I awoke like a pistol shot at 4 AM. Not wanting to awake Mary, I went downstairs for coffee. No coffee till 430 am, so I walked around the hotel. The Willard is a beautiful five-star hotel a block and a half from the White House. Ulysses S Grant used to sit in the lobby and smoke cigars and drink whiskey. Martin Luther King wrote his "I have a dream" speech here at the Willard. And Allen Pinkerton hid Abraham Lincoln at the Willard prior to his inauguration due to assassination plots. Originally built in 1816 it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
I paid $239 for the room through AMEX but with the free upgrade to a suite, $100 bar credit, and free breakfast, my real cost is going to be about $100. By far the cheapest hotel we stayed at during this entire trip and with the exception of Brenners in Baden-Baden the best hotel we stayed in during this entire trip.
September or early October is probably the best time to visit Washington DC. The heat of the summer has dissipated, there's a slight breeze and even at 4:30 AM the temperature is around 60 degrees. At this time of the morning the streets are empty. I can see the Capitol building from the front of the hotel at the end of the boulevard and the White House entry point at the other end of the boulevard.
As many of you know, my parents were buried at Arlington National Cemetery in April of this year. My two brothers and their wives accompanied Mary and I back for the ceremony. Due to airline security requirements, Mary and I carried my father's ashes in a plastic Mr. Peanut jar and my mother's ashes in a Hires diet root beer box back to DC for the internment. Mary and I plan on going back this morning to see the headstone which was not installed when we left in April.
We made it to Arlington on the metro and walked to the graves. Very nice. I got some pictures of the headstone and sent them to Dan and Doric. Then back to the hotel to return the umbrellas.
Off to the National Cathedral by metro and city bus. A beautiful gothic Episcopal Cathedral. Although they started it's construction in 1907 it wasn't finished until 1997. We lit candles for family and friends for the last time on our journey.
Then by bus to Georgetown where we had lunch at a small bistro. Georgetown is changed a lot. In the old days, it was a collection of small restaurants and shops. Today it's a tourist attraction full of high-end shops.
Time was running out so we decided to stay close to the hotel, we traveled back towards the hotel to Ford's Theater, the scene of Lincoln's assassination. Lincoln actually died across the street from Ford's Theater in a private residence. The National Park Service has turned both Ford's Theater and the private residence into a museum. The admission is free and it's well worth the trip.
We return to the hotel to get packed for the airport 2:30. When we arrived at the hotel, the rear of the hotel was full of black SUVs with tinted windows, men in Black, and a bulletproof limo parked at the curb. The rear lobby was also full of men in black with little white ear plugs stuffed in their in years. We went for a drink in asked our waiter who is in the hotel the required this much protection. He politely told us he could not tell us. We had the Bellman pick up our bags and went to the front of the hotel to catch a cab to Ronald Reagan airport just in time to see the limo speed off accompanied by five or six black SUVs, a large command-and-control van, and 5 to 6 motorcycles. It's no wonder our country is broke. All of this expense just so some official can have lunch away from the office.
Our flight back home was relatively routine. I wore headphones all the way home listening to music as the lady behind us wouldn't stop verbally admiring the fireman she was sitting next to.
Mary's brother picked us up at the airport and brought us home. Our cat seemed genuinely happy to see us.