Today was definitely my best day as far as enduring things well enough and staying active. Last evening, Diamondqueen returned from a pizza run with S.Hooligan with a sack of medicinal supplies from CVS: special blister bandages in two sizes and a can of antiseptic spray. (Diamondqueen was worried about all my open blisters and my getting gangrene before we get home.) I applied the bandages this morning and went back to my Clark’s sandals. The bandages really helped. At first they hurt, but knowing they were well cushioned helped me ignore them.
We’d had breakfast in our room, then walked up to the Dupont Circle Metro station. Since I felt a little better and had some early-in-the-day energy, I actually felt like snapping a few photos. It’s a very interesting neighborhood with some wonderful architecture as well as attractive front gardens with unique touches. Unfortunately, those pictures are still in my camera until I get home. (I steal Diamondqueen’s photos from Facebook for my blog when we’re traveling.)
We had a longer ride today since we were heading to the other side of the river to the neighborhood of Rosslyn where the garage where Woodward and Bernstein met Deep Throat is located. I’d just read last weekend that the garage is going to be razed for new development, so our timing was perfect. We found the garage with its historical marker quite easily, and Diamondqueen even explored inside the garage until she located the exact dark corner where the historic meeting took place (she says it’s still very dark and spooky).
Before we got back on the Metro, we stopped in a small indoor mall to share some cold drinks. Arlington Cemetery is only one stop away on the Blue line, so we got there quickly. However, the escalator was out so we had to climb our ways to street level. Thank God that stop isn’t deep in the bowels of the earth the way others are.
The visitor center was fairly close by. There Diamondqueen purchased tickets for the shuttle bus that tours the cemetery. We wound up standing in line longer than was comfortable waiting for the shuttle to pull up, but finally we were seated and on our way.
I got out at the first stop but didn’t climb the short ramp to the Kennedy graves. I’ve been to Arlington once before and had seen them then; I wanted to save my waning energy for other activities. Our next stop was the amphitheater for the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I hadn’t seen the theater previously nor the solemn ceremony. The sun baked down but it was all worth it. We also saw the laying of several wreaths before the changing of the guard, which was touching.
On my last visit I’d seen only the outside of the Arlington mansion. This time we toured through the rooms and walked around Mrs. Lee’s rose garden edged with the graves of Civil War soldiers. Before Ken Burns’ The Civil War I hadn’t known the story of the Arlington mansion and cemetery. It’s always fascinated me, so I really appreciated getting to see the interior and the gardens. It’s always amazing, too, to see a building dating to the early 18th century.
We really lucked out on catching the shuttle buses between stops, walking up just as they arrived so we had no further waits. Of course, we had to walk down the same escalator at the Metro station, but that wasn’t quite so bad.
We’d kept open the option of stopping back in town to see the Ford’s Theatre area. One benefit was finding some lunch. We didn’t want to waste steps, but locating something the kids would tolerate wasn’t easy (the one McDonald’s we’ve seen in Washington was in the opposite direction). Finally we settled on a Potbelly’s where we bought some extremely overpriced sandwiches, but it was better than passing out from hunger (for me, at least).
Ford’s Theatre was about two blocks over. Naturally we discovered if we’d waited we could have lunched at the Hard Rock Café on the corner, although I’ve never been impressed with their food. (There’s something about a Hard Rock Café a few doors down from Ford’s Theatre than just seems wrong.) We hadn’t planned on trying to visit the theatre itself because it’s such a hassle with timed tickets; it’s a good thing, because both the theatre and the museum were closed. (I checked out the site and discovered their annual gala is this Sunday, so I’m assuming that had something to do with it.)
However, the place I did want to see was open: The Petersen House across the street from the theatre, where Abraham Lincoln died early the next morning after being shot. We waited a short time on the steps behind a black velvet rope and then were admitted. Since I’ve always been fascinated by Lincoln’s assassination, this was another iconic place to see, including the room where he died (although I heard a ranger say the actual bed is in Chicago). I wouldn’t have minded seeing Ford’s except I read recently that the interior collapsed decades ago and the entire theatre had been rebuilt. Not quite the same effect.
We also saw a floor dedicated to Lincoln’s funeral and the aftermath of the assassination, including some strange artifacts, such as a handle from Lincoln’s coffin, segments of rope from the hangings of the conspirators, and a ring of keys and a map taken from Booth’s pockets after he was shot dead.
Back out on the street, it was time to return to the hotel. By that time I wasn’t moving very fast and my feet were hurting again. Rather than slow down Diamondqueen and the Hooligans, I suggested I walk them to 15th Street so they’d be on the route home; then I’d take my sweet, if agonized, time.
I made a detour to take a short rest in Lafayette Square. It was nice to sit still, enjoy the shade, and gaze at the White House. It was hard to get moving again, but I dragged my sorry carcass up 15th Street toward the hotel. (Diamondqueen had said it was about a mile from Ford’s Theatre to our Holiday Inn. Even so, we were going to have a half mile walk from the Dupont Circle Metro station, and Diamondqueen was going to have to add money to our transit cards.)
I’d finally made it to the corner across from our hotel and was literally counting the seconds until the light changed when someone grabbed me from behind and shouted, “Boo!” It was S.Hooligan; Diamondqueen and J. stood behind her carrying pizza boxes and a sub. I thought by then they’d be in the hotel room, and I’d even peered across the street into the pizza shop to see if they were still there, but they weren’t in sight. Apparently they’d gotten a little twisted around, so we all arrived at the same time, despite my respite in the park.
My legs hurt too bad to sleep, so I soaked in the tub for a long time. Not too much later Diamondqueen awoke from her nap and started trying to bribe the Hooligans to come with her to see the Watergate, the one missing site from her Woodstein pilgrimage. She finally struck a bargain with J.Hooligan; S.Hooligan would have none of it. She stayed behind with me. I would have gladly gone if I could walk more than three steps without wincing.
Mission accomplished, J.Hooligan returned to the hotel room while Diamondqueen ran up to Whole Foods for breakfast goods. She brought me back a sandwich, for which I was glad since I really needed some protein.
All that’s left now is to pack up for tomorrow. We’re going to let the morning rush time pass before we try to leave. And we will not be taking Route 40 on the homeward drive.