Thursday, August 18, 2011

room with a view

I like nice things. Oftentimes nice equates to expensive (or at least costly) in my book, but when travel is involved it often means the difference between mediocre and satisfactory. Which is a good thing considering the amount of time I spend locating an acceptable hotel. Trip Advisor and I become fast friends and AAA usually comes into play at some point. This trip was no exception, and after hours of research it was down to two hotels...and two views: the Capitol or Mr. Washington (aka Washington Monument). The Capitol won.

Enter check-in. After a long travel day we made it to the hotel and were shown to our room. An executive king, spacious, plenty of room for our equipment...and no view. The window opened to office buildings. Now I booked this hotel for one reason and one reason only, the view, and there was no way I was letting this one go without a fight. As they say you can catch more flies with honey. One phone call and friendly desk clerk later and we were off to a new room.

There was something very refreshing about going back to our room at night and visually experiencing something so iconic to the American culture. Ordinary tasks were given a boost as we checked our e-mail or wrote field notes all while admiring the beautiful view. :-)

Hey, if you have to be out of town on business, might as well do it right. There's definitely something to this staying in the heart of the city business.

Our nightlight
View from our window
A cloudy day in Washington D.C.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

a capitol concert

If you read my D.C. checklist you may recall I really wanted to see a sunset from the steps of the Capitol. (thank you 24 for encouraging this dream) Well, after our Tuesday interviews, Amanda and I grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to our room for a few minutes of recuperation. Interviewing is HARD work! After resting our slightly over worked brains, we decided to tackle a few of the Smithsonian exhibits one or both of us had yet to see (Julia Child's Kitchen, Hope Diamond, and butterfly exhibition) and then walk to the Capitol. Our timing wasn't bad. By the time we arrived the sun wasn't exactly setting but it was on its way down. Enter the unexpected surprise...

A couple of months ago I heard about free concerts around the Capitol but couldn't find any information pertinent to August. (There was plenty of concert dates for June, but that didn't quite help my cause.) Lo and behold, Tuesday just happened to be Air Force night, and the band was setting up when we arrived! Perfect timing to rest our very tired feet and enjoy an evening of Disney/Pixar tunes. We made ourselves comfortable on a nearby ledge spent the next 75 minutes listening to great music by a very patriotic band. And nothing could beat the view! Toward the end they played the themes to all five branches of the military (how appropriate) and honored the men who perished in last weeks helicopter crash.

It was completely unexpected and a wonderful little gift from above. The sunset may have been so-so but, it was an ideal way to end the day. :-) Three cheers for perfect moments.


View when we arrived at the Capitol

Capitol Dome

Air Force Band on the Capitol steps





video video

checklist update

Accomplished:

Everything but the Udvar-Hazy Museum. It's not my fault they moved it to Dulles...do you know how long it takes to drive out there from the city?!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

the dc wishlist

What's on my wishlist for this D.C. excursion? Check it out!
  • Watch a sunset from the steps of the Capitol
  • Visit Grandma Cole at Arlington
  • Tour the Capitol
  • Udvar-Hazy Museum
  • Monticello
  • Eat at least one delicious chocolate chip cookie
  • See Julia Child's kitchen
  • Enjoy Monday's excursion (awesome details to be revealed after 8/8)
  • And while I'm at it, I should probably bring home five oral histories

piles, piles everywhere

It has begun. My humble abode is now exhibiting signs of pre-travel syndrome. In English: I have piles of everything imaginable scattered about my floor. You know, the things I absolutely cannot forget while away from home. Essential items like the all important camera charger, sunscreen, workout attire (yes, I actually hope to exercise while I'm gone), tripod, travel purse...and you get the picture. Then there's the wardrobe decisions. How exactly does one pack everything she needs to fulfill 8 days of work and play without taking too much? Work clothes in the morning, casual in the afternoon, and all requiring two pairs of shoes. And if you think I'm going to public transit my way around the greater Washington D.C. area in heels you've got another thing coming! (yup, means another pair of walking flip-flops. At least I'll look like a native.) Ah, the challenges of combining work and play. Fortunately, the shoe part should be fairly simple. I'm wearing a lot of black to work -- which means only one pair of shoes -- and flip-flops can be worn on travel days and sightseeing excursions. Am I good or what!

Where am I going you ask? Back to our nation's capitol for 5 days of work and 3 of play. I have 2 days to pull it together and figure out how to pack a 9 pound tripod in my suitcase. Should be fun.