What to see when in DC...

John joined me in DC after my meetings were done last week.  Neither of us had been before and we wanted to explore.  Our friend, Gary--who moved to the area a few years ago--was an awesome tour guide.  If you are planning a trip to DC and have never done it before, these were our favorites.

1) Smithsonian.  The Smithsonian is a series of buildings on "the Mall" (the wide open area that runs from the White House to Capitol Hill with the monuments flanking it. All of the museums are free and it would take days to fully see them all.  However, the Air & Space Museum and the Museum of American History were definite favorites...even if you only spend a couple of hours in each.  It was especially surreal to go through the Wright Brothers exhibit then walk through SpaceLab.  If only Orville and Wilbur could have imagined where their flight would lead in less than 100 years.

2) The Memorials.  I found the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial incredibly moving.  In fact, most of the memorials we saw were emotionally connecting in their own way. There is something about reading the words people spoke carved into stone and contemplating their role in history that goes beyond honoring.  Some how it makes you feel part.

3) Gatsby's Tavern and the Alexandria Ghost tour.  George and Martha Washington used to take their meals at Gatsby's because of the delicious food. (In fact, Martha didn't even have a kitchen built into their home in Alexandria.)  I can attest that the food is still very delicious and it is something to walk across the same wooden floors George did and to sit on chairs that have no metal. We did the ghost tour through Alexandria.  It was a great way to walk and hear the history of old town. (They do actually abandon you in the graveyard of Christ Church as promised.)

Of course more than the touristy things that we did, the best part was getting to see and catch up with Gary.  We've missed him and it was fun to see him in his new life.  (And he and John were total goofballs!)

Gary introduced us to his cousin Susan. Susan's dedication to simplifying the non-essential to focus on the essential is inspiring.  I am very glad I had the opportunity to get to know her.  Her joy for life is infectious and we had a lot of fun.

Getting away for the weekend was wonderful.  If you ever decide you need a weekend away, DC is a great place to escape to.

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Maira Gall