December Recap: Washington, D.C. - Day 2

December 30, 2008

We started our first full day in D.C. as early as we can manage. {Translation 11AM}. The plan was to hop on the Metro and check out the International Spy Museum and then head to the National Mall.

But first, we had to eat. We headed to the Whole Paycheck Foods that we discovered the night before. It was only 1 block north of us and 2 blocks east.

Holiday Store front
photo from Flickr user Whole Foods Market

This was the largest Whole Foods we had ever been in. It was a welcome change from all the delicious, but oh-so-bad-for-you Southern food we'd been eating. We had a tasty brunch and was on our way.

We took a quick ride on the Metro and was treated to this.

International Spy Museum
photo from Flickr user mattindy77

The line for admission into the Spy Museum went around the block. Um.. PASS... We weren't in the mood to stand in line and pay a ridiculous admission fee.

So we goofed around and started taking pictures.



While doing this, we made a realization.

We were right by the National Portrait Gallery. So, we decided to check it out. After all, admission was free.

Here's how the museum is described on their website:
The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery tells the story of America through the individuals who have shaped U.S. culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts, and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists who speak American history.
This was the best decision we could have possibly made. We were in the museum for 4 hours. They had several really fascinating exhibitions on display. We saw a good portion of them.





Here are the exhibitions we checked out:

  • Portraiture Now
    Six photographers who, by working on assignment for publications such as the New Yorker, Esquire, and the New York Times Magazine, bring their distinctive “take” on contemporary portraiture to a broad audience.
  • Mask of Lincoln
    This exhibition concentrates on presidential portraits to show the changing face that Abraham Lincoln presented to the world as he led the fight for the Union.
  • Women of Our Time
    The exhibition features women who have challenged and changed America. Drawn exclusively from the Portrait Gallery's collection, these revealing portraits show women who have reached the summit of achievement in politics, business, the arts, sports, performance, music and science.
  • Ballyhoo! Posters as Portraiture
    Featuring sixty posters ranging in date from the late 19th century to the present, this exhibition demonstrates how posters function as portraiture. Subjects as diverse as General Pershing, "Buffalo Bill" Cody, Joe Louis, Judy Garland, aviator Jimmy Doolittle and labor leader Lane Kirkland all enhance the poster's mission to attract attention and persuade. Posters invariably project the public image, enhancing, promoting, exploiting, or upgrading the information we subconsciously absorb about celebrity figures.
We also enjoyed the museum's 20th Century art collection.

Of course, we took some portraits in the National Portrait Gallery.

photo by Rob




Also housed in this same building is the American Art Museum.
We saw these exhibitions there:
  • Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities
    an exhibition that brings together, for the first time, approximately 97 works by two of America’s best-known artists. The exhibition demonstrates the Museum’s ongoing commitment to presenting O’Keeffe’s work together with that of her contemporaries, and to defining her achievement within the context of American Modernism (1890s–present)
  • Accomodating Nature: The Photographs of Frank Gohlke -
    For more than 30 years, Frank Gohlke (b. 1942), a leading figure in American landscape photography, has explored the ways Americans build their lives in a natural world that rarely fits within a traditional pastoral ideal.
Here's a slideshow of photos that Rob and I took while in the museum:

After the museums, we hustled over to the National Mall for some photo ops.


In the midst of our sightseeing, Rob discovered his inner photographer. Here are some of his pics that Rob took:



That's me in the foreground with the gray bag


We headed back to our hotel and looked for a place to eat nearby. We had dinner at Skewers Restaurant, which was around the corner from our hotel.

Hummus, Tabouleh, Baba Gannouj, Tajin and
Stuffed Grape Leaves

This is my main course
Beef Kabob with Biryani (A medley of spiced rice, mixed with seasonal sautéed vegetables)

This is what Rob and Nate had
Beef Kabobs with a Yogurt Fetta Entree served on a pile of crisp pita croutons, chickpeas
smothered with a warm yogurt dressing and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts.

After dinner, we head back to our hotel. We were all exhausted. Nate took a power nap and headed back to Virginia Beach. Rob and I passed out in anticipation of another action-packed day of sightseeing.

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