I went to Washington D.C. last Wednesday and came home yesterday (Sunday); it was a very quick trip, but when you work in the private sector (like I do) and get little time off (like I do), short vacations are the only vacations, which in the end they are better than no vacations.
I’m surprised, though, what you can get done in a short period of time.
My first stop was a visit to the retirement community where my very lovely and gracious Aunt Helen lives; she’s one of my dad’s older sisters, and here she is on a cruise we took up the Potomac:
Helen, hard to believe you’re 85! You look fantastic!
Helen drove us both to Alexandria, where the cruise started; and I might add that Helen is a very steady driver who also knows that a yellow light means….hurry up!! From Alexandria we traveled north by boat and had a great view of so many of the famous Washington D.C. sights. Plus we had a nice meal, too.
The next day we met my paternal first cousin, Therese, at Mount Vernon and had lunch at the restaurant there; for a touristy spot with servers in period costume, I was expecting the food to be mediocre and expensive, and instead it was excellent and reasonably priced. Therese is slightly older than me (though of course she doesn’t look it); we met for the first time last year, in Boston, though it seems we’ve known each other longer than that. Yum! Here we all are, messy plates and all:
After lunch, we went to Arlington National Cemetary, where Helen’s husband Ed is buried; Helen has a cemetary pass, which made entrance a breeze: to say there are thousands of tourists there is an understatement.
Regardless of whether you’re a hawk or a dove, Republican warmonger or Berrigan Brothers Fan Club member, Arlington functions on a lot of different, complex and nuanced levels when it comes to addressing war and loss, both personal and collective.
I’m very lucky in that Therese and her husband, Mike, are practically D.C natives and know all the ins-and-outs and how to get around. We spent the next (hot and humid) day walking around the National Mall; we passed through all of the many national monuments, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial, places that have prominent roles in the national imagination and in popular culture, but places I’ve never experienced first-hand.
Mike took some great photos of us; here’s me and Therese at the Lincoln Memorial.
Mike took another super shot of us with a view of the Capitol:
But my favorite photo Mike took is of me in front of the U.S.S. Enterprise at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum:
Mike said he’s been going to the National Air and Space Museum since 1976 and I believe it: he knows the location and design specifications of every exhibit. Next time there’s a national search to fill some executive position at that place they should pick him. I can’t wait to go back and have Mike show me around some more. It was just a brief stop at the museum; but like I said at the beginning, with the right people and the right planning, it’s amazing what great experiences you can have in a very finite span of time.
Looking forward to my next visit….if I can save up the vacation time!