I decided to split my days in Washington D.C. One day in the city and one day in Alexandria. We were staying in the Crystal City area so we were smack dab in the middle. On my city day, I awoke to a snowy landscape and beautiful flakes falling from the sky. You can imagine how excited this Texas girl got! I later found out that my husband’s boss thought I wouldn’t be able to hang and would hole up in the hotel and “wilt like a flower”! LOL NO SIR! I bundled up and headed out. I walked through the snow to the train station that was right down the street from our hotel. I noticed that there weren’t that many people out and about. I thought that was odd but shrugged it off. Turns out there’s a tunnel that connects that entire street and everyone was moving around in the heat. I’m sure the snow isn’t as magical if you deal with it often. The train is a direct route to downtown D.C. and the employees were really helpful and nice. The ceiling in the Crystal City Train Station was beautiful! I really enjoyed the train ride. It isn’t entirely underground so I passed some pretty snowy scenery.
I got off at the station closest to Astro Doughnut and Fried Chicken. (Thank you pinterest for this information.) My plan was to eat breakfast there and plan out my day. What I didn’t know was that there is no inside seating. It’s the size of a walk in closet and is more of a grab and go place. There are two tables outside so I purchased a candy apple (loved it) and a pumpkin pie (eh) doughnut and sat in the snow. The tables looked at a pretty church and I really enjoyed seeing the snow covered trees.
I walked towards the Ford Theatre and The Petersen House. Ford Theatre is where President Abraham Lincoln was shot and the Petersen House is where he died the following morning. The theatre is in the same location but the building was gutted after his death. It was turned into an office building. In 1968 Ford Theatre was reopened as a historic site. It looks very similar to the way it looked in 1865. My time was limited so I opted not to take a tour and took pictures of the outside of the Petersen House. My beautiful snow turned to hard driving rain as soon as I made this decision and called my Lyft. I wish that I would have done the tour. It would have been a great experience and a good way to stay dry and warm.
My next stop was the Library of Congress. My driver dropped me off at the wrong building (oops). It turned out to be the office building for the Library of Congress. The security officers were very friendly and we ended up having a 20 minute conversation about travel and football. I’m from the South-football is an institution here. They were so kind and, instead of sending me back out into the rain, they had me take the tunnel that connects the buildings. I was giddy and felt like I was on an adventure. (Don’t burst my bubble-I know it’s not a secret tunnel.) In Austin, TX the ground has too much limestone to go to deep so underground anything is rare.
When I got off of the elevator in the Library of Congress…….WOW!!! It took my breath away. I believe this is the most beautiful interior I have ever seen. The ceilings have the most beautiful paintings and the carvings, details and mouldings were incredible. Everywhere I turned there was beauty. There’s a balcony viewing area for the reading room. The reading room is three stories of beauty. I would love to spend an entire day walking from room to room. There were display cases set up and I got teary reading about the Birmingham Church bombing by the KKK where four black girls were killed. It’s hard to think that ignorance like that was not that long ago.
The weather change had me reevaluating my plan. I’m a historical architecture lover but it was raining too hard for me to do outside sightseeing. Inside I went. There are TONS of museums in D.C. and they are FREE! F-R-E-E FREE! I picked the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History based on recommendations of friends of mine. As soon as you walk in you are greeted by the largest African elephant every recorded. He is the museum’s signature artifact. Another artifact they are known for is the Hope Diamond. It’s AH-MAZING! It’s 45.52 carats. It’s blue (surprise to me) and is displayed in a rotating case. In the same collection there are other beautiful minerals including the largest piece of copper I’d ever seen. I walked through exhibits of mammals, the biggest whale I could imagine (hello Moby Dick!) and mummies. Eventually, my stomach was growling so loudly other people noticed LOL! You could spend DAYS here and probably not see everything.
I took a Lyft (they were giving $1 per ride back if you went through ebates.com. It’s 25 cents a ride now.) to GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar. I’d seen this restaurant on The Travel Channel and The Food Network and I thought it would be the perfect rainy day comfort food. They did NOT disappoint! I had the Mediterranean-feta, mozzarella, roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts on olive bread. YUM! They have several signature grilled cheese and the option to build your own. The tomato basil soup was perfection!
I was right around the corner from the White House so I decided to brave the rain and walk around. The Dwight Eisenhower Executive Building looks like it could have been transplanted from Paris. The US Treasury Building looks like a formidable fortress and I LOVE the checkerboard walkway that leads up to it. I missed the White House on my first walk around. It’s tucked between these two buildings and it’s quite a bit smaller than I thought it would be. It’s so sad to me that you have to stay so far away from these buildings. I understand the reasoning but I would love to be able to explore them. At this point my umbrella has been turned inside out by the rain and my fingers are freezing! My texting gloves that I bought from Costco failed miserably and I was taking them off to take pictures or to use my gps. My toes were frozen and I had to wave the white flag of surrender. I headed towards the train station, popped into a Starbucks for a hot chocolate and went back to the hotel.
I know I’ve only scratched the surface of what D.C. has to offer and I am looking forward to a return trip (maybe in Springtime though). I would love to know what else you recommend that I see. What should I put on my list?