Keith Stokes' Washington DC Trip
November 2007

During a brake I asked the Bike the Sites guide (Josh) about the Einstein Memorial, and since we were a small group, there was time to stop there near the end of the tour. The childlike bronze figure of Einstein is sprawled and made a great spot for the family on the tour to pose for what I bet is their Christmas photo.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

Family posing on the Einstein Memorial in Washington DC.
Einstein Memorial across street form Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials

For lunch, I stopped at the food court in the Old Post Office Pavilion next door to Bike The Sites. The unplanned stop was great. I enjoyed a large gyro sandwich, good fries and a drink for only $5.50, while listening to another jazz combo.

Jazz band playing at the Old Post Office Pavilion food court
Old Post Office Pavilion food court

From there I went to the National Archive, one of the few major museums I didn't visit during my trips in the 1980s. There is a museum in the building, but the stand out attraction at the Archives is the three "Charters of Freedom" -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. They are in a small rotunda with a few other old documents.

The room is kept very dim, and the documents are behind glass in a special atmosphere. It is disappointing to see how badly they have faded. The writing on the Declaration of Independence is almost completely illegiable. Only the largest writing can be read.

Charters of Freedom Rotunda in the National Archives.

United States Constitution

There were still a couple of hours until the show at Kennedy Center, but after a lot of time on my feet in the past 24 hours, I decided to head for the Center and chill out before the show. I read a bit and enjoyed the views of the Potomac River. It would have been even better if there was somewhere I could sit and watch the water.

The show was Shear Madness, which has been performed in the Theatre Lab at Kennedy Center for about 8,500 performances. It is the second longest running play in the history of the American Theatre (Boston and Chicago productions of Shear Madness are the first and third.) I had a seat at a table to the side of the stage, only about 5 feet away and close enough that the performers spoke to us during the intermission.

Shear Madness is a comic whodunit with a small cast. Following the off stage murder (above a Washington hair salon), the house lights are brought us and the audience is encouraged to provide advice and assistance to the police. Midway though the second act, a vote is taken regarding who was guilty, and the balance of the show is played accordingly.

The crowd seemed to enjoy the show more than I. Some had seen it several times. I liked it better after the audience became involved - both for their interaction, and for improvisation. The Kennedy Center show was only $44 including fees.

Potomac River near Kennedy Center
Potomac River from the Kennedy Center River Terrace.

Before leaving the Washington University area, I stopped for supper at Kinkeads, a crowded, upscale three level bar and restaurant off Pennsylvania Avenue. There was a long wait for tables, but I found a space at the bar which was mostly filled with other people dining.

I had lobster & shrimp bisque (not much meet but still very good), fried Ipswich clams appetizer and French Fries. A very nice meal. Service was a bit slow, but the people watching was good and a pianist was playing light jazz. The bartender was having a tough time at the end. He gave me the wrong check. When I pointed it off, he threw it away, then proceeded to give me another copy of the same wrong check.

Kinkeads restaurant - Washington DC
Kinkeads restaurant and bar near Washington University

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