Sunday, August 16, 2009


Still a few weeks left. Make the most of them.

Monday, August 10, 2009

DC Take Two

We stopped off in Washington, DC on the way back from Tennessee, had a phenomenal dinner we really needed at Brasserie Beck early Thursday - after several days of forgettable BBQ and Dollywood concession stands cranking out nutritious and satisfying fare on par with the food at Disney.

After the meal we got a cab to the Lincoln Memorial and wandered around checking out the monuments after dark. We went by the White House and noticed a television screen flickering in one of the windows of the residence, in the area of the living room, so it would seem at least one Obama was getting some down time in front of the tube as we walked by. Nice little illusion of proximity and access to take along with us, at a very nice price point - namely zero.

Started off early Friday in hopes of taking in the tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which I had always heard was very good, but unfortunately when we arrived around 10 a.m. all of the days' passes had already been distributed. Word to the wise, we learned that passes (which are given out same day in limited quantities during summer months) are typically gone by 8:30 a.m., and visitors have been known to start lining up outside by 6 or 6:30. We were able to wander through the "Visitor Center" and buy uncut sheets of currency and other money-related trinkets. The tour would have been better. Maybe next time.

Went through a few museums on the walk to the Rayburn House Office Building - which was my "office" for a few years in the mid-90s and looked exactly as I remembered it, right down to the private phone booths where I long ago plotted my escape from politics as usual. The House chambers and gallery were unfortunately closed for renovations, but I leveraged old connections to get the girls a ride on the underground subway running across the street to the Capitol, threw another $20 in my account at the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union - just to keep it active - and then we headed up to the National Zoo to check out the Giant Pandas and assorted other wildlife.

Back to the hotel for a little break that looked like it was actually going to wind down the day, until Madison said she was hungry around 9 p.m. and we succeeded in dragging a reluctant Gwen back out for a late-night meal at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown, which was every bit as good as I remembered it, and even better with our game little gang, munching on pizza after 10 p.m. on a Friday night after a half hour wait for a table.

It was a perfect end to the second half of this summer's vacation, and a great way to introduce our girls to one of my favorite cities in the world.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Brief one-day stop in Washington, D.C. on the drive down to visit Gwen's Mom in Tennessee, we arranged for a Capitol tour and when the cab pulled up outside Ava lit up and said, "HEY, I know that building, they made it on Ace of Cakes!"

It was a good tour that rolled into a walk around the Mall, a brief stop at the Air and Space Museum and dinner at my favorite restaurant in the city, Lebanese Taverna. Girls are screaming at me to close this out right now so we can go down to breakfast before today's planned 7-hour drive drive, so I will.