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Trip to DC – Part II – Freer to Flying Home

16 September, 2012

(Part I of the trip) Started Thursday with a visit to Labyrinth Games, which is a lovely shop specializing in family games, puzzles and board games and beginning to get seriously into Magic and lightly into RPGs.  If you are in the area, drop in and take a look.  (We dropped by as a friend works there, sadly, we missed him.)

Then to the Freer and Sackler Galleries, which are the Smithsonian’s Asian art collections, which was wonderful as always.  Lots of things we had not seen before had been rotated through the collections and their was a special exhibit called Nomads and Networks which looked at the  culture and artifacts of Kazakhstan.  Laura has a fascination with the steppes nomads, so that was a real treat for her.  But both galleries are well worth the time to explore with wonderful collections and always intriguing exhibitions.  Then a dash over to the National Museum of Natural History to see the Hope Diamond, their wonderful collections of gems and minerals, the titanoboa and a few other things before they closed.

Back to Alexandria for dinner at Eamonn’s – a Dublin Chipper for fantastic fish and chips, lovely fried cod and hand cut chips.  Oh, so very tasty,  Wish it was closer.  If you like fish and chips and are in Alexandria, give them a try.

On Friday, back into DC, first while Laura went to Looped (for yarn), I visited the DC offices of the Reason Foundation/Magazine which was very compact and nice and almost exactly across the street from Looped!  What a wacky coincidence.  Then to the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery which does not close until 7pm and we closed that museum down, spending the whole day exploring it.  The museums are spread across three floors of two intertwined (and large) buildings.

The National Portrait Gallery is a record of the people of the United States (and the colonies that would become the US) in portraits, quite amazing, ranging from normal people to the presidents of the United States (who get their own section, naturally).  There are currently exhibits about Amelia Earhart, who I have always found interesting, and one on the War of 1812, which was subtitled “A Nation Emerges” and was interesting because it shows how 1812 built much of  of our national mythology, the Star Spangled Banner and Uncle Sam both emerged from the War of 1812 for example.  A fascinating look back over America in the images of those who were there.

The American Art Museum is less focused than the portrait gallery, ranging from the Art of Video Games (a current exhibit) to modern American art, a history of art in the US and more.  A interesting and varied mix of arts and styles, though much of the modern art does not interest me, even there a few pieces that caught my eye.  Between the two museum, I think I liked the portrait gallery a little more but having them intertwined occasionally made it hard to tell which you were in.  Also really liked that the galleries were open until 7pm, good way to spend a day.

Saturday was our last full day and we decided to take it easy and explore Alexandria some more.  Finally managed to visit Aftertime Comics which is a very small store packed floor to ceiling with comics, books and graphic novels, I even found an out of print GN I had been looking for.   Then we visited the Lyceum, which serves as a local history museum for Alexandria, which has a comprehensive exhibit on the role that Alexandria played in the Civil War.  Next to the Friendship Firehouse Museum, which is that of Friendship Volunteer Fire Company, now just a fraternal organization, but the museum has some of their equipment from the 18th and 19th C. and records of their recent charitable work.

Then back to pack and to witness a storm whip through the area, complete with driving rains, high winds and funnel clouds.  While there was a tornado warning, it never quite materialized (which is probably for the best).

On Sunday,  we had to get from Alexandria to BWI Airport, which involved taking the Metro entirely across DC to the Greenbelt station, changing lines once, and from there, a forty minute bus ride to the airport.  Quite a journey.  Then a packed flight back to Atlanta and a drive home.  Thus, safely, ended out 2012 vacation.

The photo album is complete!

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