Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Richard Family goes to Washington

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This past Easter weekend we flew to Washington DC for a 5-day getaway. It was our first visit here and one that I had anticipated for such a long time. I still remember our 6th grade teacher telling us that we should all try to visit the Smithsonian some day......Mrs Babineau would be pleased. We had visited London England twice before, and the two Capitols share many common traits; a Mall, grand monuments, amazing architecture and some of the most famous museums, most of which are free.

The year 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the 100th anniversary of the Gift of Cherry Trees to Washington DC from the Embassy of Japan. There are 1700 cherry trees around the Tidal Bassin and another 2000 spread around the city. We were there during the Easter Egg Roll on the White House Lawn hosted by the Obamas and the Cherry Blossom Festival. Many cherry blossoms were out in full bloom, especially in front of the Japanese Embassy and Arlington Cemetery. With the unusual warm weather and Spring coming so early this year, the variety around the Tidal Bassin had already reached it's foliage stage. 

We had the opportunity to view some amazing art at the Phillips Collection, the National Gallery of Art, the Renwick Gallery and the Hirshorn Museum / Sculpture Garden and my personal favorite the National Portrait Gallery /the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The paintings I was most anticipating were the Luncheon of the Boating Party by Auguste Renoir, the Vermeer's at the National Gallery of Art and the many Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargent's spread in the many museums listed above. 

We also visited most of the monuments and war memorials. We went on a guided tour of the Capitol Building, and breezed through the National Geographic Society, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, the Library of Congress, the US Botanical Garden, the National Postal Museum, the National Building Museum, the National Archives and last but not least the National Air and Space Museum. This last museum is listed after the Louvres in Paris as the world's 2nd most visited yearly. It really has the WOW factor. I was able to see the ''Spirit of St. Louis'' which was the inspiration of a painting earlier this year -view link for update. 

We really tried to cram up as much as we could during our stay, but we only scratched the surface. With that said, we hope to return sometime in the next decade as there are more than a dozen museums we did not have time to visit.