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Washington, DC

Went up to DC on the train. Stayed at the Phoenix Park Hotel, near Union Station. Was happy with the train ride and the hotel.

Museums: National Gallery, Museum of Natural History, Freer, Museum of African Art, Museum of African American History and Culture, Museum of the American Indian, Hirschhorn.

Notable exhibits: Vittore Carpaccio, Florentine Renaissance, Impressionists, ‘Called to Create: Black Artists of the American South’, Moore and Noguchi (https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.56100.html) sculptures, Calder mobiles; fossils, oceans; Iranian photography (‘Living in Two Times: Bahman Jalali and Rana Javani’); Nollywood portraits; Amy Sherald portrait of Breonna Taylor, quilt portrait of Harriet Tubman (https://nmaahc.si.edu/object/nmaahc_2021.38), music section, Muhammad Ali section; Preston Singletary depiction of the legend of Raven, in glass; John Akomfrah:Purple (hour-long film, on several screens, about the impact of humans on the Earth), sculpture garden.

Monuments: WWII, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial.

Posted by
7050 posts

The Preston Singletary exhibit at the American Indian Museum was one of the best I have seen in all of 2022. Stunning glasswork and interpretation of Native American art.

Posted by
27359 posts

Thank you for mentioning the Singletary exhibit; I don't recognize the name of the artist, but I love glass, and the web photos look wonderful. I'll have to squeeze this in before I head out of town on January 20. I'd have missed it for sure if not for this thread.

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2475 posts

Quite welcome, acraven. The full Singletary exhibit is on the third floor; on the fourth floor there’s a video of Preston Singletary and his collaborator explaining the exhibit and their processes for creating it. There’s also his very beautiful glass piece depicting the moon. This is all in with a really fine exhibit ‘Our Universes’, explaining various belief systems.

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111 posts

For folks bound for D.C. the next few weeks, there's still time to catch the Italian Impressionist Giuseppe De Nittis exhibition at The Phillips Collection. That's through Feb.12, 2023. It's the first exhibition for his work in the U.S.

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692 posts

When I travel to Europe I like to fly from IAD. So, like the OP, I do enjoy taking Amtrak to DC and the Phoenix Park Hotel -- the hotel is only a block from Union Station. I live a block from the Williamsburg train station and a round trip ticket to DC is only $30. Take the train, stay at Phoenix Park and fly out from Dulles. Now the Silver line to Dulles has finally opened.

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2475 posts

Thanks, VAP. I’m glad to see that you like the Phoenix Park Hotel too. I’m also glad to find out that Williamsburg has an Amtrak station - hadn’t realized that. I used to drive up and take the Scotland-Jamestown ferry.

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111 posts

VAP - Yes, the WMATA's Silver line now goes to IAD-Dulles. I've ridden it twice since it opened and, for seniors like me, it's a bargain - $2, including the bus/transfer to the Silver line at Farragut West!

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209 posts

Thank you for this! Love your succinct information, and love DC. Next time you go, consider the Hillwood Museum. It was an Uber ride from my Dupont Circle hotel (and a previous Uber driver told me about it) but it was my favorite place on my last trip. Beautiful grounds, nice restaurant and gift shop, and amazing permanent exhibits focused on Russian and French art, as well as some rotating ones, in a former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post.

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2475 posts

Wow, thank YOU, KC, for the info on the Hillwood Museum and Gardens! Looks gorgeous! I’m now inspired to do another DC trip soonish. Just looked at the map, and it looks like you can get quite close on the Metro Red Line.

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692 posts

lnbsig -- yeah, Williamsburg's current Amtrak station was built in 1935 and in 2000 the city bought it from Colonial Williamsburg and restored the station. We get two trains in each direction each day and I have always found it a pleasant ride to DC. And since its a third of a mile north of CW and tucked behind the city's main fire station it can be easy to miss.

Many many years ago I lived in Isle of Wight and when I got my first museum job, the Ferry was part of my daily commute to cross the James to get to work in Charles City.

SamA -- I do hope that before long I'll finally get to take the Silver Line to Dulles.

Posted by
2475 posts

Ok, VAP, you’ve got me doing yet more map-reading (which I enjoy). I see there’s Isle of Wight, a town in VA, and Isle of Wight, an island off the coast of MD. I assume you’re referring to the former? (I had only heard of Isle of Wight, U.K. before). So, you work in museums, eh? Nice!

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2475 posts

To those of you who live in the area: I was thinking that the next time I go to DC, instead of taking the train all the way, I might drive to, say, Fredericksburg, park at the train station, maybe explore a bit, then take the train into DC. I like the train, but taking it the whole way is a lot slower than driving, and I mostly did it because I didn’t want to drive, or worse yet, park, in DC. Would the Fredericksburg plan work ok, do you think? Thanks!

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692 posts

I lived in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Our largest town was/is Smithfield and the only important thing about Smithfield is it's considered the birth place of the Virginía/ Smithfield Ham, the first documented one being from E M Todd about 1739. And just happens to be home to Smithfield Foods.

Anyway, I've not parked at the Fredericksburg station to head into DC myself. But, it is probably worth it for you. The Fredericksburg station is also a commuter station on the Virginia Railway Express system, so a significant number of commuters do use the station and I would expect better parking than Amtrak stations to the south. And you can get to the VRE website here -- https://www.vre.org/

From the Fredericksburg station you'll have a wider selection of Amtrak trains as well as VRE Trains.

Posted by
111 posts

VAP - One additional thought: Park at the WMATA's Ashburn Station. It's the new terminus on the Silver Line. $4.95 for 24 hours, 3,000 spaces.

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1605 posts

I really like Washington, been twice, both times staying in rentals in Alexandria. I think the district is called Parkfairfax (?), a very handsome residential area of townhomes built after the war. A bus and tube ride into the city, about 40 minutes or so. I'd stay there again if I ever returned.

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2475 posts

Glad you’ve enjoyed Washington, Gundersen. I did consider staying in Alexandria (looks like it’s really convenient to get there from the airport), but really enjoyed being able to walk ~1/2 hour from my hotel to the Mall, where the museums are.