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Archive for April 2015

The Arlington House

Posted on April 30, 2015 by under Travel.    

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Here are some pictures of the Arlington House.

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Most of the furniture is original.

This room was first used as a parlor. Mrs. Lee converted it in 1855 after arthritis restricted her mobility. Her father, George Washington Parke Custis used it as his painting studio. This is where he painted American Revolutionary War scenes, including the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey.

This room served as Mr. and Mrs. Custis chamber. Both Custises died here. Agnes and Annie Lee were reciting the Lord’s Prayer with their grandmother when she died on April 23, 1853. You can learn more about the family tree.

This is the family dining room.

According to family tradition, Lee proposed to Mary Custis in the family dining room. Lee often gathered roses, placing one at the plate of each woman present for breakfast. Family and guests shared meals here, using the dinnerware and silver featured in this exhibit. Original pieces include china, silver, and the twin serving tables.

Meet Mary Custis Lee. Since our visit fell on the 150th anniversary of General Robert E. Lee’s resignation from the US Army, there were several people in costume throughout the property on the day of our visit.

I believe this is what is referred to as a winter kitchen, where slaves prepared meals for the family. The picture below is of the winter kitchen in the Arlington House.

We were so fortunate to visit when we did.

I’m not sure all of these costumed people would have been there otherwise.

The Arlington House is like a museum that showcases the house as it would have been during that time. There’s also a memorial housed in a separate building with letters, mementos, and other artifacts. There are audio recordings at various points to tell you more about General Lee and his family. It is an amazing exhibit and one of the highlights of our visit to Arlington Cemetery.

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Arlington National Cemetery

Posted on April 26, 2015 by under Travel.    

This is the post that grandma has been waiting for. 🙂

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It was really easy to get to Arlington Cemetery from our hotel and Getting Around in DC. We basically took the red line from Woodley Park to Metro Center and then transferred to the blue line from there, which drops us off directly at Arlington Cemetery. Easy peasy.

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The cemetery is open until 7 PM but we both made a mental note to return before peak so that we could take advantage of the lower fares. Sad, but true.

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Here are some of our favorite photos from Arlington Cemetery.

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The structure that you see in the distance is the Arlington House. I have a separate blog about that. For now, here’s a picture of the Kennedys’ gravesite.

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It’s one of the highlights of every tour of Arlington National Cemetery.

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This is the outdoor amphitheater next to the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers.

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The Tomb of Unknown Soldiers is guarded by a soldier 24 hours a day, through rain, sleet, or snow. There’s always someone there marching back and forth with incredible precision. We witnessed a “changing of the guard” ceremony while we were there so we got to watch at least a couple of soldiers march back and forth.

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The soldiers moved exactly the same way. The soldiers’ footsteps are so precise that their feet land on the exact markings where the heels of soldiers that have gone before them have worn down the ground.

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The well-timed clickity clack of their boots on the pavement reminded me of a metronome. Nothing phased the stoic soldiers as they each completed their shift. Their movements so precise and mechanical that they almost didn’t seem human. They looked like wind-up toy soldiers.

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Here are some pictures from the “changing of the guard” ceremony that we had the good fortune to witness while we were there.

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The inspector walks around the new soldier and checks him from head to toe.

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The inspector makes sure that nothing is out of place and fixes the soldier’s hat and everything using the same precise movements.

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We also got to watch a “wreath laying” ceremony while we were there. Brian got great video of it. I didn’t get to take any pictures, though.

Both of the ceremonies we witnessed were solemn events. There was a huge crowd around but as soon as each ceremony began everyone fell silent. I can try to describe it and show you guys pictures but it’s not the same. These are the types of ceremonies that you just have to watch for yourself because, beyond the beauty and artistry of it all, there’s so much emotion involved.

Arlington National Cemetery definitely tops my list of things to see and do while you’re in Washington DC. With the station just outside the gates, there is no excuse to miss it. Next up, I will share some pictures of the Arlington House. Come back soon.

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Martin’s Tavern

Posted on April 25, 2015 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

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Martin’s Tavern is actually where we ended up eating dinner. It’s a cozy, little restaurant in Georgetown with limited seating and the smallest restrooms ever built.

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They put us in a couple of booths at the very back of the restaurant. Brian and I ended up sitting at the Sam Rayburn Lyndon Johnson booth.

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Here are some photos of our delicious dinner, starting with the potato skins.

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Calamari and shrimp.

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Crab cakes.

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I think this might be the lobster risotto.

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Leave it to Brian to order the most basic thing on the menu.

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Filet mignon.

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The chocolate awesome lived up to its name. This was Brian’s favorite dessert in DC. He said he liked it even better than the Open City.

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Martin's Tavern on Urbanspoon

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to dine at Martin’s Tavern when we were in DC. The food was fantastic and not to be missed.

A word of advice, if you go, do not sit in the very back corner of the restaurant. That’s we were seated and it was hot. It felt like we were in an oven. Maybe we were closest to the kitchen and that’s why it was so hot? The tavern may be small but there are better places to be seated. Don’t let them put you in back.

Another thing to consider is to avoid drinking so much. The restrooms are in the same corner of the restaurant, right above where we were. To get to them you have to ascend stairs that are both steep and narrow. I’m not sure what the men’s room was like, but the women’s restroom is barely enough for one person. It reminded me of a restroom that you would find on a plane. Actually the whole back section of the restaurant where we were is so narrow and compact that it made me feel like I was on a ship, without the rocking side to side with the waves.

Given the setup, the best advice I can give is to enjoy the food but refrain from excessive drinking. The stairs will be hard to navigate when you’re inebriated. They were challenging enough for me and I was sober. Also, the less you drink the fewer restroom trips you’ll need to make.

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Sequoia on Washington Harbor

Posted on April 25, 2015 by under Travel.    

I’m not even done blogging about Washington DC yet and I’m about to leave again. LOL. I better get on it.

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These next set of photos were taken at Sequoia, a neat restaurant in Georgetown with breathtaking views of the Potomac River, Kennedy Center, Roosevelt Bridge, Roosevelt Island, Key Bridge, and the magnificent Virginia skyline.

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I wish we had a place like this in Wichita.

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I wouldn’t mind spending hours at the restaurant, drinking and taking in the views.

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Did someone ask for a table for two with a great view?

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I forgot to mention the splendid view of the fountain below.

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Two of my awesome coworkers, Sherry and Selena.

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My handsome husband.

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Our Sequoia selfie.

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Sequoia on Urbanspoon

Sequoia was the most beautiful restaurant that Brian and I set foot in while in DC. I wish we would have had the opportunity to dine there. Unfortunately, we only had time for drinks (or in my case, a drink).

If I had to do it again, I’d put a nice romantic dinner at Sequoia on the agenda. I can only imagine what the food is like. If it’s half as good as the view, then it must be phenomenal. I can’t wait to go back!

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Tunnels Between Buildings

Posted on April 23, 2015 by under Travel.    

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I forgot to mention to you guys that the buildings in Washington DC are connected by these really cool underground tunnels. One of the tunnels that we walked through had all of these artworks by high school students.

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Each congressman got to pick an artwork from a student in their district. These are the four that represented Kansas along the tunnel wall. What a great idea turning the boring tunnel wall into an art gallery. Some of these works were amazing!

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The best part was that we got to ride in this special elevator that was just for members of Congress. I pushed the wrong button on accident and it the elevator showed up really fast. We weren’t supposed to get in it but since it was already there we did. As we exited the elevator, this prerecorded message (which sounded like the female voice from one of those science fiction films Brian loves to watch) reminded us that this particular elevator was only for members of Congress.

I guess regular people aren’t allowed to use it so that there’s always an elevator on standby for the representatives when they’re hurriedly going to and from places. But, silly me. I wasn’t paying attention and clicked the wrong button. LOL.

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