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Washington, DC - The United States Capital City PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   

White House, Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC, the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790, is a city that will capture your heart with its exceptionally rich history, beauty, and charm; it did mine.

 

Washington, located in the District of Columbia, known as Washington, DC, should be on everyone's "must visit list" whether you are an American or a foreign visitor, and although visiting at anytime would be exciting, visiting Washington, DC in early December 2008 when the weather was mild enough that roses were still in bloom, and the city was bustling with pre-inauguration preparations, it was absolutely thrilling.

There is so much to see from the historical monuments to the culturally diverse museums, and during our stay in the city, Edward F. Nesta and I tried to experience as much as possible. Washington, DC has a population of 581,530, (5.3 million if you include the metro area), covers 68.33 square miles, and by the time that we left, our feet felt like we had walked every square mile.

The Fairfax at Embassy Row, Washington, DC, USAWe stayed at The Fairfax at Embassy Row, an elegant and luxurious Washington landmark built in the 1920s that opened after a historic multi-million dollar renovation in late 2008. The stunning 259-room (29 suites) hotel is located in the prestigious Embassy Row neighborhood where impressive Embassy mansions line Massachusetts Avenue.

The hotel has a rich history and many stories to tell, and every guest is made to feel like a Washington insider, even if it is your first visit. We were impressed with our well-appointed suite, the clubby Fairfax Lounge where we sat by one of the two roaring fireplaces to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails, and their fabled restaurant, The Jockey Club, where Executive Chef Richard McCreadie is the talent in the kitchen where we had an excellent dinner.

Read about The Fairfax at Embassy Row in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections, where Executive Chef Richard McCreadie provides a delectable taste of The Jockey Club.

The Fairfax at Embassy Row, Washington, DC, USA
The Fairfax at Embassy Row
2100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-293-2100
Fax:                 +1-202-293-0641
www.LuxuryCollection.com/Fairfax

The Jockey Club - The Fairfax at Embassy Row, Washington, DC, USA
The Jockey Club
Telephone:      +1-202-835-2100
www.TheJockeyClub-DC.com

From The Fairfax at Embassy Row's convenient location, we walked throughout the city exploring the many historical sights as well as its museums, and learned that this city truly offers something for everything.

We began at Washington, DC's most famous landmark, the White House, built between 1792 - 1800 in the late Georgian style, and serves as the official residence and workplace of the United States President. Impressive at any time, dressed in its holiday finery with red beribboned wreaths gracing the windows, and Christmas trees glowing with white lights, it was exquisite.

White House, Washington, DC, USA
White House

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-456-1414
www.WhiteHouse.gov

Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta with Washington Memorial, Washington, DC, USAContinuing our adventure, we went to the National Mall where we visited the Washington Memorial, an obelisk that stands at an impressive height of over 555 feet, has a marble capstone with a 9-inch pyramid of cast aluminum, and was dedicated in 1885 to honor George Washington, the first President of the United States.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, USAWe also went to the Lincoln Memorial, where a sculpture measuring 19 feet high and 19 feet wide of President Abraham Lincoln is housed in a building made of Colorado Yule marble and Indiana limestone, and has 36 columns that represented the states in the Union at the time of his death. Reading the words written above the sculpture, "In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever" was a most moving experience.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, USA
Lincoln Memorial

The War Memorials are especially heart rendering; and during our visit to the World War II Memorial, a spectacular tribute to the men and women who served in the armed forces, we learned that you may honor anyone who served in the armed forces during World War II as well as any American who helped on the home front, by registering their name by the Internet or mail. Please check the website for instructions at: www.WIIMemorial.com and click in the WII Registry button.

We also visited the Korean War Veterans Memorial a poignant display of 19 stainless-steel statues depicting soldiers from the various armed forces on foot created by World War II veteran Frank Gaylord.

Korean War Veterans Memorial, Washington, DC, USA
Korean War Veterans Memorial

Also of interest is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which features 58,256 names inscribed on the granite walls that are 246.75 feet in length, and visitors are encouraged to take rubbings of the names of loved ones.

Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta with Christmas Tree at US Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC, USAThe United States Botanic Garden dates to 1850, and during our visit, there was a lovely holiday display in the Conservatory, where we admired the festively dressed Christmas tree with a miniature train encircling it, as well as the floral displays that included well-known landmarks including the White House, and the Washington Monument.

The United States Botanic Garden is located between 1st and 3rd Streets SW and is adjacent to the U.S. Capitol on the National Mall. The Conservatory and National Garden are open daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. Admission is free of charge.

The United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20001, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-225-8333
www.USBG.gov

Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta at the U.S. CapitolTaking a tour of the U.S. Capitol, home of the U.S. Congress, U.S. Representatives, and U.S. Senate, was definitely a highlight of our trip, which began with a 13-minute film. Over the course of the tour we learned that St. Isaac's in St. Petersburg, Russia was the inspiration for the landmark cast-iron white dome built between 1855 and 1866, which features the sculpture Freedom, triumphant in peace and war.

Standing under the soaring Rotunda with its fresco of President George Washington gracing the ceiling was breathtaking. We also had the opportunity to visit the National Statuary Mall also known as the Old Hall of Representatives (1807-1857), which features 35 statues.

The U.S. Capitol is open Monday - Saturday from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, and is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Inauguration Day. Complimentary tours are offered from 8:45 am - 3:30 pm. Tickets for the tours may be booked in advance (recommended) or obtained same day (there are a limited number of tickets) at the Visitor Center. Please visit their website for additional information.

U.S. Capitol Ceiling, Washington, DC, USA
U.S. Capitol Ceiling

The U.S. Capitol
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-226-6000
www.VisitTheCapitol.gov

There are countless museums to discover in Washington, DC and many have free admission, including the 17 Smithsonian American Art Museums as well as the National Zoo. Our museum visits included the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, housed in a historic landmark located across from the White House, where we had the opportunity to see the spectacular Lino Taggliapietra, A Modern Renaissance in Glass exhibit (until January 11, 2009) which showcased an impressive 140 works from the artist's collection of work of more than 40 years.

Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
Renwick Gallery

The Renwick Gallery is open daily from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm except December 25, and admission is free of charge. The museum has barrier-free access on 17th Street and elevators servicing all areas of the museum. Please visit their website for additional information.

Renwick Gallery
Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-357-2700 (General Information)
Telephone:      +1-202-357-1445 (Recorded Information)
www.AmericanArt.SI.edu

The Corcoran Galley of Art featured an excellent exhibition, Portraits of Power (until January 25, 2009) by American photographer Richard Avedon (1923-2004) capturing five decades and 200 images, including a photograph of President Elect Barack Obama, taken in 2004 shortly before Mr. Avedon's death. Accustomed to seeing Mr. Avedon's fashion photography, the Portraits of Power exhibit provided another insight into his work, where the stark black and white images of his subjects stare boldly from the large-scale portraits with their emotions and imperfections on display without flattery.

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA
Corcoran Gallery of Art

We also enjoyed The European Landscape exhibit, and The Human Comedy: Satirical Cartoons from the Collection (until February 7, 2007), as well as their permanent collections.

The Corcoran Galley of Art is open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Thursday from 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, and is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Admission is charged, General Admission to the Permanent Collections Galleries only, is $6, Special Exhibition admission: Adults $14, Seniors and Military $12, Students $10, children under 6 years free. Please visit their website for additional information.

Corcoran Galley of Art
500 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-639-1700
www.Corcoran.org

The Freer Gallery of Art, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, focuses on Asian and American Art. We especially enjoyed the exhibition by Winslow Whistler: Four View of Nature (until May 25, 2009), as well as the ornate Peacock Room done in blue and gold that was once the Dining Room of Frederick Richards Leyland of Liverpool, England.

Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA
Freer Gallery of Art

The Freer Gallery of Art is open daily except December 25 from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm, admission is free of charge, and is there is a handicap accessible entrance on 12th Street. Please visit their website for additional information.

Freer Gallery of Art
Independence Avenue at 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20560, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-633-1000
Fax:                 +1202-357-4911
Email:            
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.Asia.SI.edu

Typical of boys and their toys, Edward was totally captivated by the National Air and Space Museum, also a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where you can let your imagination soar taking in the surroundings where airplanes are suspended from the ceiling, and rockets tower from the floor.

Lilienthaler Hang Glider - National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC, USA
National Air and Space Museum

From the early days of the Wright Brothers to the ultra modern space capsules, the museum features impressive displays located on two levels, has an IMAX Theatre, as well as a light Simulator.

The National Air and Space Museum is open daily except December 25 from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm, and admission is free of charge. Tickets are required for the IMAX Theatre as well as the interactive Flight Simulator. Please visit their website for additional information.

National Air and Space Museum
Independence Avenue at 6th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20560, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-633-1000
Telephone:      +1-202-633-5285 (TTY)
www.NASM.SI.edu

The National Museum of the American Indian opened in 2004 and is architecturally stunning. A few of the many highlights that I enjoyed were the huge doll collection and the intricately designed beaded clothing exhibit.

National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC, USA
National Museum of the American Indian 

The museum is open daily except December 25 from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm, admission is free of charge, and the museum is fully accessible with ramp entrances and elevators to access all levels of the museum. Please visit their website for additional information.

National Museum of the American Indian
Independence Avenue at 4th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20560, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-633-1000
Telephone:      +1-202-633-5285 (TTY)
www.AmericanIndian.SI.edu

Recalling James Bond movies, we visited the International Spy Museum where we "assumed code identities" to use throughout our interactive "Operation Spy Mission." The museum is educational and provides an interesting view at the intriguing world of espionage through a film and interactive displays. If books by Robert Ludlum, John le Carré, and Ian Fleming capture your interest, you will find this museum very fascinating.

International Spy Museum, Washington, DC, USA
International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum is open March until August from 9:00 am - 8:00 pm; September until February from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; and is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Visit their website for more information. The museum is wheelchair accessible. Admission is charged: Adults (12-64) $18, Seniors (65+), Active Duty Military, and Intel Community $17; Children (*5 -11) $15, Children under 5 are free, however the permanent exhibition is most appropriate for ages 12+. Allow a minimum of 1 hour for Operation Spy Mission and up to 2 hours to experience the museum.

International Spy Museum
800 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-393-7798
Telephone:      (+1-202-EYE-SPY-U)
www.SpyMuseum.org

Directly across the street from the International Spy Museum is the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum where one of the highlights of our visit included the special exhibition, Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities (until January 4, 2009).

National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum are open daily from 11:30 am - 7:00 pm, and are closed on Christmas. Admission is free of charge, and the museum is fully accessible at the G Street entrance, there is elevator access to all areas of the museum, and wheelchairs are available. Please visit their website for additional information.

National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20004, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-633-1000 (general)
Telephone:      +1-202-357-1729 (TTY)
Telephone:      +1-202-275-1500 (recorded)
www.ReynoldsCenter.org

Madame Tussauds - Robert E. Lee and Edward F. Nesta, Washington, DC, USA
Edward reviewing strategy with General Robert E. Lee

Down the street from the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum at 10th and F Street is Madame Tussauds where visitors can have their picture taken sitting at the President's desk in the Oval Office, dress in costume to "chat" with General Robert E. Lee, "meet" Presidents past and present, party with celebrities Johnny Depp, Will Smith, J-Lo, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, and more.

Madame Tussauds - Jonas Brothers and Edward F. Nesta, Washington, DC, USA
Edward sitting in with the Jonas Brothers

The museum is open daily Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, and Friday through Sunday from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. Admission is charged: Adults (12+) $10, Children (4-12) $8.00, Children under 3 are free. Please visit the website for additional information.

Madame Tussauds - Debra C. Argen in the Oval Office, Washington, DC, USA
Debra behind the desk in the Oval Office

Madame Tussauds Washington DC
1025 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-942-7300
Telephone:      +1-888-WAX-IN-DC (toll-free)
www.MadameTussaudsDC.com

Newseum, Washington, DC, USAWashington. DC is where history is in the making, and the 250,000 square foot Newseum, located at Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street is an exciting interactive museum sprawled over 7 levels which we found to be a great place to discover the world of news.

The Newseum is open daily from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm and is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Admission is charged, Adults (19 - 64) $20; Seniors (65+), Military, and Students with Valid ID: $18, Youth (7 - 18) $13, and Children (6 and younger) are free. Please check the website for additional information.

Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001, United States
Telephone:      1-888-NEWSEUM (1-888-639-7386) toll-free
www.Newseum.org

During our visit to The Textile Museum there was a fascinating exhibit, Timbuktu to Tibet - Rugs and Textiles of the Hajji Babas (until March 8, 2009), a club founded in 1932 by like-minded men who shared a passion for collecting and studying Oriental rugs.

Textile Museum, Washington, DC, USA
The Textile Museum

We thoroughly enjoyed a look at carpets and textiles from around the world, which also included clothing and other accessories.

The Textile Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Sunday from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm, and is closed Federal holidays and December 24. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.00. Please check the website for additional information.

The Textile Museum
2320 S Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-667-0441
www.TextileMuseum.org

After admiring the exterior architecture of Washington, DC we longed to see interiors and found three house museums that provided interesting historical views of the city, the Woodrow Wilson House, the Anderson House, and the Decatur House.

Woodrow Wilson House, Washington, DC, USA
Woodrow Wilson House

Dining Room set for Holidays at Woodrow Wilson House, Washington, DC, USAThe Woodrow Wilson House is Washington, DC's only Presidential Museum and offers a historical look at the life of President Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924) after leaving office in 1921.

During our guided tour of the 10,000 square foot, 28-room house, we had the opportunity to see the rooms, furnishings, and artifacts collected by President Woodrow Wilson and his wife Edith Bolling Galt, as well as the Presidential Dish exhibit (until January 25, 2009) featuring 150 pieces of china used by the Presidents including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, William Howard Taft, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Rutherford B. Hayes.

The Woodrow Wilson House is open for tours Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, and is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Please visit the website for additional information. Admission is charged: Adults $7.50, Seniors $6.50, Students $3.00, Children under 7 are free. Please check the website for additional information.

Woodrow Wilson House
2340 S Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-387-4062
www.WoodrowWilsonHouse.org

The Anderson House located a short distance from the The Fairfax at Embassy Row (2100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW) between 21st and 22nd Streets, is an exquisite Beaux Arts 50-room mansion built between 1902 and 1905 as the winter home of Larz Anderson III (1866 - 1937) who was an American Diplomat and his wife, Isabel (1876-1948).

Anderson House, Washington, DC, USA
Anderson House

Taking a tour of the Anderson House was like taking a step back in time with its ornate domed and gilded ceilings, gallery with marble floors, important Diana tapestries, and rare artifacts from the Anderson's travels around the world. I especially loved the Ballroom with its musicians' gallery, as well as the ornate dining room capable of seating 40, which featured wine cellarettes, and the pantry with its collection of plates bearing the symbol of the Society of the Cincinnati founded at the end of the Revolutionary War.

The Anderson House is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, allow 1 hour for the tour. Admission is free of charge, and the house is wheelchair accessible.

The Anderson House
2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-785-2040
Fax:                 +1-202-785-0729
www.SocietyOfTheCincinnati.org

The Decatur House, built in the neoclassical style by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the "Father of American Architecture" in 1818, is located one block from the White House on Lafayette Square, and is the only historic structure on Lafayette Square open to the public. The house has many interesting tales to tell including duels, rare urban slave quarters, and was once the unofficial residence of the Secretary of State.

Decatur House, Washington, DC, USA
The Decatur House

We also enjoyed browsing the gift shop, which has a wide selection of unusual gifts, including 15 presidential china patterns available for purchase. The Decatur House is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Sunday from noon - 4:00 pm, with special tours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Admission to historic house: $5.00 donation. For additional information, please visit the website.

The Decatur House
1610 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-842-0920
Fax:                 +1-202-842-0030
Email:            
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.DecaturHouse.org

John F. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, USAThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts offers visitors the opportunity to experience a wide selection of performances, including complimentary daily performances at 6:00 pm on the Millennium Stage.

During our visit to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts we heard an excellent 1-hour concert on the Millennium Stage by the Andean Latin-American group, Raymi (www.raymimusic.com),  featuring Juan Cayrampoma (winds), Gustavo Vargas (guitar), Juan Cuadros (Bass), Alejandro Lucini (Drums), and Martin Zuniga (Percussion).

Free tours of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are given daily Monday through Friday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm with the last tour starting at 4:45 pm; Saturday and Sunday tours are offered at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. For additional information, please visit the website. No tickets are required for the daily performances on the Millennium Stage.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20566, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-467-4600
Telephone:      1-800-444-1324 (toll free)
www.Kennedy-Center.org

The Jockey Club at The Fairfax at Embassy Row has a storied past and a French culinary focus, which Executive Chef Richard McCreadie continues with a modern, lighter French approach.

The Jockey Club at The Fairfax at Embassy Row, Washington, DC, USA
The Jockey Club

We had an excellent dinner at The Jockey Club where a few of the highlights of our dinner included Caramelized Sea Scallops with Macomber Turnip Mash and Cider Butter, Duck Breast a L'Orange, and Grand Marnier Soufflé for dessert; now if only the walls could talk.

Scallops at The Jockey Club, The Fairfax at Embassy Row, Washington, DC, USA
Caramelized Sea Scallops

Read about The Jockey Club in the Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections, where Executive Chef Richard McCreadie provides a few delectable recipes, and about The Fairfax at Embassy Row in the Hotels and Resorts section.

The Jockey Club, Washington, DC, USA
The Jockey Club
2100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008, United States
Telephone:      +1-202-835-2100
www.TheJockeyClub-DC.com

The Fairfax at Embassy Row, Washington, DC, USA
The Fairfax at Embassy Row
Telephone:      +1-202-293-2100
Fax:                 +1-202-293-0641
www.LuxuryCollection.com/Fairfax

Although we tried to experience as much as we could during our stay in Washington, DC we barely uncovered the tip of the iceberg, leaving us much more to discover on our next visit.

Read other articles on Washington, DC in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections.

For information and upcoming events taking place in Washington, D.C, please visit the website: www.DestinationDC.com.

© January 2009. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

 
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