Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DC Trip: White House, Ford's Theater & Spy Museum

On Thursday last week, we spent the day near the White House and Gallery Place. I think all of us agreed later it was the easiest and most fun day, and I would recommend this itinerary to anyone. We started the day by walking to check out the White House from the Pennsylvania Avenue side.

Pro tip: Ask a Park Ranger to take your family photo. They get a lot of practice, and you can trust them not to steal your camera!

From there, we walked over to Ford's Theater. If you've never been,  it's a really fantastic stop. It's FREE, and has a really amazing museum in the basement, which includes the outfit Lincoln wore to the theater that night and the gun John Wilkes Booth used to kill him. In the theater, park rangers give 15-minute talks to interpret the events of the night and really convey the mood of the evening in historical context. It's fascinating — and quick!

The Park Rangers said it's very rare that they allow folks to peek into the Presidential box at the theater, but it was our lucky day! It was interesting to see from that perspective just how far Booth jumped.

Your ticket to Ford's Theater also includes entry to the Peterson House across the street, where Lincoln ultimately died. We were surprised to find out the house is attached to a new museum that documents how the nation reacted to Lincoln's death. It was really cool and surprisingly moving. I ended up crying watching a video about the importance of the Lincoln Memorial!

 It has an awesome display of all the books about Lincoln. Incredible.

It also has, by far, the coolest gift shop of any Lincoln-related place I've been. Lots of T-shirts you wouldn't be embarrassed to wear!

After Ford's Theater, we stopped in at District of Pi for a couple pizza pies to share. I loved this pallet flag...easy DIY that would look great on a porch!

I also was smitten with the mix of old and new in the decor.

Just down the street is the International Spy Museum, which was by far my favorite thing we did! It was full of fun interactive games and displays and GADGETS galore. Check out this old document scanner!

You can even have a Mission Impossible moment and crawl through some duct work! It was really, really fun.

Afterward, we walked to Chinatown, where we had dinner at Chinatown Express, known for its hand-stretched noodles and its dumplings. It's definitely an authentic experience! We went back to the hotel, played Balderdash and had a great night!

Next up: The U.S. Capitol, Hirshhorn and Monument tour.

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