Bayard & Holmes
~ Piper Bayard
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.
As a lifetime visitor of Washington, DC, I encourage people to see Arlington National Cemetery. You must make time for it, and I’m glad you and your son did. Our liberty isn’t in memorials although memorials and monuments heal us. Our liberty and freedoms are secured by the sacrifices of our soldiers and their families. I’ve not been to some of the places mentioned in your wonderful article, but I’ll put them on my list to visit. Thanks for the question. It did make me think and I hope it makes other readers think, too.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. “Memorials and monuments heal us.” So true, and our nation needs some healing.
DD had a great idea for an addition to the National Mall — a Civil War Museum. It would be a place to put all those monuments people want to tear down. It would be a wing for the North, and one for the South. There would be no current political commentary, argument, or judgments, but only articles and words FROM THE TIME OF THE WAR. So many are still fighting the Civil War, reinterpreting it with each generation. Perhaps a national memorial and museum would help the nation wrap it up and move on.
I live in the area–I’ll tell you, I’ve been avoiding downtown because of all the rancor of politics. But downtown? Museum of the Bible was surprisingly an interesting trip. Outside of DC, the George Washington Masonic Temple and Old Town. If you want George Washington’s stopping grounds, there’s lots to see there. The waterfront used to be a major tobacco shipping port. There’s also a historic tavern, historic firehouse, historic apothecary. When the weather is warmer, you can hop a boat that goes up and down the Potomac and sight-see, or go across to National Harbor.
Thanks for those tips! Sounds like great ideas for things to do outside of the National Mall.
On my long long line of buckets list……
Definitely worth doing once, but never in the summer.