Thursday, December 15, 2011

Washington DC Vacation Recap Day 3

After eating our complimentary breakfast and catching a ride to the Metro, we were headed back into DC on our third day of vacation.

It was Saturday and our first destination was the National Mall. It was the first day of the National Book Festival. I had been wanting to go to it ever since The Pioneer Woman wrote about it last year. I had no idea such a thing even existed until she wrote about her experience presenting at it. I love books and I love free things, so this sounded like it was right up my alley.

We got off the Metro at the Smithsonian stop and once out of the station, we were in the middle of the mall. Immediately I was awestruck by the sea of white tents in front of me. This was big!

We started to wander, trying to get our bearings. A friendly volunteer handed us a booklet that had a map, all the schedules, and information about all the authors.  Unfortunately, there weren't really any authors I was dying to meet or listen to, so we did end up skipping the talks and signings.  However, we did head for the Pavilion of States. Ree had talked about this last year and it sounded interesting.

On our way to that tent, I stopped to peek into the Children's tent to see who was talking. It turns out, Julianne Moore was being introduced. I confess I didn't even know she had written a children's book.

Bad phone picture, but I swear that's her!
We also stopped at a tent when we noticed everybody in the crowd had a big blue bag. Turns out, they were being handed out for free courtesy of C-Span! M and I both got one and they were handing out bottles of water courtesy of Target.

Anyway, we moved along to the tent housing the Pavilion of States. Every state and territory had a table in the tent. I picked up a US map and every table stamped their state. It was pretty fun to go around and collect all the stamps. Plus, most every table had free things to grab. Mostly just bookmarks, stickers, pencils, etc. Luckily we had that big bag to stuff things in!

After the tent, we headed to our other destination for the day, The National Museum of Natural History. This museum is a lot like the Field Museum in Chicago, so I didn't think we'd spend much time here, but we actually did. They have lots of dinosaurs and fossils, which M loves and the Field doesn't have

I also liked the dead animal displays a lot better than the Field's. The animals were posed in lifelike poses and with animals they lived with in the wild.

I love this guy, he looks insane!
We were also very interested in the gems and minerals displays.

This is the tube used to rescue the miners in Chile. They had a great exhibit about that.

Here's the Hope Diamond. It's blue, but it's hard to get a good picture of it. It rotates and everyone crowds around its display case.

When we were done at the museum, we walked towards the Washington Monument and took some pictures. The Monument was still closed since it was damaged in the earthquake so couldn't go up in it.

The Smithsonian Castle across from the museum. Here you can see the tents from the Book Festival and the crowds. Of course, I didn't take pictures of the actual Festival.

Looking towards the Capitol. Again, you can see the crowds and tents here.

Afterward, we were starving, so we headed to one of my favorite southern restaurants, Fuddruckers! I was craving a burger and it hit the spot. After that, we headed to a shopping center that had a HomeGoods. You know it's my favorite store and since we don't have any at home, we must go to them when we travel.

And I found something I really wanted.

What's that I spy? Is that...

It is! A Vera Bradley Yellow Bird lamp! My husband even said, "Is that Yellow Bird?" I wanted to hug it and take it home with me even though it's the wrong colors for our living room.The birds would have been perfect and I would have been fine with black and yellow instead of black and green.

Sadly, the price tag was not huggable. $80 is about $40 more than I'm willing to spend on a lamp, even a Vera Bradley lamp. Although the original price was $250 so $80 was a good bargain, but I just couldn't justify it now matter how much I wanted it. So, I left without the lamp.


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