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Exploring DC: National Cathedral and Beauvoir Playground

2018 August 16
by Becky

Summer is almost over!

Well, it’s actually over for some of you…congratulations you made it.

We still have two weeks to go and we’re still summering strong, exploring on the days I don’t work, and even heading to the Outer Banks in North Carolina next week for the very first time…we’re so excited! And we’re feeling very ‘local’, as this is the trip most of our neighborhood makes each August. We didn’t make this trip the last time we lived here, so we made it a priority and booked our beach house like eight months ago to make sure we didn’t miss it again.

This past week we popped over to our most favorite playground in the shadow of the gorgeous Washington National Cathedral to ride the zip line and fly down the super tall slide. Beauvoir School is the lucky owner of this incredible place and we try to hit i up while they aren’t in session. I figured this is a timely post because they don’t start school till September, you have two more weeks to make it over! Otherwise you can go on the weekends or evenings throughout the year.

We ended up there on a gorgeous, cool day and had the place pretty much to ourselves. Both boys screamed “there’s no line!” when they noticed the zip line was deserted, and took it upon themselves to use it over and over and over. There’s a very clever bench at the beginning of the zip line which kids use to launch themselves down the track. Finn had the guts to try the super high metal slide this year—last year he made the climb but couldn’t pull the trigger at the top. I don’t blame him, it’s really up there. Ethan maneuvered through the tall wooden towers linked by sturdy rope bridges and they both ran up and down and around the little nooks and hidey-holes of this magical landscape. My pictures above don’t do it justice because they are just screen shots, I only took video on this day instead of pictures. But I promise, it’s the most amazing school playground you’ve ever seen. 

When we were finished playing, we headed over to check out the Washington National Cathedral instead of just gazing at it from afar. No surprise, it’s absolutely incredible inside. The staff was extremely friendly, helping point the boys toward some Lewis & Clark themed windows where they could search for the animals hidden in the stained glass. We walked through, admiring the glass, inspecting the intricately carved wood details, oogling the pipe organ, and just being totally awed by the massive space around us.

We were encouraged to head up to the seventh floor to take in the views, so we were happy to do so. Our favorite scene was the Cathedral’s roof details. We’d learned about the earthquake damage in 2011 (the one that took place just weeks after we moved here the first time!), so this spot offered a clear shot of what types of structures were damaged. We also learned words like ‘flying buttress’, which entertained the boys for a good while.

After wandering through the ‘crypt’ level, peeking into all the chapels, we decided the mosaics in the Resurrection Chapel were our favorite works of art, and the boys were done. Next time we visit I’m checking out the website first to prep, there are SO many interesting stories and features of this building, it’s overwhelming! It took us about 45 minutes to go through the Cathedral at a fairly quick pace. So glad we finally took the time to see it.

At this point we were really hungry and there was a request for burgers, so we headed to Duke’s Grocery in Dupont Circle. It’s been on my list and the lovely weather had me in the patio-lunching mood. It was a very wise decision and I’m glad the boys were up for it. Ethan plowed through Duke’s famous burger, pickled red onions and all (it was crazy-delicious), and I had the brisket sandwich, of which I could only eat half, even with Finn’s help. It was an excellent treat to top off our fantastic morning.

PS, did anyone notice my big kid’s new do? It was totally out of control and he jumped at the chance to get a trim. There was a shocking amount of hair on the floor when it was done but he’s so proud. We are now the proud owners of “pomade”, which he uses several times a day to style it up.

Anyway, I highly recommend filling an upcoming morning or afternoon at the National Cathedral and Beauvoir playground! Just another beautiful DC place we love to visit.

 

Exploring DC: Burning Man at the Renwick Gallery

2018 July 30
by Becky

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

We’re celebrating one year of living in Old Town TODAY. This was officially the fastest year of my life. Yet we survived, nay, we thrived. No question about it, this place feels like home. And we’ve certainly done our best to do everything!

We learned our lesson the last time we lived here: Don’t wait.

So we’ve done museums, ventured out in nature, eaten all the food, splashed in all the water, driven the drives, walked the walks. Something top on our “didn’t get to it last time” list was a trip to the Outer Banks and that’s happening in three short weeks! There’s been no waiting on anything.

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

So I’ll take this chance to talk about our most favorite recent exploration, which was the Burning Man exhibit at the Renwick Gallery. We’d been anxious to get here but had yet to make it until I heard about this crazy display of party culture and creativity. We entered knowing almost nothing about Burning Man and left with it on our life bucket list.

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

Burning Man artists and their art are featured throughout two floors of the gallery, so it’s room after room of gorgeous, over the top costumes, vehicles, jewelry, and structures that make up the ‘temporary city’ in Black Rock Dessert each year. The boys were pointing and exclaiming and I couldn’t stop reading all the descriptions out loud to them, it was all fascinating. Many of the pieces were accompanied by video screens, depicting how the work of art functioned, which was so fun to watch as most of the big stuff shot fire or was set on fire. Metal and recycled materials and fire seemed to be the running theme.

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

The boys especially enjoyed the spaces where they could ‘leave their mark’, like the chalk board room and enormous temple made of intricate laser cut wood that was reconstructed in the gallery’s Grand Salon. The boys took time to write messages on tiny pieces of wood before hiding them somewhere in the temple.

One of the most exciting spaces was the “shroom room” which I won’t ruin for you but will say it’s not to be missed. Finn was completely obsessed. No matter the viewer’s prior Burning Man related knowledge, one can’t leave this place without feeling the magnitude of this yearly event.

BurningMan at the Renwick Gallery

I’ve barely scratched the surface of this exhibit but not to worry, so you’ll just have to check it out for yourself. It’s free and a fantastic way to spend a summer morning. Apparently there will be new pieces coming in September to refresh the show that’s running through January, so we’ll be back! The three of us can’t stop talking about this visit.