Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014 - Congress is almost over!

The convention is drawing to a close! So far we have not attended any of the business sessions, but we did go to vote today. There were 8 candidates for 7 offices. Unfortunately, the lady from California did not win. I have a feeling that people are worried that California is too big and they don’t want us have too much power!

We attended some of the evening sessions. I have not been feeling well (my cold has settled into my ears and sinuses), so, I did miss the opening session. I managed to go to the All American DAR Chorus rehearsals and we performed at the Thursday night session. I sang alto and Tica (from St. Monica’s) also was singing, so it was like old times! We had fun, even though I couldn’t really sing.
On Friday we went to the Patriotism Luncheon. It was at the convention hotel, the Grand Hyatt, so Holly and I had an adventure getting there on the bus (remember that, Dee).

It is hard for me to express how important patriotism is to this group! We have done a lot to respect and thank our veterans. Tonight’s program was on National Defense. We heard from a woman admiral and a retired general. Then they gave awards to several military and to veteran’s volunteers. It was a very inspirational evening.

For those who are DAR members, you can follow the progress of the convention by looking at your member's Web site. They are putting the Congress Herald (daily newsletter) online!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Why we are in Washington DC!

The Daughters of the American Revolution Continental Congress is held about this time every year in DC. It attracts DAR members from across the United States and even from foreign countries. We come together to carry out the business of the organization; network during luncheons, dinners and other social activities; and learn more about the organization and genealogy during the many workshops and forums. And, of course, there is lots of shopping to be done at the various stores set up around the meeting rooms. You can visit the DAR Museum, spend time researching in the tremendous DAR Library, or just be amazed at the architectural wonder of this 150 year old building purchased and maintained by one of the largest women’s groups in the US. If you want to find out more about the organization you can visit our Web site.

So, now you know why we are here and you can imagine what I have been doing since Sunday. Holly and I spend our days at Constitution Hall and our husbands have continued their sightseeing. They have visited the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, the Udvar-Hazy Aerospace Museum at Dulles Airport, the National Gallery, drove through Rock Creek Park, the Building Design Museum, and drove to Cumberland to ride the steam train. You will have to ask them for more information on these sites!

We have visited several more restaurants that we discovered on past visits. Monday night is half price burger night at the Sports Pub in Crystal City. We also visited the Hill Country Bar-B-Q on 7th Street,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 22, 2014 - Washington DC

What a beautiful day we had today! The weather was cool, there was a nice breeze and it didn’t rain! What more could one ask?

Holly has been agitating to go to a Latin Mass and she found one at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. It was at 10 a.m., so we left early and lucked out with a parking spot right in front of the church. This is one of the more spectacular and historical churches in DC. It is the church that JF Kennedy was buried from and there is a large round plaque on the floor in front of the altar commemorating it.
The church is beautiful with stained glass, marble on all the walls and columns, statues, and a huge cupola. 

The mass was interesting – bringing back memories of mass in our home parish in Winnebago MN. They have a schola cantorum that sings and they were wonderful. We sat right in front of them, so I enjoyed watching and singing along. A lot of the Latin came back to me. There was a fairly large congregation and they were singing and reciting the Latin with no problem. It was a very moving experience.

After mass we looked for a place for lunch. We drove around Dupont Circle and noticed some places on Connecticut Avenue, After some struggle we found parking on the street (most of the meters do not run on Sunday), and ate at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe & Grill. It was a cute place with a book store attached. We waited in line amongst the books and it was a real temptation not to buy one! The food was delicious. Don’s meat was too salty and the chef agreed with him, so did not charge us for his meal. What a nice place – definitely on our list to come back to.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The end of our first day of sightseeing

Our final stop on our car tour was the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park. The park is at one of the seven locks built along the canal. This one allowed the boats to bypass the Great Falls (which were actually pretty spectacular) on the Potomac River. Unfortunately, we were too late to get into the visitor center/museum, so we just enjoyed the beautiful views and flora and fauna. A large flock of Canadian Geese provided most of the fauna! And scores of tiny gnats also contributed to the atmosphere. But it was interesting to look at the primitive lock and the canal boat tied up ready to go through. We weren’t sure if any of it was actually working, but it was easy to imagine traveling up and down the canal.

By now we were ready for dinner, so we drove back to the Old Anglers’ Inn. It is near Potomac MD, right along the canal. We had a lovely meal sitting out among the flowers and trees at a restaurant that has been in operation since the late 1800’s. It has served many famous people, including us! We drove home along the George Washington Parkway, a perfect end to a perfect day.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A walk around Arlington National Cemetery

We also visited the Eternal Flame at the Kennedy’s tomb and toured Arlington House, the pre-Civil War home of Robert E. Lee and his wife, Mary Custis. The views of DC are spectacular – what a place to live (and even to be buried). The Custis’ were the original owners of the land and had their home and plantation there. During the Civil War it was taken over by the US government. It was a good place for the defense of Washington and became a place to bury Union soldiers. Eventually it became Arlington National Cemetery, a place to bury and honor all those who have so valiantly defended our country.

After getting our exercise walking around Arlington, we decide to go for a long drive. There are so many beautiful parkways in the area around Washington. We never quite knew which state we were in – Maryland, Virginia, or DC. The Potomac River meanders through the area and the C& O Canal follows right along. The lush green foliage was breathtaking (particularly after leaving our dry Southern California).

We were looking for a place to get out of the car and walk down to the canal. We saw the sign for Clara Barton National Historic Site. I forgot my National Parks Passport, but decided to get a stamp on a piece of paper and paste it in later. After parking the car we walked up to an interesting long wooden building which was labeled Clara Barton’s house. It was almost 5 p.m. and they were closing, so we didn’t have much time, but what we saw and learned in that short time was fascinating. It is definitely a place to come back to.

The area was called Glen Echo Chautauqua. It was established in 1889 by the Baltzley brothers to attract home buyers. Clara Barton was to be a member of the board and they offered her a house to live in on the property. Clare saw it as an opportunity to promote the Red Cross. The house looks like a warehouse, and it was originally used for that purpose – to store supplies that came down the canal. Clara redid it to have three floors with several small rooms for her employees and guests to live in, and lots of closets for open storage of supplies.

Meanwhile the Chautauqua failed and the property reverted to the electric rail line. The trolley line ended there, so the company decided to put in an electric amusement park to give people a reason to ride to the end of the line. Now that is Glen Echo Amusement Park. History can be so interesting!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Trip to Washington DC

Well, here we are in Washington DC again! I wrote my first blog when I was here with my sister two years ago for the DAR Continental Congress. Now I am here with my husband, my friend, Holly, and her husband, Bob, for the 123rd Continental Congress. It starts next week, so we came a few days early to sight see and to do genealogical research at the DAR Library. We are staying at the Key Bridge Marriott in Roslyn, just outside DC. My god daughter, who works for Marriott, got us the good rate. She also told us that this is one of the first Marriott Hotel s and it started out as a motor hotel. It has evolved into a fourteen story building with two wings and a detached parking garage. It is quite comfortable and we even have the key to the concierge lounge!

We arrived at Reagan International Airport on Friday, June 20th at 9 p.m. Holly and Bob got here on Thursday, so they picked us up in our rental car. We went to dinner at one of our Washington favorites – Red, Hot, and Blue, a bar-b-q restaurant on Wilson in Arlington.  After consuming our favorite pulled pork, bar-b-q sandwiches, we drove to our hotel, checked in, and fell into bed, exhausted – even though our body clocks said it was only 8p.m!

Saturday, June 21st is the summer solstice, and we made the most use of the longest day of the year. We had a wonderful day for touring – it was cloudy and cool, and only rained a little bit! Samantha joined us for breakfast at Bob and Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike in Arlington, another favorite. The food is well priced, plenteous, and even though there was line waiting to get in, it didn’t take us long to be seated.

Then we car pooled to Arlington National Cemetery. My DAR chapter has submitted several names to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. We wanted to see the memorial and look for their names in the data base. We found Jane Brooks, but the other three names we looked for were not there. We will have to follow through on that. Anyone who knows a woman who has served or still is serving in any branch of the US military can submit their name to be entered in the data base. What a wonderful thing to do to thank those women who have served our country and been so under appreciated.  The memorial itself is a magnificent and massive stone structure with a central fountain and lots of exhibits celebrating military women.