Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mount Vernon, Union Station and Stamps

This morning we were up early again as we had another scheduled tour. We met Muffet in the lobby and walked the short distance to Union Station where we met our bus for our tour. It was another cold day - around 33°, but there was no wind so it wasn't too bad. We had to be at the station by 7:30am to check in and then be at the bus by 7:50am. We actually arrived at Union Station around 7:20am, so we checked in and then went for coffee. After drinking our coffee we made our way to meet the bus. We climbed on board our bus and met our driver (Tony). At 8:05am Tony started the bus and we were off for our tour. Thomas, Muffet and I felt like VIP's - we were the only three people on the bus besides the driver. It felt a little weird that this huge bus was taking just the three of us on a tour. As we pulled out of Union Station it started to snow, lightly at first but as we continued on the flakes got bigger and it was coming down harder. The tour we were on was through Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon with Gray Line. In Alexandria we stopped at Christ Church for a quick look and then we continued on to George's home. The snow was still going but it wasn't too bad at this point. We arrived at Mount Vernon and the driver dropped us off at the entrance and we had until noon to see the place. We started at the Ford Orientation Center where the three of us enjoyed a short film presentation about the grounds and Washington's life in a huge theater all to ourselves. When the film was done we exited the building into a heavy snow (the ground was completely covered) and made our way to the Mansion. Here we had a tour of the house and learned some interesting facts. After about a 30 minute tour we were able to walk the grounds and make our way to Washington's tomb. We were starting to get really cold and wet so we decided to head back inside and warm up. Once inside and out of the snow we went to the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and looked around at a few exhibits. We still had about an hour before the bus was leaving so we went to the Mount Vernon Inn for a bite to eat and some hot beverages. We got to sit near the fireplace and warm up while we ate, relaxed and visited. At noon we were back on the bus for the half hour drive back to DC. By the time we arrived back in DC the snow had stopped and the driver was nice enough to drop us off in front of the hotel.

In the lobby Thomas, Muffet and I talked before parting ways. This afternoon was the start of the conference for them and I was going to head out and see DC. I decided to head back to Union Station - I wanted to explore the building a little bit and take some pictures. I walked through the building and took lots of pictures, mostly of the architecture. There are lots of shops and restaurants and I found a couple I liked. I had a snack at a small little bakery and then found a great salad place (Chop't) where I got something to take back to the hotel for dinner tonight. I also tried to do some letterboxing and you can read about that at Letterboxing in DC. When I was done at Union Station I crossed the street to the National Postal Museum, which is part of the Smithsonian. I entered the building and went through security and then made my way to the information desk. I picked up a map and started walking around. At first I just took in the architecture of the building - quite interesting and then I started looking at the exhibits. I spent quite a bit of time at the Stamp Gallery enjoying the history and exhibition of stamps. After the gallery I went downstairs to view an exhibit of postal history. The exhibits were incredible and I really enjoyed them. I spent quite a bit of time between Union Station and the National Postal Museum and when I started the short walk back to the hotel it was already after 5:00pm. I decided to call it a day, the snow had stopped and pretty much melted away but it was still quite cold. Once back I at the hotel I relaxed and ate my salad and warmed up. It was another good day in the DC area. Tomorrow there is another tour and then a day for me to just wander. It is also supposed to snow again so I guess I will have to find indoor things to do.

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