After returning from the Land of Big Cars (Florida), we left a day later to Washington D.C. It was all business for my wife and all pleasure for myself.
The first full day started slow, with a late begining. First thing, catch the subway to get to the International Spy Museum. I love Metrorail's stations with their cast-concrete retro-futurism.
Compared to NYC or London some might think them charmless but I love the flowing lines of the walkways and the modular caverns that the trains roll into.
Get to the museum to find that day's tickets were sold out. Bought one for the next day and got directions to Chinatown for much needed cheap eats. Wandered around and followed a pack of students into one of the numerous chinese restaurants. The food was fine and not too expensive. Took metrorail back towards the hotel, exited one station early and walked the rest up Connecticut.
Trips to London, Minneapolis and Dublin had all resulted in finding little treasures, be it The Sir John Soane's Museum, The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices which is now located at The Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Grand Masonic Lodge in Dublin. I worried that D.C. wouldn't have something like those other cities, but a visit to this website got me pointed in the right direction.
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial is dedicated to reminding people that our founding father wore an apron. I was worried that I wouldn't know where to go once I got off the train, but at the station it was pretty clear what direction to go.
While large from the outside, the building has even more rooms inside then I expected. The grand hall has a huge bronze George greeting all, with murals on each side of him. Further wandering around finds exhibits about George Washington, the building of the memorial, the Shriners, etc.
One of the highlights, the Animatronic George Washington. He stands, he gestures, he talks. But he doesn't seem to look like G.W.
I wish I had stayed for the guided tour, but my timed-ticket for the Spy Museum had me leave before I could join the tour. Had the spy museum been less packed I could have judged it on its merits, but the crush of people made it all but impossible to enjoy. Their website warned of fast ticket sales and the post-christmas crowds filled the place. The museum has no grand hall, mainly a collection of collected rooms with no flow or reason. The architecture is in the style of "Alias" mostly modern materials and flashy lighting. There were loads of cool spy artifacts, but the crowd killed my desire to linger.
I think all future travel have to include a bit of Masonic tourism. They do their places up right.
Return flight to Atlanta. Seen in Dulles International Airport
More Washington D.C. Pictures - Flickr
George Washington Masonic National Memorial - Google Map
Petits Plats - French, slightly pricey, great chocolate mousse.
Furin's of Georgetown - fresh made soups, salads. Super tastey, good price.