A Capital 4th and an Insider Get Together

Discussion created by erc on Jul 5, 2014
Latest reply on Jul 8, 2014 by nuhusker
As a DC native and local, I have been to my share of interesting Independence Day celebrations at the National Mall in Washington DC; cycling downtown to the Bicentennial display, lugging in coolers, beverages, and lawn chairs before the current tight security environment for several Beach Boys concerts, viewing from the Tidal Basin (Jefferson Memorial area), Gravelly Point (Reagan National airport) and the USMC Memorial (Iwo Jima) with emphasis in the later years on securing a great view with a quick exit (either a secret parking spot or a nearby low use metro stop), but this years was one of the most enjoyable ever (I think it's related to the age/convenience ratio  ).
  The Key Bridge Marriott (their second ever hotel) sits at the foot of, that's right, the Key Bridge, which runs from Rosslyn (Arlington) Va. into Georgetown. It is a 14 story hotel (no 13th numbered floor) with odd numbered rooms from xx59 to xx75 facing down the Potomac River toward the National Mall. The 14th floor of those rooms is the site of the former restaurant, The View, and currently serves as a ballroom, so the 12th floor is the top lodging floor and we were fortunate enough through using our Insider way's of securing upgrades, of having room 1265, a fantastic view.
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A terrific view during the daytime, especially at sunrise, from Key Bridge to Jefferson Memorial
   Washington Harbour, Watergate, Kennedy Center, Washington Monument

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           Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial

  We started off the day with lunch day at Georgetown's Washington Harbour, a collection of several excellent waterside restaurants and then a pleasant walk thru Georgetown and a scenic view crossing the Key Bridge. Georgetown Cupcake? good as they are, I'm too old to wait 45 minutes (often outside in the heat) for a cupcake, so instead, we stop in across the street at Dean and DeLuca for terrific, no waiting sweets.

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Washington Harbour - lots of nice boats dock and grab a bite - nice sightseeing cruises also

  Dinner was an easy walk up Wilson Blvd. where several restaurants meet the need; Piola, Cafe Asia, Red Hot and Blue, and our choice last night for tasty burgers, fried chicken, chili, that would make Hot Shoppes proud, Ray's to the Third. Ben's Chili Bowl, the famous DC institution opened recently and it will be interesting to see if folks actually go for the food.
  What a marvelous time looking out the large window and watching - no joke - over what appeared to be more than 80 different fireworks displays that ran from twenty minutes before the 9:10 start of the national mall display until 11:00 pm, a full hour after the national ceremony ended - fantastic (and all the while with the PBS  broadcast and replay playing in the background on television). With sodas, snacks, and a glass or two of wine (ok, maybe a beer also) and the knowledge that when it was over, we didn't need to go anywhere (and I must admit, part of the entertainment was watching the exodus from the city from above) I haven't had as much fun watching an event since seeing the Blue Jays play from the Toronto Renaissance.

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We saw over 80 different fireworks displays all along our horizon. Here's one below the Mall's (see it?)
  But wait, the holiday isn't quite over yet. It's always inspirational to visit The Arlington National Cemetery, especially on a celebration of our country's great assets, where many tremendous sacrifices were made to provide our freedom and wonderful lifestyles.

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              Words aren't necessary as you walk the grounds

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      The Women in Military Memorial - one of my daughters' favorite stops

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   A view across the Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial from the National Cemetery
Here's a travel tip: an enjoyable activity is to take the Arlington Cemetery Metro stop and walk across the Bridge
The stop is just beyond the car on the sidewalk on the left and is an easy and lovely walk into the city

To top off the terrific weekend, we had a wonderful time in Crystal City having lunch and swapping travel tales and tips with vaboywnder and eklektech at Teddy Turner's Ted's Montana Grill (with over two million acres, Turner is the second largest private landowner in America and is America's largest bison rancher - and it showed, deeelicious!)

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vaboywnder, eklektech , Mrs. Erc, Granny Erc, and your humble author
        We had a terrific time and at least half of what I said was true

  And in closing, a fascinating interaction occurred at the hotel. Several exhibitors from Africa, Asia, and South America participating in the  Smithsonian Folk Life Festival were guests of the hotel and sitting in the lobby discussing the wonderful virtues and freedom of America. In spite of the current ineffectiveness of our legislators on both sides of the aisles, it was a powerful reminder of the great country we Americans are fortunate enough to live in.
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We couldn't have had better weather, look at that lovely July sky.
The Air Force Memorial just down the road from the Pentagon