DC or bust


Melissa Stagnaro

About a year ago, my mother announced that she had always wanted to visit Washington. This was news to me, since she’d never expressed this desire to me during the several years I lived in close proximity to our nation’s capital. Nor did she visit me during those years, the majority of which were spent in Arlington, VA.

I’m not going to lie. I was a bit miffed. But I know full well why I didn’t rate a visit. Having not yet produced any grand children, I’m still dead last on the totem pole when it comes to planning vacations. That’s why I had to move back here. I figured it was the only way I’d ever get to see my parents.

But I’ve put that bitterness aside. Really, I have. And good little daughter that I (sometimes) am, I set about planning a trip to DC for my mom.

I’ll never forget my own excitement at visiting the city’s historic landmarks and monuments for the first time, even though I was only in middle school. (Yep, Safety Patrol.) But of course, I got to know it much better when I lived down there. It didn’t take me long to draw up a list of things I wanted my mom to see and experience while we were down there.

If we follow our itinerary, we’ll hit all of the usual suspects: The Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Memorial, the National Archives, a few of the Smithsonians. Maybe the Botanical Gardens and the National Gallery. Definitely the World War II Memorial and the Holocaust Museum, and maybe even the Spy Museum, all of which opened after I departed the area. We’ll catch up with a couple of my old partners-in-crime, as well.

It will be a lot to cover in just three short days, but we’ll do our best.

By far the highlights of our trip will be tours of the “big three,” as I think of them: The Library of Congress, the Capitol and – drum roll, please – the White House.

It’s the latter of those three which I’m most looking forward to. For all my years in Northern Virginia, I never had a chance to see first-hand the interior of this historic structure, which has been home to some of our nation’s greatest leaders. Despite the fact that I worked less than a block away for a year and a half. My building sat at the corner of Connecticut and H, kitty-corner to Lafayette Park. I had lunch in that park many a day, gazing at the building’s stately portico and watching tour groups mill around.

And this Friday, my mom and I will both finally get a chance to peek inside. I absolutely cannot wait! Our self-guided tour has been arranged by Senator Charles Schumer’s stellar staff, who also orchestrated the Library of Congress and Capitol building tours. (Thanks Max and Adam! You guys rock.)

I’ll be spending the next two days with my nose to the grindstone, trying to clear my plate so there will be nothing hanging over my head. Because come hell or high water, or breaking news, my mom and I will be heading out bright and early Wednesday morning.

DC or bust!

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