One Great Memorial Day Weekend!

If you had a chance to read our blog on Hickory Hill (RFK’s compound), you’ll remember we spent the Memorial Day weekend seeing various sites around DC with Kathleen and Roger, who are close friends of my sister Shelley. Even though Kathleen was raised in my hometown in Southern California, you wouldn’t have known it as she and Roger seem to have lived and worked here their whole lives. As it turns out, they have spent much of their adult lives in and around Washington and are definitely “connoisseurs of all things DC!”. Below is our picture in the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Smitty, Louise, Kathleen & Roger

Smitty, Louise, Kathleen & Roger

 

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This leads us to where we are today. . . writing this blog while we are in New York City! As it turns out Kathleen’s cousin Denise lives on 71st street on the west side of Central Park, and as luck has it, she needed someone to watch her dog “Tru” for a week. That leaves at least 3 famous beings that have lived w/in a block or so of here. . .General Sherman (Civil War) retired on 71st street, John Lennon on 72nd street (The Dakota), and Tru.

What a great experience the first 2 days have been! So you may wonder, why on this 3rd day of being in New York City (June 13), are we writing about our Memorial Day weekend back in Washington, DC? Well, Tru is a pretty smart dog and he is also a connoisseur of sorts. . .in this case “a connoisseur of all things fire hydrants and trees this side of central park”.

In his daily text to us, (which outlines his plan for our day), Tru suggested we hold off on the doggy walk duties until the current thunder storm stopped. His quote  was something like “it’s pouring rain right now so what better time for you two to hunker down a little and do some catch up on your travel blog that YOU ARE BEHIND ON!” So here we go, Memorial Day weekend.

Tru Texting

Tru Texting

       

Write the Blog already!

Write the Blog already!

 

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Saturday

After catching the Metro from Falls Church, we all headed to the National Gallery of Art (to tour the Edgar Degas / Mary Cassatt Impressionist exhibit),  enjoyed the beautiful US Botanic Garden, and got a great look at Georgetown and Washington DC at night. Squeezed in between these we had a great barbeque at Kathleen and Roger’s lovely home.  The Memorial Day weekend skies were beautiful and the temperatures, according to ACCU weather,  averaged 83 degrees, 5 degrees above the norm for this time of year. 

National Gallery of Art. According to the NGA website,  financier Andrew Mellon wrote to FDR in 1936 and offered to pay for the NGA museum. It also included his offer to donate his renowned art collection. As it turns out, Mellon was the Secretary of the Treasury for the decade of the 20’s (under Harding and Coolidge) prior to the Great Depression. Check out this link below for an interesting read on his tenure. . .and his relationship with FDR. Needless to say, his offer was approved and groundbreaking began shortly after. 

Also at the bottom of this blog is a link to the NGA site.

Once we arrived, the four of us immediately proceeded to the current Impressionist exhibit highlighting Frenchman Edgar Degas and American Mary Cassatt.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I probably passed Art Appreciation 101 by a very slim margin in college. If you are like me and will be going to the NGA at any time soon, USE the electronic guided tour technology during this tour! This tool really helped me and provided essential background information on the artists and each painting to really make it interesting. For this exhibit, this is a key point as Degas and Cassatt were peers, moving in the common intellectual and social clusters. I’d be a fool to try and describe the exhibit, however, the link at the end of this blog will give you a great appreciation of what we saw.

 

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While heading to the U.S. Botanic Garden, Roger suggested I take this picture (below) of the US Capital framed by trees surrounding the Gardens. Great call Roger!

U.S. Capital

U.S. Capital

 

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US Botanic Garden (USBG). According to the USBG website (see link below), we can pretty much give some thanks to George Washington for the USBG. One of the oldest botanic gardens in North America, the USBG was envisioned 200+ years ago by Washington for the nation’s capital to show the importance of plants to the nation. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America.

We have about 7-8 pictures of plants. I don’t know much about plants so for me to group them (by color? type?) is a challenge. If this were an aviation blog, it would be easy….here’s the bombers, here’s the fighters, etc. So let’s go with this model. . .the first group are those plants taken by Louise’s cell phone and the second group by our Canon.

                                                            Louise’s Cell Pictures  5  6

 Jeff’s Canon Pictures

IMG_0812 IMG_0808 IMG_0810IMG_0813 IMG_0811

Washington DC at Night. In the evening Kathleen and Roger gave us a tour of DC at night. Below are some pictures of DC at night. Unfortunately, my night photography is lacking, so you won’t get the true feel of what the various monuments and sites look like at night, so stretch your imagination!

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

 

Lincoln

Lincoln

Washington Memorial

Washington Memorial

 

Part of Vietnam Memorial

Part of Vietnam Memorial

Sunday

On Sunday morning we went on a very scenic neighborhood drive and saw Hickory Hill (see prior blog). Louise and I then departed to the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia is the National Air and Space Museum companion aviation museum facility. As we have visited a lot of aviation museums on our trip, I’ll actually cover this visit in a future aviation blog. Needless to say, the two huge hangars — the Boeing Aviation and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar — display thousands of space and aviation  artifacts, including the recent addition of the space shuttle Discovery, the Enola Gay, a SR-71, and one of the first Boeing jet airliners. See the link below.

I couldn’t resist inserting at least one picture from the museum in this blog. Below is the Space Shuttle Discovery.  

Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery

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Monday

Monday was a little warmer than Saturday and Sunday. Before heading over to our friend Connie’s for a Memorial Day barbeque, Roger and I put the finishing touches on one last matter, yes, putting up the bunting for Memorial Day!

 

Roger giving Smitty Bunting 101 lessons!

Roger giving Smitty Bunting 101 lessons!

 

Got it Right!

Got it Right!

Summary: The pictures above say it all! Great hosts, weather, and plenty of great exhibits and sites made this a most memorable Memorial Day weekend for the Smiths!

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Links:

National Gallery of Art (NGA)

Mellon article- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_W._Mellon

Degas/Cassatt exhibit- http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/exhibitions/2014/degas-cassatt.html

NGA website- http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb.html

US Botanic Garden- http://www.usbg.gov/

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center- http://airandspace.si.edu/visit/udvar-hazy-center/

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2 Responses to One Great Memorial Day Weekend!

  1. barbara riddle says:

    love Kathleen and Roger’s house! also, great pics of Lincoln & Washington memorial at night, so beautiful looking forward to your entry on NYC
    Love,
    C and B

  2. Smitty says:

    Thanks! It was very nice. Starting NYC blog now…..had a great time seeing Bryan Cranston as LBJ in “all the way” at the Neil Simon theater! We loved him as Dentist Dr Whatley in Seinfeld and we both watched all of the Breaking Bad shows. Cheers, Smitty and Louise