Monday, November 9, 2015

eastern shore of Maryland

Tim and I went away this past weekend to Maryland.  More specifically, we went to St. Michaels, Easton, Cambridge, Vienna, and Salisbury.  It was nice to get away from city life as even Arlington can be a little too busy for me.  D.C. is definitely too busy for me outside the quiet of a museum.

As a kid, one of my aunts and her family lived in the country (or what we considered to be "the country").  I remember thinking how scary it would be to have a house surrounded by woods and only a few neighbors (chalk that up to my short-lived horror movie phase at age thirteen!), how inconvenient it would be for grocery stores and restaurants to be further away than a ten or fifteen minute drive.  Fast forward 30 years, and now my dream home would be something on a plot of land big enough to prevent me from having to see other houses, with loads of trees, a long driveway, and tons of privacy. 

Anyway, we spent the night in Salisbury after exploring some of the smaller towns.  On Sunday, we drove through quite a bit of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.  As expected, we saw plenty of birds.  Bald eagles, gulls, herons, mallards, Canada geese, some shorebirds too far away to identify, a pileated woodpecker, and plenty of turkey vultures.  We heard and saw others, but sans binoculars, we found it tough to identify them.  For those of you who like the birdies and may take a trip to Maryland, you should check out the refuge's bird list.

Here are a few photos of the scenic and avian splendor.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

D.C.'s green spaces

This is part of the Enid A. Haupt Garden that is situated behind the Smithsonian Castle, between the National Museum of African Art (phenomenal!) and the Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Galleries (both wonderful).  This has become a favorite place to rest and eat lunch between museum visits.

These were taken in the courtyard of the Freer Gallery of Art.  Turned out to be a soothing, rather private place to have a sit.

All of the photos below are from the United States Botanic Garden located near the National Museum of the American Indian (truly one of the best I've visited so far).  I hope to spend more time enjoying this urban oasis. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

exploring the nation's capital

I've been enjoying both Arlington, VA and Washington, D.C. this last week.  Tim and Penny live in Virginia.  The attractions of city life, art and culture are what I've sought in D.C. 

My kitten has been spending a lot of time on top of my suitcase, snoozing.  She has a fondness for luggage in general, but seeing as the piece I brought with me was cat hair free, I believe Miss Penny has made it her goal to change that.  Goodness, I missed her.  We're back to being buddies, thankfully.  She's apparently forgiven me my five month absence.

So far I've visited the National Museums of American History and Natural History, the National Gallery of Art and Sculpture Garden, and the National Zoo.  Good gravy, I've seen so much and that doesn't include the people watching.  So much diversity, so many languages being spoken on the street and in the metro, so many beautiful people. 

sculpted bird on facade of the National Archives building
Overall, it's been fun being here.  I still have a huge list of places I would like to spend time exploring.  Many more works of art to be seen.  Many more items of historic or cultural significance to learn about.  More gardens to utilize for resting and relaxing en route to the next important spot.  More interesting buildings to find and photograph.

These were some of my favorite paintings in the National Gallery: 

Young Girl Reading by by Jean-Honore Fragonard
Marcelle Lender dansant le boléro dans Chilpéric by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Roses by Vincent van Gogh

Four Dancers by Edgar Degas

Animals at the zoo:

part of a flamboyance or stand of flamingos

Kwame, a sub-adult male lowland gorilla

a sleepy-looking Sumatran tiger
a female African lion

a Ruppel's Griffon Vulture
the lone male Grévy's zebra that lives in the zoo

I believe this is Kamala, one of six Asian elephants at the zoo
giant panda Mei Xiang