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We're Off To Washington D.C.

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       WEEKEND GETAWAYS - Friday, February 22, 2008
    Make The Most Of Your Vacation - From Coast to Coast!


Greetings Getaway Lover,

With all the talk about primary elections and the
upcoming Presidential election I think a good place 
to visit would be Washington D.C.

THE BYZANTINE WORKINGS of the federal government; the 
sound-bite-ready oratory of the well-groomed politician; 
the murky foreign policy pronouncements issued from Foggy 
Bottom: they all cause many Americans to cast a skeptical 
eye on anything that happens "inside the Beltway." 
Washingtonians take it all in stride, though, reminding 
themselves that, after all, those responsible for 
political hijinks don't come from Washington, they come 
to Washington. Besides, such ribbing is a small price to 
pay for living in a city whose charms extend far beyond 
the bureaucratic. World-class museums and art galleries 
(nearly all of them free), tree-shaded and flower-filled 
parks and gardens, bars and restaurants that benefit from 
a large and creative immigrant community, and nightlife 
that seems to get better with every passing year are as 
much a part of Washington as floor debates or filibusters. 

Happy Trails,
Jan

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--DESTINATION: Washington D.C.

There's no denying that Washington, the world's first 
planned capital, is also one of its most beautiful. And 
although the federal government dominates many of the 
city's activities and buildings, there are always places 
where you can leave politics behind. Washington is a city 
of vistas -- pleasant views that shift and change from 
block to block, a marriage of geometry and art. Unlike 
other large cities, Washington isn't dominated by sky-
scrapers, largely because, in 1910, Congress passed a 
height-restrictions act to prevent federal monuments 
from being overshadowed by commercial construction. Its 
buildings stretch out gracefully and are never far from 
expanses of green. Like its main industry, politics, 
Washington's design is a constantly changing kaleido-
scope that invites inspection from all angles. 

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--WHAT TO DO AND SEE:

American Pharmaceutical Association 
Architectural Site, Foggy Bottom 
 
You might think the American Pharmaceutical Association 
is a rather odd sightseeing recommendation -- even for 
a casual glance as you're passing. But the white-marble 
building was designed in 1934 by noted architect John 
Russell Pope, who also designed the Lincoln Memorial and 
the National Gallery of Art, the American Pharmaceutical 
Association is as much a symbol of modern Washington as 
any government edifice. It's the home of one of more 
than 3,000 trade and professional associations (some as 
obscure as the Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute and others 
as well known as the AARP) that have chosen the capital 
for their headquarters, eager to represent their members' 
interests before the government. Metro: Foggy Bottom. 

Address: Constitution Ave. and 23rd St., Washington, DC, 
USA
Phone: 202/429-7565
 

Apex Building 
Government Building, The Mall 
 
The triangular Apex Building, completed in 1938, is the 
home of the Federal Trade Commission. Relief decorations 
over the doorways on the Constitution Avenue side depict 
agriculture (the harvesting of grain, by Concetta 
Scaravaglione) and trade (two men bartering over an ivory 
tusk, by Carl Schmitz). Michael Lantz's two heroic statues, 
flanking the rounded eastern portico, depict a muscular, 
shirtless workman wrestling with a wild horse and represent 
man controlling trade. Just across 6th Street is a three-
tier fountain decorated with the signs of the zodiac; it's 
a memorial to Andrew Mellon. As secretary of the treasury, 
Mellon constructed the $125 million Federal Triangle. (A 
deep-pocketed philanthropist, Mellon was the driving force 
behind the National Gallery of Art, just across Constitu-
tion Avenue.) Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial. 

Address: 7th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 
USA
 

Arlington National Cemetery 
Cemetery, Arlington 
 
More than 250,000 American war dead, as well as many not-
able Americans (among them Presidents William Howard Taft 
and John F. Kennedy, General John Pershing, and Admiral 
Robert E. Peary), are interred in these 612 acres across 
the Potomac River from Washington, established as the 
nation's cemetery in 1864. While you're here, there's a 
good chance you might hear the clear, doleful sound of a 
trumpet playing taps or the sharp reports of a gun salute. 
There are an average of 28 funerals held daily (it's pro-
jected that the cemetery will be filled in 2020). Although 
not the largest cemetery in the country, Arlington is cer-
tainly the best known, a place where you can trace 
America's history through the aftermath of its battles. 

To get here, you can take the Metro, travel on a Tourmobile 
bus, or walk across Arlington Memorial Bridge (southwest of 
the Lincoln Memorial). If you're driving, there's a large 
paid-parking lot at the skylighted visitor center on 
Memorial Drive. Stop at the center for a free brochure with 
a detailed map of the cemetery. If you're looking for a 
specific grave, the staff can consult microfilm records and 
give you directions to it. You should know the deceased's 
full name and, if possible, his or her branch of service 
and year of death. 

Tourmobile tour buses leave every 15-20 minutes from just 
outside the visitor center April through September, daily 
8:30-6:30, and October through March, daily 8:30-4:30. 
You can buy tickets here for the 40-minute tour of the 
cemetery, which includes stops at the Kennedy grave sites, 
the Tomb of the Unknowns, and Arlington House. Touring the 
cemetery on foot means a fair bit of hiking, but it can 
give you a closer look at some of the thousands of graves 
spread over these rolling Virginia hills. If you decide to 
walk, head west from the visitor center on Roosevelt Drive 
and then turn right on Weeks Drive. 
www.arlingtoncemetery.org. COST: Cemetery free, parking 
$3.75 for the first 3 hrs. Tourmobile $5.25. OPEN: Apr.-
Sept., daily 8-7; Oct.-Mar., daily 8-5. 

Address: West end of Memorial Bridge, Arlington, VA 
22211, USA
Phone: 703/607-8000 to locate a grave
  
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Other Places of Interest:

CAPITOL......
 
Government Building, Capitol Hill 
 
Before heading to the Capitol, pay a little attention to 
the grounds, landscaped in the late 19th century by 
Frederick Law Olmsted, a cocreator of New York City's 
Central Park. On these 68 acres are both the city's tam-
est squirrels and the highest concentration of TV news 
correspondents, jockeying for a good position in front 
of the Capitol for their "stand-ups." A few hundred feet 
northeast of the Capitol are two cast-iron car shelters, 
left from the days when horse-drawn trolleys served the 
Hill. Olmsted's six pinkish, bronze-top lamps directly 
east from the Capitol are worth a look, too. 

The design of the building itself was the result of a 
competition held in 1792; the winner was William Thornton, 
a physician and amateur architect from the West Indies. 
With its central rotunda and dome, Thornton's Capitol is 
reminiscent of Rome's Pantheon. This similarity must have 
delighted the nation's founders, who sought inspiration 
from the principles of the Republic of Rome. 

The cornerstone was laid by George Washington in a Masonic 
ceremony on September 18, 1793, and in November 1800, both 
the Senate and the House of Representatives moved down 
from Philadelphia to occupy the first completed section: 
the boxlike portion between the central rotunda and 
today's north wing. (Subsequent efforts to find the corner-
stone Washington laid have been unsuccessful, though when 
the east front was extended in the 1950s, workers found a 
knee joint thought to be from a 500-pound ox that was 
roasted at the 1793 celebration.) By 1807 the House wing 
had been completed, just to the south of what's now the 
domed center, and a covered wooden walkway joined the two 
wings. 

The "Congress House" grew slowly and suffered a grave 
setback on August 24, 1814, when British troops led by 
Sir George Cockburn marched on Washington and set fire 
to the Capitol, the White House, and numerous other 
government buildings. (Cockburn reportedly stood on the 
House Speaker's chair and asked his men, "Shall this 
harbor of Yankee democracy be burned?" The question was 
rhetorical; the building was torched.) The wooden walkway 
was destroyed and the two wings gutted, but the walls 
were left standing after a violent rainstorm doused the 
flames. Fearful that Congress might leave Washington, 
residents raised money for a hastily built "Brick Capitol" 
that stood where the Supreme Court is today. Architect 
Benjamin Henry Latrobe supervised the rebuilding, adding 
American touches such as the corncob-and-tobacco-leaf 
capitals to columns in the east entrance of the Senate 
wing. He was followed by Boston-born Charles Bulfinch, 
and in 1826 the Capitol, its low wooden dome sheathed in 
copper, was finished. 

North and south wings were added in the 1850s and 1860s 
to accommodate a growing government trying to keep pace 
with a growing country. The elongated edifice extended 
farther north and south than Thornton had planned, and 
in 1855, to keep the scale correct, work began on a 
taller, cast-iron dome. President Lincoln was criticized 
for continuing this expensive project while the country 
was in the throes of the Civil War, but he called the 
construction "a sign we intend the Union shall go on." 
This twin-shell dome, a marvel of 19th-century engineer-
ing, rises 285 feet above the ground and weighs 4,500 
tons. It expands and contracts up to 4 inches a day, 
depending on the outside temperature. The allegorical 
figure atop the dome, often mistaken for Pocahontas, is 
called Freedom. Sculptor Thomas Crawford had first plan-
ned for the 19½-foot-tall bronze statue to wear the 
cloth liberty cap of a freed Roman slave, but Southern 
lawmakers, led by Jefferson Davis, objected. An 
"American" headdress composed of a star-encircled hel-
met surmounted with an eagle's head and feathers was 
substituted. A light just below the statue burns when-
ever Congress is in session. 

The Capitol has continued to grow. In 1962 the east 
front was extended 33½ feet, creating 100 additional 
offices. Preservationists have fought to keep the 
west front from being extended, because it's the last 
remaining section of the Capitol's original facade. A 
compromise was reached in 1983, when it was agreed 
that the facade's crumbling sandstone blocks would 
simply be replaced with stronger limestone. 

Tours start under the center of the Rotunda's dome. 
At the dome's center is Constantino Brumidi's 1865 
fresco, Apotheosis of Washington. The figures in the 
inner circle represent the 13 original states; those 
in the outer ring symbolize arts, sciences, and 
industry. The flat, sculpture-style frieze around the 
Rotunda's rim depicts 400 years of American history 
and was started by Brumidi in 1877. While painting 
Penn's treaty with the Indians, the 74-year-old artist 
slipped on the 58-foot-high scaffold and almost fell 
off. Brumidi managed to hang on until help arrived, 
but he died a few months later from the shock of the 
incident. The work was continued by another Italian, 
Filippo Costaggini, but the frieze wasn't finished 
until American Allyn Cox added the final touches in 
1953. 

The Rotunda's eight immense oil paintings are of scenes 
from American history. The four scenes from the Revolu-
tionary War are by John Trumbull, who served alongside 
George Washington and painted the first president from 
life. Thirty people have lain in state or in honor in 
the Rotunda, including ten presidents, from Abraham 
Lincoln to Ronald Reagan. The most recently honored was 
Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks, who in 2005 became 
the first woman to lie in honor. 

South of the Rotunda is Statuary Hall, once the legis-
lative chamber of the House of Representatives. The 
room has an architectural quirk that maddened early 
legislators: a slight whisper uttered on one side of 
the hall can be heard on the other. (This parlor trick 
doesn't always work; sometimes the hall is just too 
noisy.) When the House moved out, Congress invited each 
state to send statues of two great deceased residents 
for placement in the former chamber. Because the weight 
of the accumulated statues threatened to make the floor 
cave in, some of the sculptures were dispersed to other 
spots in the Capitol. 

To the north, on the Senate side, is the chamber once 
used by the Supreme Court and, above it, the splendid 
Old Senate Chamber (closed until further notice), both
of which have been restored. In the Brumidi Corridor 
(also closed until further notice), on the ground floor 
of the Senate wing, frescoes and oil paintings of birds, 
plants, and American inventions adorn the walls and 
ceilings. Intricate, Brumidi-designed bronze stairways 
lead to the second floor. The Italian artist also 
memorialized several American heroes, painting them in-
side trompe l'oeil frames. Some frames were left blank. 
The most recent one to be filled, in 1987, honors the 
crew of the space shuttle Challenger. 


The Capitol Visitor Center, a $550-million subterranean 
education and information area beneath the east side of 
the building, is tentatively scheduled to open in mid-
2007. However, visitors should be advised that the foot-
ball stadium-size project has been plagued by delays and 
has already pushed forward its opening three times. When 
it does finally open, plans call for an expansive dining 
area, gift shops, two movie theaters, an interactive 
museum, and several new high-end facilities for members 
of Congress. Tours will run from this site Monday through 
Saturday from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Until then, free, timed-
entry tickets will continue to be distributed, one per 
person, on a first-come, first-served basis, at the 
Capitol Guide Service kiosk located along the curving 
sidewalk southwest of the Capitol (near the intersection 
of 1st Street, SW, and Independence Avenue). Tickets are 
distributed starting at 9 AM. Free gallery passes to watch 
the House or Senate in session can be obtained only from 
your senator's or representative's office; both chambers 
are closed to the public when Congress is not in session. 
Note that there's a strict limit on the baggage and 
possessions that can be brought into the building: there 
are no facilities for checking personal belongings. If 
you're planning a visit, call ahead to check the status 
of tours and access; security measures may change. 
www.aoc.gov. COST: Free. Metro: Capitol S or Union 
Station. 

Address: East end of Mall, Washington, DC, USA
Phone: 202/224-3121 Capitol switchboard; 202/225-6827 
guide service
 
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--WHERE TO SLEEP:

Adam's Inn 
Under $125, Woodley Park 
 
This cozy bed-and-breakfast spreads through three resi-
dential town houses near Adams-Morgan, the zoo, and 
Dupont Circle. The Victorian-style rooms are small but 
comfortable. Many share baths, but those that do also 
have a sink in the room. A communal kitchen and limited 
garage parking are available. Rooms don't come with 
phones or TVs, but there are pay phones, cable TV, and 
free Wi-Fi in the public areas. A two-night stay is 
required on weekends. www.adamsinn.com. 26 rooms, 15 
with bath. In-room: no phone, no TV. In-hotel: laundry 
facilities, parking (fee). AE, D, DC, MC, V. Metro: 
Woodley Park/Zoo. Continental breakfast. 

Address: 1744 Lanier Pl. NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Phone: 202/745-3600 or 800/578-6807
Fax: 202/319-7958
 

Capitol Hill Suites 
$125 to $295, Capitol Hill 
 
On a quiet residential street beside the Library of 
Congress, this all-suite hotel's proximity to the U.S. 
House of Representatives' office buildings means that 
it's often filled with visiting lobbyists when Congress 
is in session. Although the hotel is not much to look 
at from the outside, the three sizes of guest rooms, 
from Junior Suites (smallest) to Deluxe Suites (largest), 
are spacious and comfortable, and price differences 
between them are small. There's a fireplace in the sun-
filled lobby, and a restaurant a block away. 
www.capitolhillsuites.com. 152 suites. In-room: kitchen, 
dial-up. In-hotel: bar, laundry service, parking (fee). 
AE, D, DC, MC, V. Metro: Capitol South. 

Address: 200 C St. SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
Phone: 202/543-6000, 800/424-9165, or 888/627-7811
Fax: 202/547-2608
 

Doubletree Guest Suites 
$211 to $399, Foggy Bottom 
 
Among the row houses on this stretch of New Hampshire 
Avenue, you might not realize at first how close you 
are to the Kennedy Center and Georgetown. This all-
suites hotel has a tiny lobby, but its roomy one- and 
two-bedroom suites have full kitchens and living-din-
ing areas with desks, dining tables, and sofa beds. 
The rooftop pool provides a place to relax after 
summertime sightseeing. You receive chocolate-chip 
cookies upon arrival. www.doubletree.com. 105 suites. 
In-room: kitchen, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: room service, pool, 
laundry facilities, laundry service, parking (fee), 
some pets allowed. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Metro: Foggy 
Bottom/GWU. 

Address: 801 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 
20037, USA
Phone: 202/785-2000 or 800/222-8733
Fax: 202/785-9485

 
--WHERE TO DINE:

1789 
Contemporary, $18 to Over $35, Georgetown 
 
This dining room with Early American paintings and a fire-
place could easily be a room in the White House. But all 
the gentility of this 19th-century townhouse-restaurant is 
offset by the down-to-earth food on the menu, which changes 
daily. The soups, including the seafood stew, are flavorful. 
Rack of lamb and fillet of beef are specialties, and the 
seafood dishes are excellent. Service is fluid and atten-
tive. Bread pudding and crème brûlée are sweet finishes. 
Reservations essential. Jacket required. AE, D, DC, MC, V. 
No lunch. 

Address: 1226 36th St. NW, Washington, DC, USA
Phone: 202/965-1789


2941 
 
Contemporary, $26 to Over $35, Falls Church 
 
Soaring ceilings, a woodsy lakeside location, and a koi 
pond make this one of the most striking dining rooms in 
the area. Jonathan Krinn's playful cooking continually 
surprises with plates like roasted veal tenderloin and 
sweetbreads with eggplant puree, truffled free range 
chicken, a deconstructed "creamsicle" of orange sorbet 
and Tahitian vanilla ice cream, and little gifts from 
the kitchen like rainbow-hued housemade cotton candy. 
It's a family affair, too. Krinn's dad makes the 
artisanal breads that run from rosemary olive to cherry 
almond. You can order à la carte, go for the bargain 
pretheater menu (three courses for $45), or splurge on 
one of the tasting menus ranging from $75 to $110. 
Reservations essential. AE, D, DC, MC, V. No lunch Sat. 

Address: 2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church, VA, USA
Phone: 703/270-1500


Aatish on the Hill 
Indian, Under $10 to $17, Capitol Hill 
 
The Pakistani word for volcano, Aatish is an appropriate 
name for a restaurant specializing in tandoori cooking, 
in which meats, seafood, vegetables, and breads are 
prepared in the intense heat of a clay oven. What distin-
guishes this restaurant is the quality of its cooking: 
its samosas, appetizers made of flaky pastry wrapped 
around a spiced mixture of potatoes and peas, are models 
of the form. The tandoori chicken is moist and delicious. 
Lamb dishes are also well prepared, especially the lamb 
karahi, sautéed in a wok with ginger, garlic, tomatoes, 
vegetables, and spices. Reservations essential. AE, D, 
MC, V. No lunch Sun. Metro: Eastern Market. 

Address: 609 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC, USA
Phone: 202/544-0931
 

                      ********************
              
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