When there is a historic snow event in a city that can't deal with it, what do I do? Fly right straight into the middle of it.
I had been nervous that Snowpocalypse would keep me out of D.C., but non-refundable hotel rooms inspire a "might as well try" attitude. No flights had been in or out of D.C. for days before I was to go, and although my flight had not been cancelled, I was nervous it was only a matter of time before it would be cancelled. When the Delta ticket counter fellow was confirming that I was headed for D.C., my answer was, "I'm going to try!" As it turned out, my flight went just fine and I arrived in D.C. without a problem. If I had tried to leave the night before, or even on the earlier flight out of Bismarck, I surely would have been skunked.
We were able to take care of some touring we didn't have time for last fall. As before, the experience is totally overwhelming. There is just so much there. We got to view Theodore Roosevelt's African mammals collections at the Museum of Natural History, including a white rhinoceros. We also got to see the giant squid and much, much more. The Museum of History also had TR's riding chaps from Dakota (a whole riding outfit is on display at TRNP), and an interesting exhibit on Abraham Lincoln that includes molds of his face and hands, top hat, rifle, and more. We visited the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) and the obscure NPS site, the Netherlands Carillon. We got to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights at the National Archives. We revisited the Museum of the American Indian, where we saw a live performance by Peruvian scissor dancers, which, to me, seemed a dressed-up and traditional form of dance faux-competition a la "You Got Served." We also revisited the US Botanical Gardens.
In our first day of touring, we tried and failed to cruise through Arlington Cemetery. We didn't have any real business to attend to there, but we physically could not get in anyway. The gates were closed, and one of the entryways had collapsed from the weight of the snow and was impassable to boot. Amid our wandering, we ended up in the parking lot of the Pentagon and could see the side of the building hit in the 9/11 attacks.
We visited a couple of great restaurants including Lebanese Taverna and Founding Farmers. Lebanese Taverna is located near the Pentagon. We had a smattering of appetizers at Lebanese Taverna that included familiar things such as falafel and some more exotic flavors such as an extraordinarily potent cheese I couldn't pronounce nor eat. We ate at Founding Farmers, an all-organic restaurant that boasts it is proud to serve tap water. I had a salad that included the greatest deviled egg I've ever tasted while the city was gridlocked all night, crippled by narrowed roads following inadequate snow removal. I limited myself to one $6 beer, Scarlet Lady, which I enjoyed.
Once again the DC Metro proved to be the best thing about the trip. It's extremely convenient, especially if you get a hotel near a metro station and when you consider how difficult it is to navigate the serpentine, crowded roads even when conditions are ideal. You might just get the added fun of maybe encountering a homeless guy who leaves a wake of junk he's collected as he tries to scramble off the train and drops all his change.
We made it back out of D.C. just ahead of the next snow event, and were lucky to do so. After being in the big city, North Dakota seems that much quieter.