Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Winding down…

Here's a fun photo with the three of us with Tom and Marybeth at Mt. Vernon. Our trip to DC is beginning its descent. We’re trying to pack as much as we can into the remaining time we have in this awe-inspiring city. Louie left last night and Katie left today.
We arrived back to Tom and Marybeth’s relatively early last night so we could enjoy a barbeque with them and their neighbors. Later in the evening Ali was asking what movie would be showing on the plane on the way home on Thursday, so she went and looked online. I figured that was going to be a great time to drop the bomb, so to speak. I told her that we probably wouldn’t see a movie on the way to NY (at which point she thought we’d change planes and fly home) because it was only a one hour flight and that we were getting off the plane there and spending three days in the Big Apple! I wish you could have seen the look on her face—it was filled with absolute and total disbelief!!

Before Louie left yesterday afternoon Tom and Marybeth joined the four of us and we all went to visit the home of our first president.
Mt. Vernon was an utterly remarkable setting. Not only was this tribute fabulous, we learned things about George Washington that astounded us. What an intelligent, courageous, kind, gentle and noble man he was! He and Martha never had children, however Martha had a son and daughter with her late first husband. One of the interesting things we learned was that Martha’s great-granddaughter married Robert E. Lee-I had no idea their family trees connected like that.

The grounds are breathtaking and it was interesting to witness Washington’s genius in the area of agriculture. After finding how depleting tobacco crops were, he investigated hundreds of different crops. He settled on a handful of them and had a seven year crop rotation. It would have been interesting to see what his genius could have produced in today’s world! Here's a photo of Ali grinding corn. As you can tell by the look on her face, she really doesn't like corn!
After we hiked the grounds we decided it was time for lunch. Louie grabbed a quick bite to go before Tom and Marybeth took him to the airport for us. The girls and I decided we wanted to experience lunch at the Mt. Vernon Inn’s restaurant. DELICIOUS! If you ever get to view this landmark you MUST try the peanut chestnut soup—YUM, it tasted like warm peanut butter…sounds weird, but it was fabulous; hey, “when in Rome”…
After we enjoyed a little lunch and toured their magnificent gift shop, we explored the visitor’s center. This was thoroughly educational and quite impressive. One of the films we saw was about the battles Washington was in. During the winter scenes “snow” (tiny bits of soap suds, that in the dark looked and felt like soft snow flakes) actually fell from the ceiling.

Today was kept pretty simple. On our way to take Katie to the airport we stopped at the Marine Corps Monument (Iwo Jima) and then went to the National Cathedral. When I was in DC in ’99 I took some great photographs of the Iwo Jima Monument (one of which I had framed and gave to my dad the Marine). I wanted to come up with some different photos from this visit. After reading Flags of Our Fathers this tribute was even more mesmerizing.

The National Cathedral was the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen (I haven’t been to Europe, so I don’t have any of those to compare to). Oh, how I wish I could to a wedding in this cathedral; I probably couldn’t even begin to do it justice. After Katie was settled at the airport, and we got some lunch, our final stop of the day was the FDR Memorial. Other than the WWII monument, I think this is DC’s newest tribute.
It was magnificent. There were several bronze statues, waterfalls at every turn, and beautiful etchings on the granite walls. Ali said this was her favorite monument thus far.
Alas, tomorrow is our last day in DC. Ali wants to go to the Shakespeare museum and we want to get our library card for the reading room in the Library of Congress. Hopefully we’ll get to spend a little time in this library-it was one of our favorite spots of the week! We’ve been looking forward to packing a lunch and taking some quiet time and sitting on the grass at the mall between the WWII monument and the Lincoln Memorial. I think we want to wrap up a few things tomorrow and just enjoy our last day before leaving.

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