Exploring Washington D.C. in the Autumn

While visiting our daughter in Baltimore, MD we enjoyed a traditional cracking crab lunch at L.P. Steamers before exploring historical and whimsical sites along this important seaport city.

Two of my favorite sites included the Fort McHenry, birthplace of the U.S. national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It sits at the mouth of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor near the Civil War–era warship the USS Constellation and the National Aquarium, showcasing thousands of marine creatures.

One of the most memorable attractions was the colorful and creative American Visionary  Art Museum. It’s filled with works by artists who create fascinating art out of every conceivable medium.  The art produced is by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an personal vision the turns into a beautiful creative act.

While driving to Annapolis on our way to  Washington D.C., we noticed cars were pulling over along the beltway and a crowd of people started lining up along a freeway overpass, with an enormous American flag hanging down. Thousands of people were paying respect to Senator John McCain as his hearse along with an 11-vehicle motorcade and 17 flashing police motorcycles were escorting him to his final resting place at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Annapolis is a picturesque city on the Chesapeake Bay offering a wide range of historical sites and activities. Sailors come from all over the world to visit the Annapolis docks and admire some of the most beautiful and exotic boats of all sizes along the Chesapeake Bay. Right in the center of town is the elite U.S. Naval Academy. Officers in crisp white uniforms, walk along the brick streets with family and friends during the evening hours. Since 1845, the Academy has educated the officers of the United States Navy. Visitors can tour part of the 338 acre campus steeped in history and culture. There is the United States Naval Academy Museumand the beautifully adorned chapel that holds the ornate crypt of John Paul Jones, father of the U.S. Navy.

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Nearby, the historic Maryland State House, built in 1772, is the oldest state house still in use. Once the capital of the nation, it was here that the Treaty of Paris was signed to end the Revolutionary War, and General George Washington resigned from his post as commander of the Continental Army.

Another historic museum is the African American History at the Banneker-Douglass Museum celebrating two figures in American history: Frederick Douglass, the great writer and abolitionist, and Benjamin Banneker, the 18th-century mathematician, astronomer and author whose work inspired many in the drive for freedom.

Back in our car we drove about 40 minutes to Washington D.C., to explore the historic monuments and museums. Arriving late in the afternoon, we stayed one night at the newly repurposed Wharf area. This new lifestyle complex offers three hotels, dining venues, residential units and entertainment.

The new Staying InterContinental at The Wharf is a 12 story waterfront hotel offering 278 guest rooms and suites. Up at the rooftop is a bar and sparkling pool with views of the riverfront, Jefferson Memorial and beyond.

The distinctive red brick exterior with metal accents and glass offers a modern interior design with beige and nautical blue, contemporary maritime and industrial decor in elegantly furnished rooms.

Checking into room 907, we appreciated the two queen beds with high quality cotton linens and two different pillow types – down and non-allergenic foam pillows. In the closet were two plush bathrobes and complimentary slippers. The luxurious bathroom featured a large walk-in glass enclosed rain shower and hand held shower-head system.

On the ground floor of the hotel is Kith/Kin restaurant by one of the Season 13 Top Chef Alum’s Kwame Onwuachi. Dining during the dinner hour, we appreciated this talented chef’s celebration of West Africa and Caribbean spices. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Directly in front of the hotel is a complimentary Southwest neighborhood shuttle bus that takes hotel guests to the Smithsonian and National Mall every 15 minutes. From there, everything is close by taking the metro, renting a bike, electric scooter or walking.

We explored the Washington Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in the evening, while the weather was cooler and the crowds thinned out a little. The next day we visited two free world-class museums, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Museum of American History before driving to the airport to fly home. Noticing a few trees were starting to change colors, October is an ideal time to visit the historic sites in Maryland and beyond.

To learn more click on  Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington DC.

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