We traveled from Asheville, North Carolina to Washington D.C. via Charlottesville, Virginia, specifically to stop in on friend of my parents from when I was a child and she a young woman going to college in Wichita Falls. We had a wonderful evening catching up and she was kind enough to indulge me with stories of her time with my parents.
We arrived in D.C. the next day in time for rush hour, but not too late to enjoy a simple evening visiting with my sister who hosted us for the week. Her and her husband’s apartment is very conveniently located to the Smithsonian museums and national monuments, so on our first full day, we opted to use our bicycles instead of dealing with traffic and parking.
After a quick ride through the Capitol grounds, we headed to the National Botanical Garden, but did not stay there long as it was the hottest day of the year for D.C. and botanical gardens aren’t the best places to cool off.
The next stop was a short ride to the National Gallery of Art. We locked our bikes on the rack located near the entrance to the west gallery, which houses the older more traditional pieces, planning to spend an hour and a half there before grabbing some lunch and moving onto the contemporary galleries in the east building.
The beauty of the art took over us immediately and we completely lost ourselves in the worlds and times of Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir and Pissarro.
Three hours later, the hunger pangs in our stomachs demanded our attention back to the present, so we headed out of the museum with the intention to find a nearby diner or deli. Those plans quickly changed when we arrived at the bike rack to find only one bike – there was no trace of Trey’s. We got the attention of a security guard standing nearby who escorted us back into the museum to file a report.
On the upside, we did get to walk through the gallery’s basement on our way to the security office and see the large art crates being unloaded in the receiving area. Plus, the evening ended well with our first of many planned ballpark stops…
at least it ended well for the Nationals who beat Trey’s Astros 6-5. (It was a rough day for Trey.)
National Museum of the Marine Corps
My sister had previously visited the Marine Corp museum and relayed her positive experience. She knew we would enjoy it, especially the exhibit related to drill instructors. Our father, who enlisted in the Marine Corp when he was 17 and was a veteran of World War II and Korea, had been a drill instructor and rose to the rank of Master Sergeant.
The museum provides a comprehensive history of all major battles, and the stories of the evolution of the Corp from its beginning in 1775 to present day. It was a great complement to our visit to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
United State Holocaust Museum
On the day we toured the United State Holocaust Museum we were lucky to catch a lecture by one of the museum’s archivists regarding the ongoing coordinated efforts to research and return artwork looted by the Nazi’s during WWII, beginning with the works rescued by the international group of volunteers known as the “Monuments Men.” The biggest challenge facing this effort was not the lack of record keeping by the Nazi’s, it was, and still is, the fact that those records were scattered among 18 different countries in the chaos immediately following Germany’s fall. More recently, the verification of the authenticity of records has become more difficult due to advance forgery techniques.
White House West Wing
The highlight of our time in D.C. came on the last evening in the city. Our daughter, Lindsey, flew in from Austin for business and, along with my sister’s son and daughter-in-law, joined us for the evening. Following a fabulous dinner at the Bombay Club, my nephew led us on a tour of the White House’s west wing. The tour included peeks into the Oval Office, the Roosevelt Room where the President meets with cabinet members, and the Navy Mess where cabinet members, senior officials and commissioned officers eat lunch.
The familiar press room is the only indoor area where photos are allowed, and is much smaller than it appears to be on television.
Greenleaf on the Magothy
We ended the week at my sister’s and brother-in-law’s house near the Chesapeake Bay. Their dock and beach area are perfect for bird watching and all possible water recreation activities.
Trey and Lindsey headed directly to check out the dock and in only a few minutes Trey was set up to fish. Unlike the fish in North Carolina, the Maryland fish were very cooperative – Trey caught 28 small bass and one keeper-sized catfish. He released each fish immediately, but as the smile on his face indicates, he had a fabulous time!
Lindsey happily and peacefully snoozed through all the excitement.
My brother-in-law arrived from California early on our last morning at Greenleaf, and despite only a couple of hours of sleep, he was up for kayaking with Trey and Lindsey…
and later, for a ride out into the rougher, and much busier, waters of the Chesapeake.
It was a lovely day, but the afternoon sun soon began bearing down on us and caused us to turn back to shore early.
Greenleaf is an incredibly special place to visit, and I can tell it will be a wonderful gathering place for my sister’s family for generations to come.