Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mt Vernon and our DC night drive (August 6)

It was our first day traveling in the DC area.  Having a car, it was the perfect time to explore places that would not be easily accessible via foot or metro.  Thus, we headed off for Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington.  An overcast and muggy day, crammed into a 5 person car for the first time in weeks (months?), people were a little cranky.  We tried lunch at 5 guys burgers.  It worked.  Sometimes food and the kids switching seats can change the dynamic...  In any case, we arrived at Mt. Vernon without further excitement.  The only bad news, Molly was not allowed.  Even on leash.  Fortunately (NOW I say fortunately), it was overcast so Molly would be fine guarding the car.
Mt Vernon is definitely worth the ticket price and worth a couple of hours to look about.  The grounds are lovely, the tour of the house is great and the view of the Potomac is beautiful.  I definitely appreciate that the ladies association had bought it years ago, maintain it so well and fought off the developers who were planning to put in oil tanks across the river. I leant my camera to Paul who proceeded to take quite a few good pictures as we toured about.

When do I not mug for the camera?

Old school manufacturing / blacksmithing
Always nice to have a photographer with other than Martha or me!
On our way back we walked about old Alexandria.  Quite a beautiful little downtown, and unlike Georgetown it actually has a metro stop.  Unlike us, I recommend going there before 5p so one can see the museums.  At least we had dinner at a little pub to prepare us for life in the UK.

Not content to force me kids to walk about Alexandria, we just happened to drive by the DC memorials, so it was time for a quick driving tour.  The White House was frustrating/impossible to drive by now with Pennsylvania Ave closed, but we did circle by the Capitol and then stopped to see the Jefferson Memorial.  

My favorite of the monuments
(at least partially because it is so difficult to get to)
Having recently read Undaunted Courage about the Lewis and Clark expedition, my understanding of Jefferson was more complex than previously.  Despite his focus on liberty, his policies on the natives were apparently hypocritical in that he was expansionist at their expense while communicating a message that he was their great protector and father.  Nevertheless his quote about evolution of law is still worth remembering.

A living Constitution?
We finished our ride home with an attempt to find "The Awakening" which has unfortunately been relocated away from Haines Point.  But we did manage to find the Marine Corps War Memorial on our drive back to Falls Church.  So, not all was lost.

The nighttime challenge of getting to Iwo Jima has diminished with GPS,
though one still has to lie on their back for a good photo even with a 24mm lens!

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