I had an absolutely delightful two week trip with my brother Dan to Washington DC and points south. Although the cherry blossoms were a bit late this year, they were starting to bloom towards the end of our trip. There were so many highlights of our trip, I hardly know where to begin, but here are some of them:
- The Library of Congress - arguably, the most beautiful building I have ever been in.
- Museums, museums, museums!!! The Holocaust and the Smithsonian aeronautics among my favorites, but they all were great.
- Tour of the Supreme Court gave me a new appreciation for the judicial branch of government.
- Arlington National Cemetery and the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon.
- National mall and monument tour. I hadn't seen the WWII monument before and loved it. The Martin Luther King monument was also, very inspiring.
- Shenandoah National Park - a place Dan and I have talked about going for years. No, it wasn't the best season to go there, but we saw a beautiful sunset and sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mts.
- Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. I especially enjoyed Jamestown, where recent excavation has recovered many artifacts and shed new light on the lives of the early settlers. I also loved Yorktown. I had no idea that battlefields could be so interesting (we saw Bull Run, too) but many of these places were significant in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars. The bravery of men who sacrificed all for our freedom was sobering.
- Kitty Hawk, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. We also stopped at Fort Raleigh, site of the lost colony, which we both were intrigued with.
- Touring Monticello (home of Thomas Jefferson) and Mt Vernon (home of George Washington).
- Attending a symphony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
- Palm Sunday service at St. John Church - across from the White House.
- Performance of St. John's Passion on Palm Sunday at the National Cathedral and a Men and Boys choral concert and organ concert on Easter.
- Fireworks over the Potomac River at the Southwest Waterfront as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
- Easter Sunrise service with Michael Tait of the Newsboys in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
We stayed at the International Guesthouse, where we enjoyed homemade granola and muffins every morning, cookies and tea in the evening and met fascinating people from all over the world. Many of them were in Washington to do research or work at their country's embassy.
We ate in some wonderful restaurants .... including Highlands Restaurant, Mitsitam Cafe at the Native American Museum and Founding Fathers Cafe. Chicken kabobs and saffron rice at the Persian Kitchen were a definite favorite for both of us.
Although I loved all of it, I'd have to count Mt Vernon as my favorite place. A gorgeous museum and educational center has been built since I was there many years ago, and I had either forgotten - or never realized - what a truly inspiring man George Washington was; giving up power, having a vision for this country that he wouldn't let die and providing leadership when it was so desperately needed. Every American owes a huge debt of gratitude to this great man who was unmatched in his ability to pull dissenting voices together and form the United States from a collection of colonies. He had the respect of all and truly was, the father of our country.
Meanwhile, back home, Scarlett and Zak were having a blast. I never cease to be amazed at how different they are from Princess and Dee Dee. Princess was in a kennel twice and she trembled and pleaded with me not to leave her. I walked away in tears; guilt-ridden for abandoning her! I never even TRIED to put Dee Dee in a kennel. She was so attached to me that even when I hired in-home care, they couldn't get her to eat or go off the front porch for several days! Scarlett and Zak, by contrast, are the most socialized dogs I've ever seen. They LOVE to play and trotted off happily when I dropped them off at Yuppy Puppy Kennels. It's by far the best boarding kennel I have ever seen. The staff are kind and caring, the whole place is spiffy-clean and the large outdoor play area is amazing. When I picked my dogs up this week, they didn't want to leave! Thankfully, they warmed up to me after a good nap, but they had so much fun that I bought a day-care package to use occasionally when I have an especially busy week. Unlike my Christmas vacation, which was a nightmare, I was able to truly relax and enjoy every minute of this trip, knowing my dogs were being well cared for. Thank you, Yuppy Puppy.