We left New York on Thursday morning and headed to Lincoln’s Cottage.  After our tour, we checked in at our upscale hotel, walked down to the Mall area, got dinner, and took a cab back to the hotel.  I took a delightful bath, and we went to sleep on very soft sheets.  Friday morning we slept in for a little while, checked out of the hotel, went to the Newseum for several hours, wandered over to the National Museum of American History, got caught in a rainstorm, and then made the long drive home.

And now for details and pictures …

Lincoln’s Cottage

This was half of the reason that my boyfriend wanted to go back to Washington DC in the first place.  This was the predecessor of Camp David, and President Lincoln lived here for part of his presidency.  The cottage is a few miles away from the White House, and Lincoln used to go back and forth between the two on horseback.  The only way to see the cottage is to get on a tour — the guide meets you at the visitor’s center and walks your group over to the cottage.  The tour was interesting, but more for die-hard Lincoln fans than for someone like me (someone with an interest in history who happens to DATE a die-hard Lincoln fan).  Our tour guide was … interesting.  Very knowledgable, but not one of my favorites in terms of social skills.  Oh, and I was a little thrown by the number of questions to the audience.  I felt like I was being quizzed the whole time.

I also wanted to mention that it’s very enlightening going on tours about the same historical events in different parts of the country.  Because my boyfriend is a Civil War buff, we’ve been on historical tours in places like Gettysburg, Washington DC, and Richmond.  When we went on a tour of the Confederate White House in Richmond VA, we were very aware of the pro-Southern vibe and listened closely for phrases like “the war of Northern aggression.”  When we were taking a tour of Lincoln’s Cottage, I knew that there would be a pro-Lincoln / pro-Northern vibe.  But it still took a lot of self-control not to burst out laughing when our tour guide solemnly intoned that Jefferson Davis (head of the Confederacy) NEVER THOUGHT HE WAS WRONG.  Wow, that was a doozy!

Anyway, we got to take pictures outside the cottage and the visitor’s center, and of other stuff on the grounds of the Soldier’s Home (the complex where the cottage is located).  But they don’t allow photographs indoors, so my photography options were limited here.

Level Nine at the Dupont Circle Hotel

For an upscale experience, you should visit the Dupont Circle Hotel.  For a REALLY upscale experience, you should splurge for the “Level Nine” option.  Thanks to a Groupon deal, we were able to afford one night in a place that we could never usually stay in.  I’d read up ahead of time about the “Level Nine Experience,” so I knew that we were going to be treated differently than usual.  But within two minutes of talking with the manager — the one who came to escort us to our private elevator — I found myself struggling not to burst out and say, “It’s okay!  We’re REALLY not that high-maintenance!”  I mean, our studio suite was really lovely and we could’ve stayed there for days at a time and never left the ninth floor because there was SO MUCH complimentary stuff in our room and in the ninth floor lounge.  If we could have afforded to stay there a week, we definitely would’ve gone through more of the complimentary stuff in our room, rather than just a bananna, some grapes, a small bottle of red wine, and a small glass bottle of Coke.  It pained me to leave the champagne behind.  And the rum, the vodka, and all the rest.  Anyway, if you can afford to stay at this place even for one night, it’s definitely worth the experience.

Oh, and in case you were wondering why I referred to my experience in this hotel as breaking through the cashmere ceiling rather than the crystal ceiling or the diamond ceiling, I had a reason.  You see, when a woman tries to break through the “glass ceiling,” it’s because she can SEE what’s on the other side of that barrier and she knows what she wants to achieve.  I referred to the fancy amenities as being on the other side of a cashmere ceiling because it didn’t occur to me that they existed before I saw them!

Newseum

This is the other half of the reason that my boyfriend wanted to come back to Washington DC. There’s so much stuff to do and see here that when you buy admission tickets they’re good for two days.  Our goal was to see two day’s worth of stuff in just a few hours.  And MY goal was to make it out of a museum about the history of journalism without crying.  We were not successful on either count.  Anyway, this museum was definitely ginormous and there was a ton of stuff to see.  We saw a huge portion of the Berlin Wall and one of the guard towers, exhibits on sports photography and the history of crime, a recreation of Tim Russert’s office, and lots more stuff.  Luckily, the sad and depressing news exhibits were interspersed with exhibits featuring news satire, so whenever I felt myself getting too emotional I could check out exhibits about MAD Magazine or Saturday Night Live.  Oh, and I already knew that I was going to skip the 9/11 exhibit, and to my surprise my boyfriend decided to skip it with me.  So that was one emotional boulder we both decided to dodge.

National Museum of American History

We’d been to this museum before, but my boyfriend had heard they’d gone through some renovations since the last time we’d seen it.  We didn’t spend too much time here, but we had a quick lunch at the Stars and Stripes Cafe, revisited the Star-Spangled Banner, and swept through a few more exhibits before stopping by the store.

Wandering Around Washington DC (Buildings, Lamp Posts, Statues, Etc.)

Thursday afternoon and part of Friday we spent some time wandering around Washington DC taking pictures of all kinds of stuff.  The wonderful thing about this place is that there’s just so much stuff to see.  You can’t walk a block in this town without seeing a historic building, or a statue of a guy on a horse, or a fancy lamp post.  The trouble with this town is that there’s never enough time to see everything!

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