Having said goodbye to a good friend and with a day alone ahead, I’d thought that my second day in DC would pale in comparison to my first. In some ways, it did. Filter Coffee was closed, I didn’t make it to the restaurant and coffee shop my cousin had recommended, and my flight was delayed. In all seriousness, though, my second day was just as wonderful, and I could have easily found more museums to explore on a third, or fourth, or fifth. DC makes a great winter or summer weekend trip with all of its free, world-class museums to spend hours inside.
My first stop of the day had me outside. I took the yellow line to the Fairfax Connector bus to get to Mt. Vernon. It was another bitterly cold day, but Mt. Vernon’s grounds still merited a good walk around. I visited the president and Martha’s graves and the slave memorial, which recognizes all of the slaves that the Washingtons owned.
The tour of the house is led in segments and guests are ushered from one guide to another at each stop. The house had been expanded three times from its original size to accommodate the Washingtons and their guests who would come and stay for several weeks or months. Compared to Belcourt Castle, which I’d visited days before, Mt. Vernon is much more subdued and stately.
Back in the city, I had tacos for lunch at Espita, a solid yet pricy and not quite worth it option. I’d planned to try Dukem, but it was a little more out of the way and I had big plans before my flight. I hustled down to the Newseum, which was at once overwhelming. For one thing, it was very crowded. For another, there’s a lot of information. I passed by segments of the Berlin Wall and took an elevator to the sixth floor where there’s an exhibit on JFK and Jackie O and their presence in the news. The sixth floor terrace was cold but the view great. One hall has the front page of papers from several countries and from every state in the US. The next exhibit covers the history of news in the US. The sheer amount of information encapsulated in something so vast overwhelmed me, but once people spread out the museum felt much more manageable. I concentrated on civil rights in the news and found that a focus helped guide me through the exhibits. At the end of this timeline is some information on fake news as well. On other floors are exhibits on 9/11 coverage, First Amendment rights, freedom of the press around the world, and a memorial to journalists who died in the field.
I walked a few blocks to the National Archives and immediately visited the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. People in line talked about National Treasure, of course. Though the Declaration is faded and John Hancock’s signature is most identifiable, seeing all three documents in person is incredible. In short, my trip to DC was short and full, and my list of places to visit when I return is long and full.