Took a last minute trip to visit my friend in DC. Got an obscenely low fare, so had to go. First thing to say it was hot. The week before was beautiful, and the day I left was not so bad, but while I was there....yuck! I'll add this was the same weekend as the 150th Manassas so I was really feeling it for those souls dealing with the heat.
I arrived early Saturday, like 1:30 am. So needless to say late start on Saturday. We headed out to Clinton to visit the Mary Surratt house. Nice tour, loved the house. There was a nice exhibit of some material culture stuff in the visitor's center. Heard a few "myths" along the tour, but nothing too terrible. We asked the locals where there was a good place to eat and headed for Texas BBQ something...can't remember the exact name. I was a little hesitant, I'm in Maryland and we're going to eat somewhere with Texas in the name. However, it was a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives site; my mom would be so proud. I had a hot dog, Angie had ribs and pork chop sampler. They were good, I wouldn't go out of my way to go there again, but if you're in Clinton, it is a safe choice.
After Clinton we drove on to Alexandria. I love this town. So much of the old structure is still there. Our intent was to visit the Lee-Fendall house but it was closed by the time we got there. So instead we drove around looking at the architecture and visited the Old Torpedo Factory, which is now artist studios. Driving back from Alexandria, we passed by Arlington and decided to stop. The tour trams were still running so hopped on. Made it to the tomb of the Unknowns just in time for the changing of the guard and my camera to run out of power. It was such a touching ceremony. I had never seen the change and was impressed. It was so hot and so humid and these guys didn't even appear to break a sweat. The tram didn't stop at Arlington house as it was so late. After leaving Arlington we headed back to Rockville. We had dinner at the Silver Diner. Then home to bed.
Sunday, another late start but headed back to Alexandria to tour the Lee-Fendall house. Great house and the tour was well done. Lot's of information about the Lees and their neighbors. Very enjoyable. We had lunch at Gadsby's Tavern. The food was pretty good, and the atmosphere enjoyable. Didn't take the museum tour as we wanted to head out to Harpers Ferry.
LOVE IT!!! Of course we arrived late in the day, just at closing, but walked around and now I have to go back! When it's cooler. On the ride home was got stuck on the bridge over the Shenandoah due to an accident. Sat there for a bit and listened to my new CW music CD. Got back to Rockville and had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in Town Center. Very good.
Monday I was on my own for a bit so Angie dropped my off at the Metro and I went into the District to visit the Archives for look for information for a friend. This was not a pleasant experience. The first thing I'm getting my researcher card, reading the orientation PowerPoint and the woman working in this area is talking on the phone about family drama. Loud enough that I had a hard time concentrating on what I was reading and I now know everything about how drunk a family member was at a funeral and how her mother dissed her! Really? So I get my card and go to the finding aids room. They were busy, maybe 5 or 6 people in there. The first assistant I encountered pointed me to some books, "look here." OK. I think I found what I wanted then one of the blue coat assistants came to help me; she, she said, was not a specialist in the area I was looking. So instead of helping me she proceeded to do everything in her power to make me look stupider than she was. I had my fill when she got irritated because I didn't know the person I received a phone message from, Albert or Alfred, was also known as Jack. That was all I could do. Told her to request a pull on the book I knew should have the info and I'd deal with the rest at another time.
I still had no luck as the volume didn't have the information I was looking for but I did run into a friend from the Genteel Arts conference and I got a researchers card, but it may be some time before I return there for help.
After leaving the Archives I walked over to the National Gallery. I had lunch in their cafe, expensive but nice. This was a great visit after the Archive fiasco. Great art, great building, started to rain outside, a nice way to spend the afternoon. After Angie was done with work I took the Metro back to Rockville and we visited a couple of book stores. We had dinner at Palena in DC. Great food, slow service, but a nice dinner. On the way back to Rockville, we're stopped by DC police; it appeared the rental car's registration had expired. They didn't give us a ticket but did give Angie a heart attack teasing her that her license had been suspended. Now Angie is a very law abiding person, so this was a huge "WHAT?!" moment. The cop then said he was just teasing, gave her back her license and sent us on our way.
Tuesday was last day and the weather was beautiful. It cooled down quite a bit. We had to go back to the rental place and exchange cars. The first one they were going to give us also had an expired tag. We finally get on our way and had for the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Another great gallery, with a great book store. Visited one last bookstore before heading to the airport. The flight home was crowded. A woman behind me from San Diego apparently thought very little about Texas and wanted to whole plane to know it.
This trip has made me realize I don't want to work in DC and live outside. I don't think I could handle the commuting. I really need to look for something with access to the DC area but not in the area. So much traffic, parking issues, etc. I really enjoy that part of the country and now have to plan my next trip to go back to Harpers Ferry.
More pictures of my trip are here.