Thursday, April 18, 2019

U.S. Botanic Garden: The National Garden



Date of Visit: April 18, 2019

We didn't plan to visit the U.S. Botanic Garden today, but when we were out for a walk to play Pokemon Go (trying to catch Shiny Buneary), we ended up here and decided to explore the outside part of the U.S. Botanic Garden, which is called The National Garden. Mik thinks we may have done it before, but I don't think we have and in the end he thinks we maybe were going to explore it once with his old wheelchair and we quickly turned back around because of the gravel paths.


The gravel paths aren't the best, but they aren't the worst either. After doing it today, it does sound familiar that we tried to do it before and gave up because the casters on his last chair were horrible and it would've been a pain to go through here. Basically, it's somewhat thick in parts, but it does have an interesting set up with metal circles that appears to maybe at least help keep it evenly thick, which I guess kind of helps versus the mostly thinly graveled paths with random thick spots and potholes we came across in the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden on a walk last week.


There are steps to get up to a seating area in the southwest corner of the garden. To the left there is a path, which is actually the best path in the garden.


Only problem with it is that it a little of a bump to get up on it, but otherwise it is a smooth path as the gravel is like cemented together in this area.



Mik also enjoyed the wide bridge near the amphitheatre area.


The small one in the middle of the garden he was not so much a fan of. It was possibly wide enough to roll across, but definitely not an adventure he wanted to attempt. Going on the stone path up to it was worthwhile, though, as we enjoyed watching the birds in the water there.


Overall we found The National Garden a nice area to go through. Not quite as much as we like the sculpture gardens (Hirshhorn and National Gallery of Art), but only because those have smoother paths, although at least the gravel isn't as thick as it can get in spots on the middle paths of the National Mall.

Destination Info:
United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20001

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument

Date of Visit: April 4, 2019


The entrance to the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument is at the back of the house from Second Street. There is a clear sign pointing up the stairs for entrance and the lift would be not be too hard to notice down a path to the left of the stairs except that the next door office building's accessible entrance sign happens to be very visible right past the stairs. Thus, we were initially confused on how to get up to the entrance.


The lift has a sign with a phone number you can call for access. We didn't even try it and just had Dad go upstairs and ask for the ranger to operate it. The ranger was really friendly and helpful. The only issue currently is that once you get up you have to go around to a side entrance, which is where they are currently doing some restoration work. The workers were really good about moving the ladder and getting out of the way, so we could get in (and later out), though. This entrance also even has an automatic button for opening.

We started our visit by watching the short introductory film about the National Women's Party, who used this house as their headquarters. We then proceeded to the main exhibit space on the first floor, which is accessed via another lift.


The first floor has three rooms of exhibits on the women's right to vote and equality movements. There is also a small gift shop. None of us went up to the second level, so not sure what we missed, but even just visiting the first floor was a worthwhile visit and the knowledgeable park rangers help interpret the site's significance very well.


One of favorite things was actually the stained glass in the entry.

Destination Info:
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument
144 Constitution Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Jaleo by Jose Andres

Date of Visit: March 14, 2019

As we knew there were a lot of restaurants around the Capital One Arena/Chinatown area, we decided to walk home from the National Building Street via 7th St. We ended up at Jaleo, which is a tapas restaurant (we were kind of aiming for tapas as Dad knew there was a Mexican tapas in this area that we were sort of heading to).


Mik really enjoyed the height of the table. It was just right for him and as long as he wasn't at the end spot there was no barrier to roll under the table to get close to the table.


We each did the lunch menu that allows you to pick one from each section of a select menu for just $20 person. Mik started with a potato dish that he really enjoyed.


Mik also enjoyed the pineapple sage soda.


His second selection was the chicken fritters. His third selection was the shrimp, which I apparently forgot to take a photo of. He also enjoyed them, but didn't finish as he was getting full and wanted to save room for desert.


For desert he chose sorbet, but he also ate most of the flan Dad had chosen (and again I forgot to take a photo).

Overall we really enjoyed eating at Jaleo. Also, at only $20 per person it was a good price for a meal in DC.

Destination Info:
Jaleo by Jose Andres
480 7th St NW
Washington DC 20074

National Building Museum: Hoops exhibit

Date of Visit: March 14, 2019

The National Building Museum is one of our favorite museums as there's regularly new temporary exhibits. For years we've been meaning to join and we finally did this time. Now we feel like we really can go just to see one exhibit like we only saw "Hoops" today and also maybe we won't keep missing exhibits as we'll feel like we need to go to get the value out of our membership. And even if we don't go again, it's still a museum worth supporting in our opinion.

The "Hoops" exhibit was a must see for us as Mik loves basketball. When I noticed it was just photos, I was a little disappointed. In the end, though, I found it had a good mix of scenes and captions and was quite interesting.

This exhibit is on display through January 5, 2020

Destination Info:
National Building Museum
401 F St NW
Washington, DC 20001

Accessibility Note:  The accessible entrance to the museum is G Street. The Judiciary Square Metro (Red) is the closest, but since we live near Green Line we find the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro (Yellow/Green/Red) more convenient as it is faster/easier to just walk/roll an extra block or so than transferring to Red Line for one stop. More details in our first review of the museum here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Freer Galley of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery


Date of Visit: February 5, 2019

We finally actually visited the Freer/Sackler after years of meaning to and ending up doings something else including at least once that we left home to go there and ended up at the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden instead. I had visited once before, but this was Mik's first visit (and certainly not likely last as it's mostly temporary exhibits and even those he slept through half of this time...).


We started our visit on the B1 level with the "Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran" exhibit. Mik's favorite item in this exhibit was the sword. Visiting this exhibit first turned out to be the backwards way to do the museum as the way over to the Freer is through the back of this exhibit. It wasn't a big deal to backtrack and go through again. It just would've been more efficient to go left from the elevators and go counter-clockwise through the exhibits.


We next went through the "Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia." Again, we clearly were doing the museum backwards as the way we entered was designed as the end and we exited where the signage was more introductory.


Next we went through "Resound: Ancient Bells of China." This was my favorite exhibit as it was interesting to learn about the history and evolution of bells in China. I was going to just go home after this exhibit because Mik kept falling asleep through the Buddhas and the Bells, but Mik still wanted to see the Peacock Room, so headed over to the Freer next.


To get to the Freer, there is an elevator behind the stairs at the end of the gallery to the right of the gift shop (currently "Feast Your Eyes"). That elevator takes you to G. You then go down a hallway to another elevator past the stairs on the left. That elevator goes up to to 1 where the Freer Gallery of Art is located. This elevator is also the way to get to the accessible exit for the museum ("S").


We walked through the America exhibit on the way to the Peacock Room, which is mostly some paintings.


The Peacock Room was the main point of our visit and was definitely work seeing. Usually it has ceramics on display, but currently it's empty. Thus, you can really see how the room itself is a work of art and not just a place where art is displayed.


Before leaving, we wandered through the Korea and some of the China rooms. At this point, Mik admitted he was done for the day and we backtracked to the elevator to exit. (I also think you have to backtrack and go around building the other way to see everything as it appears there are stairs on the north side hallway that make it impossible to just roll all the way around.)

Overall we really enjoyed the Freer and Sackler. If we hadn't been approached by the lady at the info desk and given a map along with an explanation on how to get around, I'm not sure we would've experienced more than just the Sackler as the way to the Freer is rather hidden (and it's only accessed through the Sackler). There's also a "hidden" way over to the National Museum of American Art on B1 (currently the Bells exhibit), but that one does have its own entrance from the Enid A. Haupt Garden and a more obvious connection on B3.

Destination Info:
Freer/Sackler
1050 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20560

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Walt Disney World - Disney's Wilderness Lodge: Storybook Dining at Artist Point


Date of Visit: January 8, 2019

The day before our annual family trip I was reading the latest DVC magazine and discovered that you could meet Grumpy as part of the character dining at Artist Point. I was surprised to find I actually could get a reservation for one of the days on our trip and we went back and forth on whether we would keep the reservation or not because it was also the day we had booked the character breakfast at Chef Mickey's, which was something we overall preferred to keep. In the end, we cancelled our dinner reservation in Disney Springs for later in the week and went for a splurge dining day. It particularly made sense to not push this back to try next year since this year we stayed at Boulder Ridge Villas and we have not enjoyed our experiences getting to dining where we're not staying.


When Mik got the menu, he thought he needed help opening it because it looks like it's through a loop, but it's actually just a magnet.


We really enjoyed that the appetizers were shared as that meant we got to try them all. For the appetizers, Mik's favorite was the Hunter's Pie.


The winter squash bisque was also fun in the little cast iron bowls.


For his entree, Mik enjoyed the Magic Mirror Slow-braised Veal Shank.


The desserts are also shared, which in the end we really appreciated because it meant we didn't choose something that sounded good and end up disappointed as we didn't really enjoy any of them.


The meal ending with The Hunter's Gift to the Queen (cracked maple popcorn and ganache hearts) was not a disappointment, though, and good highlight to end the meal.


Overall we really enjoyed this character dining experience. Of course, the best part was Mik meeting Grumpy. Kirsten, Nora, and I also enjoyed visiting the Evil Queen.


Destination Info:
Artist Point at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
901 Timberline Dr
Orlando, FL 32830

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