Four Days in Washington, DC

4 people,
1 small hotel room,
7 museums,
5 monuments & memorials,
1 living history village,
and many miles later… I have some highlights to share.

Here we are on the steps of the National Gallery.

I’m that one… in the pink shirt. On that top step.   

Now do you see?

By the pillar… No, the other pillar.

I actually squealed (and got a slightly dirty look from a National Gallery guard) when I saw this painting…

I loved Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer and have always wanted to see “A Lady Writing” in person, but I had actually forgotten that the painting was here until I turned a corner and saw her.  Stunning.

The Smithsonian is simply amazing.  We spent time in the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Air & Space, and Museum of Natural History, where the gems and minerals were just incredible.  (I thought of you and Samantha,


We also checked out the International Spy Museum, which not only has cool spy stuff like a lipstick pistol but also tons of fascinating history on espionage and its role in world events. 

Ford’s Theater was closed, but we toured the house across the street where Lincoln died after being shot.  I was impressed with the small historic site  but even more impressed with this man…

…a National Park Service guide who told the story of Lincoln’s assassination to a different group of visitors every ten minutes with the animation and enthusiasm of someone reporting it for the very first time.  I love people who do their work with passion.  And yes…it was neat to stand in the room, too.

Did you happen to see the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS over the weekend?  I was there.

Okay, technically, I was at the dress rehearsal on Saturday night and not the actual concert.  We packed a picnic and joined the crowd on the Capitol lawn for an evening of music from the National Philharmonic, United States Army Band, Sarah Brightman, Idina Menzel, Rodney Atkins, and Gladys Knight. 

It was a gorgeous night, so sitting out on the grass with the kids, listening to music was just perfect.

We also drove down to Colonial Williamsburg for a day, toured the Governor’s Palace, and checked out the historic park. 

My favorite stop was the apothecary, who had an authentic 18th century amputation kit. 

(If you’ve read Spitfire, you know why I was excited  to actually see the tools.)

Monday was our monument and memorials day, appropriately enough.  I especially liked seeing the World War II Memorial, which is new since my last trip to D.C. 

Looking back at the Washington Monument…

All along the memorials, we saw flowers, photos, letters, and other tributes to people’s loved ones.  So very many stories that we won’t soon forget.

18 Replies on “Four Days in Washington, DC

  1. Oh, very cool! Thanks for being our tour guide! We were just talking about DC the other day. I’d like to revisit it, and your post reminds me why.

    Did you ever visit the Museum of Health and Medicine? It’s amazing. THE UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO WASHINGTON, DC calls it “unsettling and bizarre” — which made it the perfect stop for our pre-teen boys. I wrote an embarrassing post about what happened after our visit a while back.

  2. Ooooh, I wish you had told me you were going. I have DC connections (a particular Congresswoman who might possibly also be your Congresswoman, not sure if her district runs that far north) and I could have gotten you personal tours of some of the monuments and into the ones that are not typically open to the public.

    Next time I go, I’m planning on a tour of the Capitol dome and the Library of Congress!

  3. Ahh! Kate- I wish I would have known you were going to be in town.
    If you get this way again let me know. DH works in DC so there are a few tour perks I could get for you.

  4. We didn’t make to the Museum of Health & Medicine, but that sounds like it would be right up our alley! Thanks for the tip for next time.

  5. Where were you on Saturday, Eric?! We had actually planned to try and tour the Capitol but got in line too late. The Library of Congress would be very, very cool, too.

  6. Sounds fantastic. And how could that guard frown when you squealed at Vermeer! What a lovely response.

    Though I suppose it was just as well you held in your squeal to see the amputation kit. But that must have been hard. That was cool.

  7. Great post, Kate! I love visiting DC and Williamsburg, too. (That’s usually a three-hour drive, though, to get from one to the other. You guys must be really tired.) I don’t believe I’ve seen the WWII Memorial – the only one I’m familiar with is the Iwo Jima one over on the VA side of the river.

  8. We made it to Williamsburg in 2:30 from the airport, so it wasn’t too bad.

    The WWII Memorial is relatively new – within the past five years anyway. My son really wanted to see the Iwo Jima memorial, but we ran out of time.