Washington DC, May 20-25, 2021

Last spring (2020) we cancelled a trip to Washington, DC, due to Covid. Our daughter has been working there for two years, and we hadn’t seen her since the 2019 winter holidays. Fully vaccinated, heeding all CDC precautions, and despite predicted high temperatures and a cicada invasion, we finally got to visit her!

May 20 –  Flying, Georgetown

We were able to take the five hour nonstop flight from Portland, Oregon, to National Airport, where our daughter met us.

We stopped in Georgetown for al fresco tacos and a walk along the canal and waterfront.

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C & O Canal, Georgetown

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Georgetown waterfront path, Kennedy Center in the distance.

Then we checked in to our AirB&B lodging in Logan Circle, near our daughter’s apartment.

May 21 – National Mall walk

It was ‘only’ supposed to be 80 degrees today. We went on an 8 mile walk, from Logan Circle, past the White House, the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin, looking at the monuments along the way.

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Walking toward the White House.

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Looking north at Black Lives Matter Plaza.

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Looking south at Black Lives Matter Plaza.

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Approaching the north side of the White House.

Next stop: the Washington Monument on the National Mall.

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Looking west across the mall toward the Lincoln memorial.

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Our next stop: the Jefferson Memorial, under reconstruction, where we ate our picnic lunch in some nearby shade.

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A blue heron flew across our view as we sat on the grass, admiring reflections in the tidal basin.

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Two official helicopters flew past, as well. According to our daughter, two helicopters means it is the Vice President’s entourage, three for the President. So that might have been Kamala Harris in one of them.

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Inside the Jefferson memorial.

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Looking back as we continued walking around the Tidal Basin.

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The Capitol in the distance, Jefferson’s profile in the monument.

Our next stop was a series of exhibits documenting the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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FDR, lifesized, in wheelchair.

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Tributes to the hardships of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

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Panels representing the New Deal Programs that revived the economy.

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FDR and his dog, Fala.

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The amazing First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt also gets an alcove.

Our next stop was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, new since my only other visit to the capitol in 2008.

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The large granite sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. was much larger than I expected, a very fitting tribute to his legacy.

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By now we were feeling the heat, and I had seen most of the memorials in this area on my previous visit, so we continued toward the Lincoln Memorial, which I wanted to see again.

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After crossing Independence Avenue again, we passed by the Korean War Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial:

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That airplane is probably on the same flight path we were on the previous day.

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President Lincoln

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The Gettysburg Address

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View north from the steps

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Columns

We still had a couple of miles to walk back to our lodging.

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We visited the Viet Nam War Memorial.

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We saw the Federal Reserve building on Constitution Avenue.

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We sipped cold drinks while walking north toward Dupont Circle.

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We caught another glimpse of our Vice President!

After resting from our long walk we enjoyed a takeout Ethiopian dinner.

May 22 – Great Falls National Park

A hot day – into the 90s! We drove about an hour to Great Falls National Park, VA, to see the falls. It was too hot for a serious hike, but we enjoyed the views and some wildlife.

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The very calm Potomac River, above the falls.

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First viewpoint of the Great Falls of the Potomac River

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Downstream from the falls, and a kayaker

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Park map

We walked downstream to a few of the viewpoints:

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We turned around after looking at Mather Gorge:

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Upstream, Mather Gorge

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Downstream, Mather Gorge

As we walked back, keeping to shady paths where possible, we spotted some wildlife:

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Broad-headed skink, sitting on a log near the trail.

I was very excited to see cardinals for the first time, bathing in the nearby creek while we were eating lunch in the shade. They are very hard to photograph!

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Male cardinal

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Female cardinal

Despite the heat, we enjoyed our visit to the natural world so near our nation’s capitol.

May 23 – Cicadas of Baltimore

We saw these everywhere, though they were not particularly dense in DC proper. On Sunday, we were invited to visit cousins who live in a green suburb on the northside of Baltimore. Just opening the car door upon arrival, we got the full impact of the sound of cicadas. This short video by my husband captures the sound.

I added in my few other cicada photos here.

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Cicada carcasses, Lafayette Square

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Cicada ground holes, Great Falls NP

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Pharaoh cicada, National Arboretum

May 24 – Smithsonian National History Museum

We were lucky to get reservations for this newly reopened museum. We looked at inspiring exhibits of American innovation and history for a couple of hours.

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Arriving at the museum entrance after a slightly rainy walk. Good day to be inside.

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Interior views:

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Inventions:

Pop culture:

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Dorothy’s ruby slippers

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Julia Child’s Kitchen

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Bob Ross

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Yankee ticket booth

History of politics and everyday life:

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George Washington’s chair

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Political signs

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Ballot box

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An exhibit on the changing house through time illustrated the rigors of laundry.

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Helen Keller’s watch

I was surprised to find my own neighborhood depicted in the Transportation exhibit.

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I am always on the lookout for interesting textiles, and I found many to admire throughout the exhibits:

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Old quilt top in the lobby

First Lady dresses:

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So many beads!

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Michelle Obama’s dress

Some other old textiles,

and a couple of items that reminded me of my own youth:

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We enjoyed our time in the museum, but after while I could not take in any more. I love knowing this representation of our material life is preserved, and I hope to visit again someday.

May 25 – National Arboretum, flying home

Our last day. We drove to the Union Market for lunch.

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The Union Market is a converted warehouse, now a food court and entertainment center.

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The queen!

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The rooftop has lots of room for dining,

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and views over the city.

We then wandered around a bit at the National Arboretum.

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Repurposed columns from the U.S. Capitol building stand out on a hill in the center of the arboretum.

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The National herb garden had some pretty blooms:

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It was too hot to go far, but we enjoyed our last day with our daughter.

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Our flight home was mostly above clouds until we saw Mt Hood peeking through.

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This was a wonderful trip, reuniting with our daughter and getting a flavor for her life in DC. And testing the waters for traveling again in the post-vaccination world. We are looking forward to more adventures as the world opens up, however slowly.

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