Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Morsel of Goodness

Yes, even though I haven't updated our "Morsels of Goodness" for a while, we are still saying hilarious things.  This new one to the left is from this time LAST year (03/28/2011) when Tyler was in the hospital for his kidney stone.  I have a bunch of these morsels saved up so I'll start being better about updating them.

Ford's Theater, Chinatown, and the Pentagon Memorial

So we used to do tourist-y stuff every weekend.  Then the morning sickness put the kabob on that and pretty much everything else for two plus months.  But we're back and better than ever.

On St. Patrick's Day we went to Ford's Theater.  Technically, Ford's Theater is free.  Advance tickets are only supposed to be $2.50 if you get them online from Ticketmaster, but of course it came out closer to $6 per ticket.  Audio tours are even more expensive.  Unless you really have to visit at a specific time, I would recommend getting (for real free) tickets the day of at Ford's Theater when they open around 8 a.m.  (Ford's Theater saves 20% of the tickets for each time slot for walk ups, but they do go pretty fast in the morning.)

If you already have tickets, you wait in line outside the theater until your time slot goes in.  If you want walk up tickets go straight inside to the box office.  Once you have your tickets, go back outside to wait in line.

Before you go into the theater area, there is a small-ish Lincoln museum.  It outlines his presidency and the timeline of Lincoln and Booth's individual days the day of the assassination.  We had about 45 minutes to walk around the museum before they started the presentation in the theater.

This is the gun that Booth used to shoot Lincoln.  It's much smaller than I imagined it would be.  This gun is at almost the very end of the museum, so make sure to skip more of the middle not the end if you need to rush up to the theater.

In the theater a park ranger gives a 15 minute or so spiel about history of the theater and information a brief timeline of the assassination.  Did you know that after the assassination the government bought the theater and used it as offices?  That went well until one of the floors collapsed killing 22 people.  Obviously, some renovations have been done since then.

The Presidential Box where the assassination occurred.


We were not able to visit the actual box where Lincoln was shot.  It's not permanently closed to visitors, it's just usually so busy that they can't let people up.  I asked one of the park rangers when a visitor would be likely to be allowed up there and he said late November, early December, but even then, not most days.

Ford's Theater is a working theater again.  This set is for "1776."



Your Ford's Theater ticket also gets you into the Lincoln Center for Education and Leadership and the Peterson house, where Lincoln actually died.  These are both directly across the street from Ford's Theater.  We didn't visit them because the line and wait time was SO. LONG.  (There isn't timed admission to these.) But I kinda wish we had.  The Center for Education and Leadership is brand new and a few days after we went I saw some stuff in the Washington Post about it and it looked kinda cool.
C'est la vie.

Overall, unless you are in D.C. for more than four days or are really into Lincoln, I would skip Ford's Theater.  It's good, but other things in D.C. are better.

A few blocks away from Ford's Theater is D.C.'s Chinatown.  It has super cool entrance gates, but overall is kinda lame.  And by kinda lame, I mean completely lame.  You can definitely skip it.  Just restaurants and one or two tiny overpriced tourist shops.  L.A., N.Y.C., and San Fran all have much better Chinatowns.  

This is Mary Surratt's (one of the Lincoln assassination conspirators) boarding house that is now a restaurant in Chinatown.  We only know this because we saw a small plaque near the door as we walked by.  Also, check out the sweet iron work gate!

Since we took the metro in, we decided to get off at the Pentagon Metro stop and visit the Pentagon Memorial.  We tried to visit it once before, but we were driving and couldn't figure out where to park because there were all these signs that said "authorized personnel only" and the parking lot is a huge maze and the Pentagon Police are pretty intimidating with their machine guns so we just left.

I really liked the Pentagon Memorial A LOT.  Near the entrance is a phone number you can call for a cell phone tour.  There is a 12 minute option and a 23 minute option.  I listened to the 12 minute option and highly recommend it.  It explained so much of the symbolism that I'm pretty sure everyone will miss otherwise.  I'll point out a few things:

Each bench has an individual's name on it.  (It's okay to sit on the benches - they want you to.)   If, as you read the name on the bench you are facing the Pentagon that person died in the Pentagon.  If, as you read the name you face the sky (away from the Pentagon), that person was on the plane.

The benches are arranged by birth year.  So the first row is 1998 and has only one bench in it with the name of a little girl who was traveling on the plane with her family.  Rows like 1960 have quite a few more benches in them.  The last row is 1931 (I think) and also only has one bench in it.


Under each bench is a small pool of water.  People from the same family who were killed in the attacks have a small plaque in the pool of water with the names of their family members on it so they can always be together.  So the bench in the 1998 row for three year old Dana Falkenberg has a plaque in the water with the names of her parents (Charles Falkenberg, Leslie Whittington) and her older sister (Zoe).  I think it's beautiful that they put the families together in this way.

Near the row for 1953 you can look through the gates of the Pentagon and see approximately where the plane crashed.  It hit just to the left of the doors between the first and second floors, so it was incredibly low to the ground.

Anyway, I really like the Pentagon Memorial and think it will look spectacular once the trees are more mature (and you know, have leaves on them).

I would definitely add the Pentagon Memorial to the list of Memorials not to be missed on your visit to D.C.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First

We bought our first baby thing:


Oh, what?  That doesn't look like a baby item?  Well, it is.  It's a leather Kenneth Cole Reaction messenger bag.  We're going to use it as a diaper bag.  Because a regular looking type diaper bag doesn't really fit our vibe.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Leap Day Traditions

So T and I have decided to make celebrating Leap Day a big deal.  We're always going to wear blue and yellow and tell the story of Leap Dave Williams and trade tears for candy.  We're also never going to make our kids go to school on Leap Day.  True Story.  We're going to do something awesome instead because real life is for March.

*Inspired by "Modern Family" and "30 Rock"