Rivers and Plantations

For the last day of Heather’s visit to DC, we decided to leave the museums and monuments behind (even if we’d tried, we wouldn’t have been able to see them all) and get out of the city for a while.  We started the day with a drive up the Potomac River to see the Great Falls.  From the placid looks of the river as it passes DC, you’d never suspect that these falls were only a few miles up-river.

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Note the bird
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After soaking in the rugged natural beauty of the falls (and watching a kayaker make his tenuous way up the stream), we went into the village of Potomac, Maryland, for a bite of lunch and a peak at the mansions where the “villagers” live (it’s one of wealthiest zip codes in the country).  From there we left the modern mansions to see a historic one:  George Washington’s estate, Mount Vernon, is south of DC on a much broader and calmer stretch of the Potomac River.  It was the least crowded I’ve ever seen it, and so we had the nearly undivided attention of the docents.  We asked a lot of questions and learned more than I had in previous trips.

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When a freak rain shower hit, we took refuge on the
veranda and watched it blow over the river

After visiting the plantation, we drove into Alexandria, Virginia (which is between Mount Vernon and DC, on the Virginia side of the river) and explored Old Town.  I didn’t get any pictures, so you’ll have to believe me that it’s one of the cutest little old red-brick colonial towns ever.  We spent part of the time on the main commercial streets, window shopping and munching on pastries that we got from a bakery.  The rest of the time we spent in the residential sidestreets peeping into walled gardens and front living rooms where the owners had conveniently left the curtains open.

The rest of the evening we spent in less touristy fashion:  We stopped at a Mens Wearhouse to look at the clothes I’m supposed to rent for Mark and Erin’s wedding (or, rather, to look for ideas that we can propose as alternates for what I’m supposed to rent for the wedding).  And then we went home, did some yoga, made a simple dinner, and then laughed our way through a few more episodes of New Girl until it was time to go to bed.

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