Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

Washington Monument

My son had never been to Washington, DC, so when we went back East last week, we made it a point to go into the city. We only had one day. For those not familiar with the US capital city, if you catch it on the wrong day, it’s packed with protestors screaming the outrage du jour and wall-to-wall food trucks in weather so hot and humid you’d swear Satan himself sat down on top of the National Mall. Fortunately, Son and I did not go on that day. Instead, we caught a perfect day with minimal crowd, light cloud cover, and cool weather that wasn’t quite cold.

With only one day, we had to prioritize. For us, there was no real debate. We started at the National Archives for one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Then we walked the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial and across the Potomac River on Arlington Memorial Bridge to Arlington National Cemetery.

US Capitol Building from the foot of the Washington Monument

WWII Memorial and Lincoln Memorial

We had just entered Arlington National Cemetery when a hearse arrived at a nearby grave site. A profound hush fell over the hillside. All tourists stopped and paid their respects as a soldier was laid to rest with military honors.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

We spent the next day in Maryland. While DC certainly lives up to its age-old reputation of a city of Northern charm and Southern efficiency, we found Maryland was its polar opposite. The gentle hills sandwiched between Baltimore and DC are like the lower Midwest, but with seafood. We loved it. However, being from the West, it was difficult to wrap our heads around the short distances to get everywhere. “Annapolis is way over there. Probably takes at least two hours. Did you check the route? . . . What? Twenty minutes?”

The National Cryptologic Museum is a unique collection at the edge of Ft. Meade. We had a few minutes so we dropped in. My husband (not Holmes) is a computer hardware architect, and it was a special surprise to see that a storage system he helped design was included in the collection. We also saw, among other things, cryptanalysis books from the 1500s, an Enigma Machine, the flag captured from Iraqi Headquarters in Baghdad during 2003 Operation Enduring Freedom, and the 1917 Zimmerman Telegram, in which the Germans proposed an alliance with Mexico against the United States.

The Zimmerman Telegram

Flag captured from Iraqi HQ during Operation Enduring Freedom, 2003

We stopped at Sandy Point State Park on the way to the airport and decided that while it’s pretty, like a lake shore, perhaps people don’t go to Maryland for its beaches. Go for the lovely people, the stunning countryside, and the great seafood.

Sandy Point State Park

If you only had one day in Washington, DC, how would you spend it? Have you ever been to the National Cryptologic Museum?

All the best to all of you for a week of safe travels.

All images @Piper Bayard, 2019.