DC Day #1 (technically day #2, since we had been in the city three weeks ago). Because today was hot with the potential for thunderstorms, we decided that this should be museum day (mostly indoors). Our first stop was to the new Newseum, which was a six story museum dedicated to news. It was worth the rather steep admission. Once we found our lunch place, which wasn’t easy, we had our mediocre lunch and then went to the Smithsonian Modern Art Museum. It was under construction. We went to the National Gallery, also under construction, but less so. I really like this place, but it is sort of big. We were all tired after visiting it. The walks between buildings so far had been extremely hot. Because of time constraints, we opted not to see the Museum of Natural History, so we walked the very long, hot distance to the American Museum. Half of it was under construction and because a thunderstorm had suddenly hit, the place was packed. It was impossible to see anything! Still, we trudged through the museum, with tired feet, until five PM. The rain had abated a bit, so we walked to the Metro station and went home. When we got home, my mom texted me; because of a Hurricane due to hit DC tomorrow, they would do fireworks tonight instead. Had we known, we might have stayed. We were too tired now, so we just listened to them in the distance while watching “The Day The Earth Stood Still” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Breakfast was wonderful at the Windham Hotel. Today we would see Baltimore. Again Barbara was driving and again there was construction. Our first stop of the day was Fort McHenry, the site of the Star Spangled Banner. The fort was rather small, but well-situated to defend Baltimore, which it had done. It was a very hot day again, so we were again melting whenever we had to walk between buildings. Stop two was to the USS Constellation, the last wooden war ship built by the US. It was a pretty cool ship to tour. Stop three was the Walter’s Museum, which Courtney said was her favorite so far. It was a pretty spectacular museum, and it was free! Our last stop was to Edgar Allen Poe’s grave and then to his house. The grave was cool, the house was right in the middle of what today are tenements. It was a pretty scary neighborhood. Most visiting the site wouldn’t even get out of their cars! After that, we drove to DC to my brother’s house.
Today was about Philly, but first, we had to get there. Barbara was driving today so I could navigate. There was a lot of construction, and we made a few wrong turns during the day, so the driving part was a little stressful. It was also a 100 degree day, so we spent a lot of time “melting.”
Our first stop was Independence Hall. Mostly, I wanted to shoot a short video for classroom use. We did that, saw the Liberty Bell, and then went to Benjamin Franklin’s grave. Down the street a ways, we also saw Betsy Ross’s house. That ended the easy walking part of our trip. Site two was where the museums were. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has no parking. We spent a lot of time looking for a place to park and wound up parking by the Barnes Museum, which is an AWESOME museum, even with five rooms under renovation. The Philadelphia Museum of Art was a mile away, but we walked to it. We went up the “Rocky” steps then toured the very large museum, some of which was under construction. We cut through the park to shorten our mile walk back to the car. The third stop was to the best Philly Cheese Steak place in Philly, and those sandwiches were very good. Last stop was to the University of Pennsylvania so Barbara could buy some banners.
Since I knew that our Hamburg motel would be a dump (and it was), I decided to splurge on a room tonight in Philadelphia. Because I had booked so late, I saved 30%! This was a Windham studio apartment. The girls swam in the pool while I watched Team USA lose to the Belgian’s in overtime. The place served free lasagna and beer so that’s what we had for dinner.