Monday, May 26, 2008

The Charlotte 500, Lap 35 - 41: More Capitol Stuff

Lap 35: The Willard Hotel - This is hardly a great photo, but it's the garage entrance to the Willard Hotel, which was the premiere hotel in Washington during the Civil War era, at least it hosted lots of famous people, including General Grant, who probably didn't park his horse in this garage when he arrived to take control of the Union armies in 1864. Really, I don't even know how much of the current hotel is "authentic" or how much has been rebuilt, but as a history buff, it was cool to see the name on the sign.

Lap 36: The Capitol. Our day in Washington was dark and wet, but even in the gloomy weather, this is still an impressive building to see in person.

Lap 37: The Washington Monument - It's hard to get a good picture of this thing, but this'll do. You all know what it looks like, anyway.

Lap 38: The Lincoln Memorial - On such an ugly day, there weren't many people in town, but I think half of those that were in town were crammed into the Lincoln Memorial, showing how compelling Lincoln is, even after 140 years.

Lap 39: The World War II Memorial - Another site that's hard to capture without a million dollar camera. I didn't get a good image of the fountains in the middle, so if you picture water spouting skyward just to the right of this picture, you'll get an idea of what it looks like.

Lap 40: Ford's Theater - Closed for renovations on our visit, all I have is this picture from the sidewalk across the street, which is approximately in front of the Petersen house, where President Lincoln was taken after being shot in Ford's Theater.

Lap 41: The Petersen house - This tiny room is where Abraham Lincoln died the morning after after being shot in Ford's Theater. It's not a very clear image, but that's probably okay since, from what I understand, most of the items in the room are reproductions, etc. Still, it was an eerie feeling to be in the room where Lincoln died.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

The Charlotte 500, Lap 29 - 34: Washington - The President's Front Yard

Okay, this might really be cheating, but I'm going to count each site as one item on my list, because 500 really is a big number. This first set from Washington includes a few of the things you can see right outside (give or take a few hundred yards) the president's front and back doors.
Lap 29: The White House - Maybe, some day, the place will actually have an occupant who understands the concept of freedom.

Lap 30: LaFayette Square - Even the birds enjoy a nice rest in the park across from the White House.

Lap 31: Starbucks - Just west of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, this was the only place open on a holiday weekend to warm up with some coffee and use the rest room.

Lap 32: The national Christmas Tree - The train was kinda cool, but the tree was just big and boring (in my opinion, but Christmas trees really aren't my thing).

Lap 33: I don't remember what this is, but it's an impressive building right next to the White House.

Lap 34: The Blair House - Across the street from the White House, the Blair House is significant for several reasons, which you might be able to read on the pictured tablets.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Charlotte 500, Lap 28: Driving the Shenandoah Valley

Interstate 77 north from Charlotte will bring you to Virginia and the southern Shenandoah Valley in less than two hours. It was dark when we drove the Shenandoah Valley, so I don't have any pictures, but I am including it on my list because of the history of the valley. Anyone interested in the Civil War will recognize nearly every town along the way - Staunton, Winchester, New Market, Luray, and Cedar Creek, site of Sheridan's famous ride. Charlottesville and Monticello, among many others, add even more romance to the drive up the Shenandoah. Aside from that, it's just a beautiful place.

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The Charlotte 500, Road Trip # 1: DC

One of the many reasons Tiffany and I came to Charlotte was that it is located within reasonable weekend driving distance of a lot of interesting places - mountains, beach, cities, history. So, while it may seem like cheating in order to more quickly reach my goal of documenting 500 things to do in and around Charlotte, I think it's fair that I include our road trips. It is my list after all.

So, my next few posts will be about our trip to Washington, DC, over New Year's weekend (yes, I'm a bit behind posting some of the things we've done).