DC Trip-day four, Maryland on our 50-states map

This was our last day in DC, and a travel day.  Our drive back to WV goes through Maryland, so we made a few stops along the way.

We drove to the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland, which was only about 30 minutes north of Washington, DC.  This museum was specifically for me.  They wanted no part of it, so they waited for me in the car.  Mom read her book, and Aunt Thelma worked on her knitting.  It was for the best.  It is really aggravating to constantly hear how gross everything is when you are thoroughly enchanted by it.  This is the building, and the words to the right of the door are really difficult to read.  Also, it was really cold in the museum, maybe colder than usual in museums.



It is mostly Civil War medical treasures, which is cool to look over.

The part that made me stop and sit to reflect was the floor of Trauma Bay II from Balad, Iraq.  I sat and stared at that piece of flooring for quite a while.


Once I was finished at the Health and Medicine museum we continued our road trip west, and took another stop in Frostburg, MD.

About a month ago, I went with the Swing Dancing Club to a show across the street from the hotel in the picture below.  The show was awesome, and swing dancing everywhere!  As we were leaving, a worker of the venue said for us to try to go to the basement of the hotel because they have a really cool “museum”.  Most of the artifacts were the owner’s personal items, and he passed away recently.  We walked across the street to go check it out, and were stopped by the front desk.  I guess midnight was after operating hours of the museum!  It didn’t even dawn on me that it would be closed, or that it was so late.  Swing dancing makes everything an awesome rose-colored reality.

I planned to make a trip just to see this basement, but since the DC road trip had us driving right past….I made it a stop!


The Failingers Hotel Gunter basement didn’t disappoint at all!  It had some amazing vintage items, but they need to preserve and have them in climate controlled rooms.  I would hate to see see all these beautiful things become messed up due to humidity.  My camera on my phone is terrible in low lighting (HTC One, otherwise great phone), so my pictures always have a red tint to them.  Sorry about that.  Only a few pictures came out of the museum.


I took this picture because I adore the tile floor!  wpid-imag4129.jpg

The kind woman at the front desk told us a little about the history of the hotel, and let us go throughout the hotel.  The entire hotel is beautiful.  I would call the Hotel and the museum collection…”turn of the century vintage, heavily peppered with 1980’s grandmother”.  Also, if you collect dolls, you would enjoy a few rooms they have displaying the owner’s collection.

I failed to get a picture of us at the hotel.  We had to stop to get my aunt a Diet Coke before we hit the interstate, so here we are in the drive through getting her “Large Diet Coke with extra ice”.  Yes, I have told her many times about the extra ice making it less drink, but it doesn’t do any good.


Another cool note about Frostburg, MD, the parking meters downtown are $0.25 for an hour!  I’m used to the same quarter only being good for 20 minutes.

DC trip- day three, Virginia in our 50-States Tour


Day three of the Austin Ladies exploring Washington, DC. Today, we visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. We took the trolley tour, of course. The cemetery is very beautiful. I have always felt calm in cemeteries, and never been one to be afraid of death. We arrived at the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb, and I was happy to see an Honor Flight attending the changing of the guard.


The Honor Flight members I met were from upstate New York, and they said 84 were on this flight. They were adorable, and all reminded me of my grandfather. The gentleman in the above picture (standing next to me taking the picture) was a Korean War veteran said he goes on the flight all the time, and he just bebop-ed around. Spunky little guy.


Arlington Cemetery was just beautiful. We didn’t get to see JFK’s grave, as the changing of the guard at the Unknown Soldier’s is only once an hour. We wouldn’t have made the trolley stop, so we decided to see the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb. My mom is a huge fan of President John F. Kennedy, even with his “charming and charismatic way with women”.

This will be on my list to visit again. Mom and Thelma didn’t want to walk much, so I saved my on-foot exploring for another day. Mom and Aunt Thelma really enjoy riding the trolleys while the tour guide gives facts over the speakers.

This trip will count for our visiting the state of Virginia for our 50-states tour.

DC trip- Day two of exploration

Day two of exploring Washington, DC included our tour of the White House- bright and early at 8:30.

Telling two Southern Magnolia Ladies that they cannot carry their handbags into the White House was pretty amusing.  My mom and aunt didn’t seem to fully understand what, “No bags of any kind, including pocketbooks” meant at first.

They kept asking,”Well, where am I supposed to put my kleenex?” and “What about my phone?”.  My answers were the same, give it to me.  I felt like the parent on a school field trip.  My pockets were completely full of kleenex, maps, phones, driver’s licenses, money, and our confirmation email.  Our tour was at 8:30 am, and I had enough sense to have us ride a cab to the White House.  The funny thing is that neither of them would hail a cab, and would wait for me to come and do it.  So these two are standing on the side of the street watching the cabs go by, while I finish locking the door.  I am really happy that the White House decided that we can now take pictures inside, just no flash.  We arrived at our tour line a little after 8:00 am, and security was pretty fast and efficient to get through.


The White House is as awesome as I thought it would be, but seeing Marine One in the lawn preparing to take off was even better!wpid-imag3959.jpg

By the time Marine One took off, we were standing outside, so I was able to get this shot.


Leaving the White House to get some breakfast.


I usually forget to pick up souvenirs on trips, but I did get a few at the White House.


The funniest thing happened while the ladies we’re resting on a park bench. As they sat down, my aunt said, “Look at those two old ladies collapsed on that bench.” I flipped my head around in the area I thought she was referring and started getting up, and asked “Where?” I was going to go and help them! My two ladies started laughing harder than usual at me. I didn’t realize they were talking about themselves! This is right after they calmed down from laughing at me. It was nice to have my mom laugh, she has never been one to laugh easily.


We also went on the Trolley Tour, and they loved it! When we returned to the rental home, they ended up staying in and knitting and crocheting while I went solo exploring for a bit.

DC trip- Day One, part three (of three)


This is the third part of my mom, aunt, and my first day touring in Washington, DC.

We are still on our DC Insiders Tour- more about that in part two.  After the Korean War Memorial, we headed to either the Jefferson Memorial or the WWII Memorial.  I can’t remember the order exactly.

The WWII Memorial is beautiful and just as symbolic as the other war memorials.  First thing I noticed was the feeling I had walking up to it.  Completely different than the Korean War Memorial.  It was still a feeling of heaviness, but also a celebratory feeling along with it.

The picture below is the three of us by the North Carolina part of the WWII memorial.  I am not sure what happened with the shadow across me in the photo.   Both of my grandfather’s served in WWII, one in the Marine Corps and the other in the Army.  I never met my mother’s father, as he died when she was in college, but he was a spectacular person.  My other grandfather was by far the loveliest person in my life.  Even at a young age, I knew his stories were important and would write down every word he said about WWII.


Frank  cropped

The Jefferson Memorial was just as poignant as all the others, and I feel it looks the best from a distance with the evening lights shining.  Below, Becca showing us a bit from her laminates before we go up to the memorial.


Since I am a lover of anything remotely dealing with the 1940’s, I was excited to see the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.  Below, Becca from DC Insiders showing me FDR’s blueprints for making his own wheelchair, which are on the back of the statue.


Even Fala, FDR’s beloved dog, is memorialized next to his owner.



By this time, it was the end of our tour.  Our driver headed back to our rental home to drop us off, and Becca gave us some goodies in parting.

I want to add that my mom became winded, and sat out on the FDR Memorial, and stayed in the SUV with our driver.  Mom said our driver was extremely nice and they had a great conversation while waiting for Becca, Aunt Thelma, and me.  Becca was also great with having two participants who had trouble with walking far distances and stairs.  She never once gave the impression that it was slowing us down, or a bother.

When I plan my next trip to DC, I am definitely going to book another tour with DC Insiders.  Note though- I booked this tour this past April for the October tour.  I consider our day one of touring Washington, DC to be a success.  Mom and Aunt Thelma were really happy with how the day ended.  They were also very impressed with Becca and our driver for the evening tour.