Monday, September 29, 2008

What a Trip! (Part One)

The Write Sisters are home recuperating after a whirlwind weekend in Washington, D.C. It was time to celebrate and we managed to do a pretty good job of it.

As you blog readers already know, our first collaborative book, Women of Granite: 25 New Hampshire Women You Should Know was chosen by New Hampshire’s Center for the Book to represent our state at the National Book Festival. When the Write Sisters heard that news, our first reaction was “Road trip!”

We flew to Baltimore and rented a Sistah’s-mobile (also known as a Chevy Uplander mini-van) and headed for our hotel in Alexandria. The efficient folks at the Holiday Inn were ready for us so we were able to check into our rooms early and start exploring.

The hotel is located one parking lot away from D.C.’s fine Metro system. We abandoned vehicle and valises and headed for the train. At the station we met Ronald Simons, the world’s most helpful Metro employee. I had two kids attend college in the District, spent lots of time there, and was very familiar with the Metro system. However, it had been a couple of years since my last visit and the ticket machines looked a little different. Mr. Simons expertly explained the machine’s workings and we were soon on our way up the escalator to the train.

We got out at the National Archives stop and headed to the mall. I can’t speak for the rest of the Sisters but I still get a thrill when I walk out into our Nation’s Capital. It is a truly magnificent city. By international standards, we are a young, young country but I believe our capital city easily competes with any other major city in the world.

We could see the huge tents set up on the mall for the National Book Festival. It already looked pretty impressive, but we had no idea how fabulous it would be.

Our first stop was the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. We spent several lovely hours there. It would take weeks to explore the artifacts in just this one museum. We didn’t try to see it all. Instead, we focused on truly enjoying a few areas: the mammal exhibit, the new ocean exhibit, prehistoric life, the Hope diamond, and ancient civilizations. We didn’t rush. We read the placards. We watched the short videos. We collected ideas for new books.

Afterwards, we had dinner at a D.C. landmark: Old Ebbitt Grill. (The Oldest Saloon in Washington) Great burgers! Great beer! Great company!

At this point, it wasn’t extremely late, but the Sistahs had been up since before dawn. We needed sleep.

Tomorrow: The Festival.

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