The Library of Congress and More DC Delights

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Your Congressperson’s office can help you schedule many Washington tours–for free! This was our second visit to the Library of Congress. If you don’t schedule through your Congressperson, show up twenty minutes before the first tour time in order to get your place. You can wander throughout the building on your own, but having a good docent lead you is the best way to go.

I am determined that one of these trips I will have the pre-planning arranged to go into the reading room. It’s open to all Americans—you simply have to have a purpose. I’m always sad that you only have a few minutes—literally three minutes—in the observation area above the reading room.

There are stories to be told about every mosaic tile, each stairway, the murals above your heads. The entire Library is a work of art, so don’t rush through.

 

Arts & Industries Building

This building has been closed for a number of years and was undergoing a major renovation. That fell through, but lucky for us this time, the building found use as part of the Smithsonian Folk Fest. This year’s festival was Sounds of California—okay, been there, seen that, liked it—and Basque. Ah, now this was brand new for us. Basque is a cross-country region in northern Spain and southwestern France. The tagline was “Innovation by Culture” and wandering through the various exhibits was enlightening.

While the Festival covered the entire Mall area, in the A&I building were vendors with a variety of foods and crafts for sale and a stage with musical guests. We heard the “Tmba Ta” – an Armenian Music group.

The Capitol

We were glad to see the scaffolding gone from the Capitol and the Statue of Freedom looking glorious as usual.

Street Architecture

You can get overwhelmed by the size of the buildings in DC. The Eisenhower Executive Offices and the Herbert Hoover Building—they each take up at least a block. But this trip, we discovered these statues at the corner of Independence & South Capitol St SE. We’ve wandered up and down Independence any number of times, but this is the first time this beauty attracted our attention. Lesson: don’t forget to look around when you’re walking.

Other stories…

The Vietnam Wall continues to be an emotional experience. The silence surrounding it is always startling in the midst of the hubbub of so many tourists.

The Washington Monument is a grand marvel.

And finally…outside the White House on a sweltering, post-thunderstorm July day I picked this Secret Service Agent to ask: “How do you bear the heat?” He responded, “I think about the 20 degree days out here and on those days I think about today.” He tried very hard not to smile, but I applauded him with a huge grin and we moseyed on.

DC…so many treats to see and conversations to have.

 

 


Also published on Medium.

31 Responses

  1. […] been in Washington, DC recently and finding the White House secret service man armed with an automatic rifle to be the […]

  2. Erica
    | Reply

    I love all the stories you have with the random people you meet on your journeys. I only visited DC once and it was when I was 9 years old. My most vivid memory is that we couldn’t visit the Washington Monument because it was too windy. It was so windy that I literally was almost being blown over. Thanks for sharing all the great pictures.
    Erica recently posted..More Than Calories: A Diet Built Around YOU!My Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Erica, I have begun to think that in addition to the beautiful sights I see when traveling, that it is really the incredible moments shared with people that have the biggest impact on the success of a trip. The secret service guy, for instance, made my day. What are the odds on anyone saying that?
      Yikes to that kind of wind. I wouldn’t like to be tossed against a monument!

  3. Jeannette Paladino
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    Rose Mary — thanks for the tour. Washington, DC is one of my favorite places to visit. I agree that the Vietnam Memorial is still a haunting reminder of a war gone wrong. And next to it is the Lincoln Memorial. Every time I walk up those steps I fele as though I’m entering a cathedral. It’s almost a religious experience.

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Jeannette, I never thought of Lincoln as a cathedral, but now that you say that, you’re right. It is a captivating memorial, then you read his words and think about them and…yes, truly does feel religious in the keenest sense. And the Vietnam Memorial will always wreck me. I don’t think that is a bad thing.

  4. Claire
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    I’ve spent a little bit of time exploring DC (I have an aunt in Alexandria) and I absolutely love it – it’s a fascinating city. I totally agree that the architecture is breathtaking!

    • Rose Mary Griffith
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      Claire, Alexandria is a place I’d like to spend some time. Maybe our next trip we’ll leave a day early and check it out. The size of some of the DC buildings always strikes me–time and again I’m surprise! (Yes, I am easily entertained!)

  5. Lesly T. Federici
    | Reply

    Hello Rose Mary,
    I found you through Marquita’s blog. Nice to meet you! I have never been to Washington D.C. I can only imagine the sights must be inetersting and packed with historical meaning. Great images to get a peek .. thank you!

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Lesly, Marquita is one of my favorite bloggers even though she makes me think too hard!
      I hope you get to DC sometime–I have several blogs about the city. It is great!

  6. Sabrina Quairoli
    | Reply

    I love the wonderful pictures! Being on the Eastern side of PA, it’s pretty easy for us to visit DC. But, I haven’t taken as many beautiful pictures as you. Thank you for sharing them. Did you try any new restaurants in the area?

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Sabrina, we always try some new places and once in a while do a repeat. Al Tiramisu was our repeat this trip. Absolute fine dining with fantastic food and fun service.
      Thanks for the photo comment.

  7. Doreen Pendgracs
    | Reply

    Thanks for the wonderful pics, Rose. I’ve not yet been to DC, but you can be sure that it is high on my list. It sounds like there are SO many marvellous museums there. And I’ve heard the culinary scene is fantastic as well. Sounds much like our own Canadian capital of Ottawa. Filled with culture, history, and the4 pleasures of life.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..Hummingbird Chocolate wins best in the world!My Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      The Capitol cities are the best for learning and history. I love taking tours and getting educated. And yes, in DC you can get any type of cuisine imaginable and it is all delicious.

  8. William Rusho
    | Reply

    This is a dream of mine to visit these places. They are engraved into our nation, and I hope to visit them someday. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Head south, William, and check it out. DC is a great place to spend time.

  9. Marquita Herald
    | Reply

    While I would never want to live there, I absolutely love to visit DC! In fact, it was part of my sales territory for 2 years and every visit I got to stay at the magnificent Willard since it was managed by our hotel chain. I always tried to time my trips to include a weekend and made sure to include a stop at the Smithsonian and a walk along the tidal basin – especially during cherry blossom season. Great memories – thanks RoseMary!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..Setting Boundaries: How to Make Yourself HeardMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Marquita, I think of you every time we walk by the Willard. One of these days, we’ll have to stay there (we are forever using his Marriott points). I wouldn’t mind living an hour or so out of DC just so I could visit more often. Glad you liked the pics.

  10. Phoenicia
    | Reply

    What a magnificent building. Simply stunning!

    I am yet to.venture to Washington as well as many other states in the USA.
    Phoenicia recently posted..Consistency – is it underrated?My Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Phoenicia, I hope that you get to come here sometime. DC is an amazing place to visit.

  11. Donna Janke
    | Reply

    I’ve not been to Washington, but would like to visit someday. There would be so much to see, The Library of Congress looks beautiful.
    Donna Janke recently posted..Manitoba Mennonite Street VillageMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      The architecture is striking from the outside, Donna. Then you do an inside tour and your mouth hangs open the whole time in surprise! Hope you get to visit.

  12. Jacqueline Gum
    | Reply

    Such a fabulous city. Thanks for the tour… everybody should do this one!

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Darned right, Jacquie. I’m already looking forward to going back and finding new things to explore.

  13. Sushmita
    | Reply

    Lovely pictures as always! Thanks for introducing to DC
    Sushmita recently posted..Battle of sexesMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Politics aside, Sushmita, Washington DC is an amazing city to visit.

  14. Ken Dowell
    | Reply

    Some of my favorites in DC are the National Gallery and the Museum of American History. Always enjoyed the Lincoln Memorial at night and like you was moved by the Vietnam War Memorial.
    Ken Dowell recently posted..The Sun Sets on Another Jersey Shore SummerMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Those are also great places to go, Ken. It’s a fabulous city for tourists.

  15. Jackie
    | Reply

    Thanks for posting this. I have only been to DC one time and it was a brief trip, as you know. Would love to go in the fall when there is no humidity. Lovely buildings with so much history….maybe we should make this a trip someday?

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