Out and About D.C. Style

One of my favorite things about living in the Washington, D.C. area is that it never gets old to play tourist. Whenever someone comes to visit, it’s a great excuse to get out and explore. My parents were coming down for a visit recently and since they’ve been here many times, we wanted to come up with something we hadn’t done yet.

Amazingly in all the years they’ve been coming down, we’d never gone to the National Archives. I haven’t been in years either, so we decided to make an afternoon of it. The highlight of the Archives of course is that it houses the Declaration, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Seeing these documents in person as opposed to them just being some abstract thing you learn about in history class is unbelievably cool. Yes, I’m a total nerd!

Our main reason for visiting the Archives on this trip, however, was to see a new temporary exhibit called To The Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The exhibit looks back at the crisis and features real-time White House recordings from Kennedy’s meetings in October of 1962. Also at the exhibit are chairs used by President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev during the June 1961 Vienna Summit. It has personality studies of Khrushchev and Fidel Castro, satellite photos of missile sites under construction in Cuba,  a map of Cuba used and annotated by President Kennedy,  secret correspondence between Kennedy and Khrushchev and a synopsis of a speech that never had to be delivered that President Kennedy drafted if he had to announce an attack to “destroy the nuclear build-up in Cuba.”

The exhibit was great – full of information and cool pieces of history. I could’ve spent hours more there listening to all of the recordings from Kennedy’s meetings and hope to get back before the exhibit closes. If you’re planning on being in D.C. between now and February, this is a can’t miss museum.

Olympic Cities

I’ve been on a bit of a travel binge for the last year or so, and while I’m looking forward to a November mostly free of travel, I have had a lot of fun and gotten to see some very cool cities along the way. Recently I visited two cities that have hosted past winter Olympics.

In late September my boyfriend and I rented a car and got on the road bright and early to head up to Lake Placid, New York for my friend Lindsay’s wedding. (Side note: The Prius is an awesome car – better than I’d expected and the gas mileage is incredible.) It was a bit of a rainy drive, but the views and colors of the changing leaves as we got closer were fantastic.

After finally arriving we settled in at the Crowne Plaza and met up with friends at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. This was a great little pub with just about anything on the menu. After a long day of driving, we were all ready for a couple beers, and well, we pretty much attacked the appetizer menu. Check out Ian’s review over at Croutons Stuck in Futons for more on the brewpub.

Lake Placid hosted the Olympics in 1980 and 1932. Logistically I have no idea how this small city was able to do so, but we took full advantage of getting some time to check out the Olympic sites. Ian and I stepped out onto the currently cement outdoor speed skating track and visited the Olympic Museum. Most exciting was checking out the ice rinks and stepping onto the ice where the 1980 Miracle on Ice took place…even if I did get yelled at shortly after doing so to get off the ice!

A few weeks later I was off to Vancouver, British Columbia for a conference. Vancouver hosted the Olympics more recently in 2010. Before the work part of the trip started I was able to spend some time checking out the city. I saw the Olympic Cauldron and rode by BC Place Stadium on a bus tour of the city.

I rented bikes with a few coworkers and took advantage of unseasonably warm weather to ride along the seawall and take in some amazing views around Vancouver. I also got in several runs along the seawall, which were some of the most breathtakingly beautiful runs I’ve been on.

I always look forward to watching the Olympics every two years. I was lucky enough to win a drawing to be able to carry the Olympic torch on its way to the ‘96 Olympics in Atlanta. While in Greece to run the original marathon course, I got to stand right next to the Olympic flame in Marathon. It was great adding Lake Placid and Vancouver to my list of marathon experiences.

Enjoy pics below including a couple flashbacks to elementary school – rocking the giant glasses and scrunchie!