Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C. & Great Falls National Park – March 26-27, 2016

Each year in late March, Wayne goes to Washington, D.C. to visit some art galleries and to get together with some friends he’s had since college.  This was my second trip with him, and despite it being Easter weekend (when some of his friends had already made other plans), we had a great time!

From the Charlottesville area, we drove up Rt. 29.  Instead of getting on I-66 towards D.C., this time we stayed on Rt. 29 North until Rt. 50 took off heading east into Arlington.  We stayed at a motel that was within a couple of blocks of a Metro station, got our “Smart Trip” cards, and off we went!

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The Metro system is really a good way to get around the city.  While we don’t go often enough to really *understand* the various routes, we can usually get where we want to go.

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From the Farragut West Metro stop, we walked a couple of blocks to the Renwick Gallery on Pennsylvania Avenue.

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The line was really, really long, but we decided to wait it out.  Fortunately, it moved quickly and before too long we were inside for the “WONDER” exhibit.  Nine installations were featured in this show, and while I’ll post a few pictures, you can also click here to learn more about it.

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When we left the Renwick, I walked a little further down Pennsylvania Avenue to get a couple of pictures of one of the most famous buildings in the neighborhood:

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We were meeting a friend for dinner in a couple of hours, plus we were kind of tired from all of the standing and walking, so we decided to return to the motel instead of going to any other museums.  Again I found myself totally fascinated with the interior of the metro station, so I started taking pictures of the changing patterns in the ceiling and wall while riding up on the escalator.  This proved not to be a good thing; more on that later!

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Our designated meeting place for dinner was a place we’d been before: the Silver Diner on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington.  I got the Bell & Evans Roasted Chicken Pot Pie (SO GOOD!), Wayne got Grilled Atlantic Salmon, and our friend got the Summer Citrus Salad.  We were ALL pleased with our meals, and we highly recommend this restaurant if you’re in the area.

We left Arlington early on Sunday morning, heading for Great Falls National Park on the Virginia side of the Potomac River.  So funny that you can be in such a large city and then in less than 15 miles you can be at some place like this! It was cool and overcast, but so amazing and so beautiful.

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Just after we drove into the Park, two Great Blue Herons flew over the parking lot.  We went to the first overlook of the falls and then decided to walk upriver to see if we’d see any other Herons or water birds.

Before going too far, however, we paused to put a tiny sliver of quartz crystal into the river.  This is a ritual we started a couple of years ago….  Water is so vital to all life on our planet, and yet all too often there are stories in the news about oil spills, industrial waste or agricultural waste that foul this precious natural resource.  Being familiar with (and intrigued by) the work of Masaru Emoto, we say a prayer for the safety and health of the water while holding the crystal, and then we drop the crystal into the river.

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But back to the wildlife.  There were Canada Geese everywhere, as well as a variety of ducks and other birds.

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To our surprise, there were LOTS of Great Blue Herons nesting on the far side of the river.  It astounds me that these long-legged birds can roost in trees!

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I had my camera on full optical/digital zoom to get these pictures.  I was pleased that I was able to take them, but of course I always wish for a more powerful zoom–or closer birds!–at times like these!

I spotted another bird across the river, and when I zoomed in, I was delighted to see another one of our favorites!

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The two adult Bald Eagles were sitting just to the right of their nest.

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We so enjoy being out in woods and along water, and Great Falls National Park is now one of our favorite places to visit.

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Apparently a lot of other people feel the same way.  As we were leaving the Park, the line coming in was nearly half a mile long! I’m so glad we got there early!

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Now, earlier I mentioned something about taking pictures while riding on the escalator in the Metro station…  I didn’t mention that I was riding up backwards, taking pictures as it rose, and that I got totally lost in and totally distracted by the changing patterns….

I was paying NO attention to how long I’d been on the escalator, suddenly ran out of moving stairs, and the next thing I knew I was–YIKES!–falling backwards!   I managed to break the fall–with my head!

Thankfully, I didn’t lose consciousness and it didn’t split the skin, but almost immediately I had a very large knot on the back of my head.  I sat there for a second, sort of assessing the damage, then Wayne helped me up.  We slowly walked to a nearby restaurant and got some ice in a bag, then I sat down again, continuing to decide just how much damage I’d done to myself.

When we walked back to the motel, we asked the guy at the desk where the closest urgent care center was (almost directly across the street!) and then I used the internet to make sure that I knew what to look for, just in case things started getting worse.  (In addition to the very painful knot on the back of my head, I had a fierce headache and some nausea. Plus my neck, left shoulder and back were starting to hurt.)

I knew I shouldn’t take aspirin, but I also learned that Ibuprofen is a no-no with a head injury.  Wayne went to a nearby 7-11 to get me some Tylenol.

Despite this, we still made it to dinner on time, and between the meds, the delicious dinner, and the great conversations, I started to feel a little bit better.

At this point I’m still sore as the dickens (basically EVERYTHING hurts), but I’m very, very thankful that this was no worse than it was.  And yes, I have laughed and laughed at the total irony of the whole experience:  Um, can you say “Great Falls”?  😉

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