His equally cool response; (I taught him well), was “Not everyone loves DC like you do Dad.”
He’s right, now I do not know how he came to that realization, it’s not like I run around the house singing the virtues of my hometown (“DC, DC what a wonderful town! the prices may be up but the stupidity’s down!). In fact, I do not live within the borders of the city anymore and haven’t since my twenty-something first born was in kindergarten. If he has heard me at all talking about DC, it would be about the incompetent city government, regardless of who the current serving mayor of the city is. Still, my son may have noticed how I’m the first to volunteer to take visitors around the city to show it off, or will drag him and his siblings to any city festival at the drop of a hat so they can learn to love this town like I do. It is true that when I was a young tyke I dreamt of getting out of this place, but when I did go traveling and living elsewhere it failed to even shadow the advantages of living here in the nation’s capitol. So, I would come back home. As a person born and bred here I would like to, in no particular order show you some of my favorite DC places to experience. Some are well known, some are off of the beaten path.
1. Rock Creek Park http://www.nps.gov/rocr/index.htm
The real Central Park, This park is part and parcel of anyone who calls Washington, DC home. It is in the DNA of all true Washingtonians. Avoid if you can during holidays and weekends except for bicycle riding, when most of the park above Mass Ave is closed to automobile traffic, the park is so big (six miles long! one mile shorter than Manhattan!) that even during the weekends you can still find a place to relax and picnic.
2. Gravelly Point http://www.yelp.com/biz/gravelly-point-park-arlington
While not in DC proper, I could spend all day here, despite the danger of hearing loss! This is the best place in the country if not the world for plane watching, I recommend getting some buddies and a tailgate full of food and bikes and doing the day! from here you are at ground zero for bike touring. Be warned, if you snooze you lose! Parking and tables go quickly and early here on the weekends.
3. Union Station http://www.washingtonunionstation.com
From my first visit there when I was in the 3rd grade, for a class trip to NY City I fell in love with this beautiful building. If fact I go thru it almost everyday going and coming to work, and have missed not a few trains home because I lingered yet again to take in the feel and the look of the place with it’s high ceilings and artwork. A long bumpy expensive road to get to the attraction it is now. and how grateful we should be that it has not been torn apart to share the fate of the NY Pennsylvania Station which is a travesty to anyone who saw that station in it’s heyday it was even grander than that other NY landmark Grand Central Station.
4. Memorial Bridge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlington_Memorial_Bridge
My favorite bridge, in a city filled with impressive bridges. the line of demarcation for the Civil War. I love it not just for the way it looks, but for the view at either end of it. It has been said that in the late summer of 1963, a young President Kennedy looked at the view of the city where he spent almost half of his life from the sloping hills that surround the Custis-Lee home that is at the center of Arlington National Cemetery, and chose to be buried there. As would any of us who call this city home
5. National Gallery of Art http://www.nga.gov
Out of everything that we as humans have done good or bad, two things to me are the greatest of all because out of these things you will find everything else.. Libraries and Art Galleries. We have more that our share of both in this city and unlike most other collections, free of charge 365 days a year. To have a building that has paintings from the brush of Van Gogh, just to name one of the many artists who work is preserved there. Not just in paint but in other media as well, You really have to resist just going in and just relaxing under your favorite painting for a whole day. While the older main gallery(West) is still impressive, the newer modern east building should not be missed nor should a quick meal in lt’s upper floor terrace
cafe for its views of monumental Washington. The lower level Cascade Bar is as impressive as well.