'm not normally moved by grand architecture, but this place is truly amazing. I watched Nicholas Cage run around the building in "National Treasure 2," but that does not begin to do this place justice. As the largest library in the world, they have over 140 million volumes. We were able to see a real Guttenburg Bible on display. We browsed Thomas Jefferson's personal library, and the list goes on. They receive over 20,000 new items every single day. We could have spent an entire day just touring the library.

3. Maryland Crabs. Here is a little known fact for the readers of theMT. I was born in Baltimore, Maryland. It must be in my genetic make-up, but we feasted on a dozen Maryland blue crabs until our bellies were full. We didn't take the boys (acted "shelfish"-hahahaha). These tasty big boys (did you know you order Maryland crabs by sex and size) were doused in Old Bay and accompanied by a dozen Blue Point oysters (not ordered by sex) and a few Red Stripes and "the best Arnold Palmer Kendra has ever tasted." For our west coast friends, we are still partial to the steamed Dungenous crabs. We can't wait for crab-feed season (the only high point in otherwise foggy Januarys).

2. Mt. Vernon. Hands down, my favorite piece of history continues to be the home and property of George Washington. Gorgeous riverfront acreage, beautiful grounds and a wonderfully restored home. What's not to love?
There is plenty to learn about Washington's life as a farmer, a soldier, a president and a husband, but my favorite fact has to do with his prolific correspondence. In the course of his life, George Washington wrote over 20,000 pieces of personal correspondence. Granted, he had secretaries, but that is a lot of ink/feather letter writing (as we struggle to reply to an email).

1. Companionship. The sites were terrific, but at the top of my list was the company I enjoyed. I loved hanging out with these goofballs for ten days. We ate a ton of good food, walked our butts off, and just enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with these young men.
They were great travelers and had great attitudes as we dragged them through the city for ten days. Iron hats at Jamestown, juicy burgers at the Hard Rock Cafe, drinking songs in a Williamsburg tavern, balsa wood airplanes at the hotel, and trying to act cool on the Metro...just a few of my favorite memories with these guys!

Thanks Ladele for such a great trip! You rock!

Quietly making noise,
Fletch