Thursday, September 21, 2006

Labor Day Vacation (Continued)

*note: I have tried and tried to break up this long post with fun pictures...but Blogger is stupid. If I wait to post this until I can post pictures, it may be 2008, so here it is with boring text-only. You can check out all the pics from the trip on my Flickr account.

Finally, two weeks later, I'm posting about the second half of our trip. Lack of posting in no way indicates the quality of the trip--we had such a blast! After we left New York, we drove down to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, to spend some time with friends of mine from college--Maria and Nate Lail. We hadn't seen them since their wedding last July--so it was wonderful to catch up! As an added bonus, we also got to see IWU chorale pal Josh Morton (who hasn't blogged for months, but may be making a comeback). Nate and Maria gave us a tour of the KOA Nate manages (you should go visit them--it's a beautiful area) and then took us into Washington, D.C., on Tuesday after Labor Day.

We spent a good part of the afternoon at the National Cathedral. I remembered it being one of my favorite things when my family visited DC in the early 1990s, and none of the others had ever been. I found out online about their "behind the scenes" tour, and we sprung for tickets--we were so glad we did! This older gentleman named Alan, who was quite a character, had a set of keys that got us into all the "off-limits" places--so we got to see all sorts of things that the general public doesn't get to see. We were dumbfounded at the conference rooms on upper stories--felt like you were in a hotel or something, not in a cathedral! We also got to walk around in the "attic" of sorts and venture out onto the gutter for up-close views of the tower and gargoyles. Then we walked across the balcony right under the big rose window--a great view of the inside of the cathedral--and got closer looks at the stained glass windows. Just beautiful.

By the time we finished there, the museums weren't open much longer, so we buzzed through the Air and Space museum quick, then headed to (where else?) Qdoba for dinner. Actually that was Nate and Maria's idea, not ours! They are friends after our own heart :) In between waaaay too many bites of burrito, we squeezed in great conversation about marriage and life.

After dinner we headed to the National Mall--I wanted to see the World War II memorial and it was also neat to see the other memorials at night. (Nate tried to set the timer on his camera to snap a photo of all four of us at the Tidal Basin but it didn't turn out so well.)

It was a long, full day of seeing my second-favorite city (I've only been to DC a couple of times, but I would love to explore it more--I just love cities) and spending QT with good friends. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Nate better (we were in chorale together, but he was more "Maria's boyfriend" than "my friend")--and Maria is one of my dearest friends, so time with her is always a blessing. A perfect way to break up the long drive back from New York. We left wishing the Lails didn't live so very far away!

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