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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Washington DC: The White House and a few art galleries!!

Unfortunately, I cannot take photos inside the White House.  There are a lot of restrictions for the security of the nation.  I am okay with that because there are tons of books about the White House:

http://www.findoutdc.com/books/white-house-books.shtml

The annual Christmas Special put on by HGTV showing the process of how they decorate the White House for Christmas using mostly volunteers.  This happens around the first part of December each year.  I look forward to that special. 

To arrange a tour of the White House go to your local senator's website and make your appointment through them.  I did it all online by filling out a form months in advance.  They also had more information about other tours and Washington DC sites so it is a good place to start.
We arrived about 11 am and got ready for the tour.  We entered the line and were checked for our tour confirmation number and presented our ID.  We then walked to another area where we did the same thing and showed our ID.  We had to put our wallets and cellphones into a bin and walk through a security screen in one room. Then we walked a little further and entered the White House on the east side on the lower floor.  You walk through an area called the Ground Floor Corridor where they have photographs on the wall showing the past presidents in black and white and the more recent presidents in color.  It was very well done to see these photographs showing the presidents and their families interacting with others. 

The first rooms that you view are the Library (I was ready to move in), the Vermeil Room, and the China Room.  Now all you can do is stand at the door and look in.  So you move from one side of the entry door to the other to get a better view.  The curtains on the windows were amazing and must have weighed a ton.  Lovely! 

From there we walked upstairs to the main floor.  You walk along at your own pace through the various rooms as they have you guided by cords and roping.  The rugs are rolled back and mats are down and each room as a security guard who has knowledge of that room.  You walk through the East Room, the Blue Room, the Red Room and the State House Room.  Portraits of Presidents hand everywhere and first ladies as well.  There are fresh flowers in all the rooms artfully arranged.  Chandeliers of every size and shape glistened in the light. 

In the foyer of the White House I stood there trying to get a feel for the size of our nation's first home.  The White House is big with many rooms and floors but, it is not as big as you think.  It is very well laid out and it is easy to access the various areas.  Don't forget to look out the windows for you see well manicured gardens, beautiful giant Lillies in bloom.  From the windows of the White House you could see directly across to the Jefferson Memorial and can observe the people at the fence looking at the White House. The Washington Monument was to the left a little. 

They had a jazz band in uniform and my hubby thought they were Marine Corp.  I stood at the front entrance and looked back at the White House and my hubby took my picture on my cellphone because you could do that outside.  It will be awhile before I can access that photo. 
After the White House we headed for the Renwick Gallery to the west of the White House.  It is part of the Smithsonian so it was free.  We were there just in time for a docent tour of the American Crafts area.  She was excellent and knew her stuff. They choose 4 artists that must have done the art in the United States and they are usually artists that have not had a major gallery show.  The first was an silversmith and he was outstanding.  The second was an expert in pottery and again outstanding.  The others were good but the theme did not interest me.  I was of course overwhelmed with each artists devotion, patience and more to their craft.  Boy, I am lazy!!! HA!

We stopped for lunch along 17th Avenue and then headed south to the Corcoran Gallery of Art.  The first floor had landscapes and paintings by the likes of Degas.  It was wonderful.  It is interesting that the artists would paint about the a subject like the western part of the United States and sometimes it was usually a vision of what they thought it was and not necessarily historically correct.  The famous picture of Washington Crossing the Delaware has a slight error.  The boat is incorrect.  The actual boat is on display at Washington Crossings in the museum there.  You can read about it in my blog:  Pennsylvania Wanderings for I visited there. 

The evening was spent by stopping at Washington Harbor for a glass of wine at one of the restaurants there.  Unfortunately they had been flooded so there was limited service.  It is right there on the Potomac River with fancy expensive boats tied up at the pier.  They seemed to be doing well in spite of the problem.  My hubby had arranged for dinner at 1789. It was our 6th wedding anniversary so that was a bit of an extravagance but it was delicious. 1789 is in Georgetown and very fancy and elegant and the kind of restaurant that changes your table setting many times through out the dinner.  Georgetown is also quite the area with many shops and old houses.  I would love to explore but I don't think we have time. 

I am trying to ignore the taxi cab drivers driving skills, so far so good.  They have not scared me yet but driving in the DC traffic is quite an experience. They use their horns a lot! Trying to get the attention of a taxi cab driver is also an interesting challenge.  They are necessary if you want to get yourself around.  My hubby announced that several Metro stations were closed in the area.  So challenges do exist. 

The next few days we will probably visit more museums in the DC area and discover interesting restaurants to visit.  On Sunday we will be attending a concert at the Phillips Collection, another art gallery.

2 comments:

Heather Rojo said...

I was in DC just before NERGC and we had a wonderful Italian meal at Filomena in Georgetown. http://www.filomena.com/ It's one of those little places where you eat in the basement, but you have to pass a little old lady making gnochi when you go down the stairs- everything, even the pasta is handmade and yummmy! We squeezed in this one great meal and a trip to NARA on a quick weekend during the cherry blossoms. I never got to the DAR, but its top on my list for next time.

Bonnie said...

Heather: There are so many restaurants here that you would never make it to them all in a lifetime. Seems that name Filomena ws on my hubby's list. I am told Cherry Blossom week can be beautiful but crowded. The DAR is a must...