Friday, June 25, 2010


On the short list of things we want to see near DC before heading back home was Fort McHenry in Baltimore. We had already seen the house where the Star Spangled Banner was made and the actual flag so it made sense to follow up with the location where the Star Spangled Banner was flying during the famous battle. So after a delicious lunch at Mama's on the Half Shell, we decided to let lunch digest before tromping around the fort in the extreme heat and humidity. There is a yarn shop (Lovelyarns) on the outskirts of Baltimore that is part of a fun street with lots of quirky shops and was not too far from where we were. Started that way and the traffic was terrible! Not at all what we expected. Finally, we saw lots of signs for Hon Fest and looked it up. Turns out the street where we were headed was closed for an annual street festival.
From the website
The term Hon is actually a friendly Baltimore greeting and comes from the word honey. Around here, however, the women who vie to become Baltimore’s Best Hon are a vision of the sixties-era. They are women with beehive hairdos, bright-blue eye shadow, spandex pants and anything with leopard print!
At HonFest you too can get your own beehive in our Glamour Lounge, listen to talented local musicians, and check out the work of local artists, while you stroll downy Avenue?

So, Ryan dropped me off near the yarn shop, and it happened to be right by the stage for the Miss Hon Fest beauty pageant. I couldn't resist taking pictures, because it was amazing! It was a huge event, and the crowds turned out even with the extreme heat. All the lemonade vendors were doing a brisk business. The owner of the yarn shop and the other local shops were dressed up in their 60s garb.

The crazy striped dress was the person doing the interviewing.

The contestants waiting to go on stage. Lots of pink flamingos!

This girl is a school administrator, she had a few students to cheer her on.

Just part of the crowd that was melting in the heat. I did manage to see the glamour tent where you could get your very own beehive hairdo and a few of the vendors before heading back to the car.

After all that excitement, Fort McHenry doesn't look quite as exciting. But it was still interesting and the ocean breeze was a welcome change.

After watching the brief movie, which ended with playing the Star Spangled Banner with the curtains opened so we could see the reproduction flag over the fort, we wandered through it. Everyone in the room was trying not to laugh when the curtains dramatically opened and the first thing we see was a guy jogging right in front of the window who you couldn't ignore. He was oblivious and after he passed, we could see the flag.

Standing on the path on the top of the earthworks, you had a great view of the ocean.

They had a large number of historical cannons.

Ryan in the holding cell.

The enlisted mens sleeping quarters.

From a little closer, you can see how huge the flag is.

A reenactment group did a demonstration of the daily drills. The group on the left were representing the soldiers and the group on the right the sailors.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

LIbrary of Congress and Capitol Building

Last week we had tickets to The Capitol Steps (, so we decided to make a day of the trip downtown and visit the Library of Congress and the Capitol building first.

Apparently our apartment is surrounded by some of the worst road construction in recent DC history (which is saying a lot)....for three weeks, it is not just the roads but the metro as well that is affected. So, we trekked to a different, closer metro station along with swarms of people, but finally made it to the Library of Congress. Hot and sticky day, so we didn't linger too long outside, but there are many interesting features on the building.

The main building is named after Thomas Jefferson and contains most of his original library.

A funky fountain out front....the water was really green!

Entrance to Library of Congress.

Every where you look was covered with amazing murals and decorations.

Ryan found one air conditioning vent and I found another! At the time, it was a very exciting find. We then collected a "passport" to use in the computers that were set up in each room. There were activities to explore the different parts of the library.

The part where visitors can go has multiple levels.

Looking across at the entrance to the viewing platform into the actual library. Once we finished up, we realized we could take the underground (air conditioned) tunnel to the Capitol visitor's center. After making our way to the entrance to the Capitol, we had to go through the additional security screening. However, knitting needles were banned, and I'd packed mine because we had some down time before the evening entertainment. So, we went back to the Library of Congress bag check and then back to the security screening.

The newish Visitor Center is underground as well and was very nice. Lots of space for people to wait for their ticket time. Ticket's for the tour were free, but you had to have one for crowd control. We started in an auditorium for a brief movie about the history of the building, then joined a tour guide for a short tour.

Moved on to the Rotunda with lots of other people. I managed to get a few pics without people's heads in them...

The Rotunda was built over time, so there are many different elements to it.

Then we moved to what is called the crypt. One of the older rooms in the Capitol and the geographic center of the city.

The Lincoln statue was very popular with visitors posing.

Finally had to leave the AC comfort and move on with our day. We returned to get my knitting, and then walked along the outside of the Capitol to get to the Botanical Gardens.

Never seen Lantana in this form before.

A pretty foxglove.

A cocoa tree. I think this is the first time I've seen one with pods growing.

One last flower picture. Overall a very fun day, glad we got to see these two amazing buildings.