Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tuesday, August 4th: Proudly We Fail (Yes, Fail)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another day in our Disney adventure - and today's theme is "Proudly We Hail."

After a bright and early beginning, we load up on the rock-star bus and head to Mount Vernon - the home of George Washington.

We begin at the Ford Orientation Center - where all visits to Mount Vernon begin - and we watch an 18-minute action adventure film which re-introduces the young, heroic Washington who became the "Father of His Country." It was a pretty cool film - I was impressed.

We also saw “Mount Vernon in Miniature” – a one-twelfth scale exact "dollhouse" replica of the mansion with 22 rooms containing hundreds of tiny objects including oil paintings, china, books, and more than 100 tables and chairs. Mikayla and I could have spent hours looking at the dollhouse – it’s so authentic that the doorknobs even turn. What is it about dollhouses that are so fascinating?

We then went on the Mansion Tour by walking over to the actual house.

They let so many people in at a time and you visit the estate – room by room – where each room has a tour guide explaining what you’re seeing. Washington's estate had an incredible view of the Potomac River. I didn’t realize it was such a large estate – wow. And I loved the view of the River - I could have plopped down in a rocking chair and spent all day there.

They don't allow photos inside the actual estate - too many antiques and stuff there - but they do allow photos in the detached kitchen.

There are many outbuildings on the estate to see – but it was hot and it was getting close to lunch. Yes, we're wimps - and we're hungry wimps at that - so no walk in the hot sun on an empty stomach.

We had lunch at The Mount Vernon Inn; “Caroline”, a black “slave”, came in and sang to us as we were being seated. She then went into a speech about the death of Washington – she was one of the few people in the room when he died. He died in his master bedroom on Dec. 14, 1799, and is buried at Mount Vernon. We didn't walk to his tomb because it was hot. Oh, did I mention that already?

For lunch, I had the Virginia ham and stuffing with peanuts. It was pretty good. I was enjoying my apple pie for dessert when Anna dropped her water glass – shattering it – and glass & cold iced tea showered over the table. Yikes! Hubby got most of the tea in his lap – I got a plateful and lapful of glass. There went my appetite. We spend the next few minutes cleaning up shattered glass and tea. Our group seems to attract disaster during lunch.

After lunch, we had 2 hours to explore on our own. Because of the extreme heat, most of us opted for the Museum and Education Center. This offered a memorable experience that spans Washington's lifetime. The Museum introduces Washington’s world with a rich and comprehensive collection of objects in a state-of-the-art facility. The Education Center was fantastic – it presents a multimedia experience that illuminates the detailed story of Washington’s life. We watched a film where it snowed on us – during the crossing of the Delaware. Wonderful exhibit.

At 2:00 pm, we load up in the bus and then head over to the Capitol for a group photo op on the West lawn of the building.

Afterwards, we all split up – we head to the East entrance of the Capital and stand in a long line to be allowed in to go through security. We go through security and are then directed inside the building to the bottom floor to get into another long line to get tour tickets. It's 3:23 pm in the afternoon; we are 10 people away from the front of the line when an announcement is made that no more tickets will be distributed for the day. They do not distribute any more tickets after 3:20 pm. Are you kidding me??! I thought Hubby was going to have a coronary. So, we fail in our quest to get inside the Capitol building and see our Congressmen at work.

We are allowed to visit the Exhibition Hall – a pretty good museum/display of the Congress building. We spend about 90 minutes here – but are still disappointed we didn't have a tour. Oh well. We did get a photo of us outside. Woo hoo.

We leave – walk out to the East side – debating if we should walk back to the hotel (it's hot!) or ride a cab. And a cab pulls up. God is good. We take the cab back to the hotel – about $8.50 fare. After relaxing for awhile and cleaning up, we walk to dinner – the Daily Grille – about 2 blocks away. Food is pricey and just average. I have a filet mignon that is $31 and is not all that good. Oh well.

After dinner we are walking back and Mikayla trips on her flip flops and goes sprawling on the street – right in an intersection. She gets a pretty good scrape on her hip – and she’s distraught. More embarrassed than hurt. We get her back to the hotel and get ice and manage to soothe the pride - which I think is hurt worse than the hip.

Spend the evening relaxing and packing. Tomorrow is another busy day and this heat and humidity and walking is taking a toll.


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