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10/09/2013: Day 7: Richmond, D.C. and Baltimore
Another day of pictures. We visited another state capitol, had coffee, and danced.
As we departed South Hill, Virginia on a drizzly day we headed up I-85 toward Richmond. I spotted this square column by the road, and flashed back on that picture on Day 3 (http://danklarmann.com/travels/travel.cgi?PicNum=201310051611) at the Country Western wedding in North Carolina, when I wondered if this area really was Marlboro country. It occurs to me that Virginia was built on tobacco.
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The Capitol:
So we get into Richmond and drive around capitol hill a couple of times looking for a place to park. We finally find a perfectly legal spot just a half block from the entrance, across from St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
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As we walk up the drive toward the security kiosk, I notice not only the statues of the Virginia born presidents topped by George Washington, but also this annoying gnat of a flying ad. With fiber finally coming in, the satellite companies must be sweating.
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It turned out that the entrance was not near the security kiosk, nor on any of the four sides of the Capitol building itself. The former grand entrance was swathed in protective sheets while they are doing repairs from the recent earthquake. There were signs at the apparent (yet sealed) entrances that the entrance was on Bank Street. This was not much help to us, as out of towners equidistant from all the surrounding streets. Would an arrow have killed them?Anyway, here is Karen heading toward the new, improved, underground entrance off of Bank Street. Facing the U.S. Court of Appeals. That would also have been a good clue.
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After going through security, we decided to wait to join a tour. But we soon decided that self guiding was more our speed. I am interested in the architecture, and Karen more in the historical arcs. The guide was all about the personalities. Anyway, here is a statue of the architect, Thos. Jefferson. This underground atrium (skylit from the seal inset at the foot of the original grand entrance, I'll show you later) has the cafeteria behind me, and above Karen quoth T.J, "The most sacred of the duties of a government is to do equal and impartial justice to all." Not sure how well this attitude worked for his slaves.
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The grand portico, from inside the sheets.
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The door to the chambers have been replaced, as have the actual workings of the door knobs, But they saved the ends of the knobs and fused them back into place.
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Under the dome stands George himself. This particular statue claims the distinction of being the only one for which George W. himself actually posed.
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Karen is in the house. The statue is Robert E. Lee, commemorating where he stood to accept his commission into the Confederate army.
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You can read the sign about the Capitol Disaster (http://www.vacapitol.org/disaster.htm). I find it poetic that the plaque is situated beneath Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America.
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I love a good dome. Every state capitol should have one. Some of them don't.Note the railing. The next picture is looking down from there.
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Looking down at George in the dizzying pattern of tile. Speaking of dizzying...
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Of the two stairways, I find this gave the best vertigo. Wave to Karen.
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I love back stage, hidden details, and hard hat tours. They gave me this little detail of original carpentry behind glass. Hard to photograph, but of architectural interest.
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On our way in, Karen noted the Pumpkin Ginger soup on the cafeteria menu. So before heading out into the drizzle, we snagged a bowl and ate it on the landing up above the Jefferson Statue you saw earlier. Note the ring of light. That is the skylight centered over the statue.
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Here is the architects model for the new hidden and much more secure entrance to the Capitol.
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When will I stop talking about the skylit atrium? Shortly. Here is where the light goes in, at the foot of the steps with its vague message about finding Bank Street.
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Really, the last shot of the skylight, featuring the bare breasted crest of the State of Virginia.
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Coffee:
We left the Capitol just after 1:00. By a quarter past two we were ready for some coffee. So I pulled out the sometimes handy (often frustrating) Coffee Shop Finder app and found Blackstone Coffee Company in Fredricksburg. We spent a frustrating quarter hour in an adjacent parking lot trying to find the place, but eventually got our bearings, and our fix. Karen also had a sandwich.It is actually on US-1, the Jefferson Davis Highway. Does anyone else see the irony?
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D.C.
By a quarter to 4 we were in the thick of D.C traffic. The government is closed. The museums are closed. The whole reason for being of this district is closed. Where are all these people going?Anyway, here we see the (under repair from the earthquake) Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. Both closed.
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Here we see the Capitol. The place where party politics trumped "for the people" and closed the gummint down tight.
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Dancing in Baltimore:
We found our way to my old friend's house in Greenbelt. Settled in. Went out for Indian food, and then took our hosts to the dance up in Baltimore, only an hour away. Here is the welcoming Lovely Lane church. Not Frankenstein's Castle.
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They had a good crowd for a rainy Wednesday. I later found out that it is illegal in Maryland to take people's pictures without explicit consent. Well, compounding the crime, here they are. I had a good time dancing with them. They quickly accepted us as good dancers and made me feel welcome.
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I took many pictures of architectural details of this place, but this dark back room (from the point of view of the dance hall) was really cool.
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Last shot of the day: I find out that I am in yet another Mother Church. I'd toured St. Peter's in Rome, and toured the accessible parts of Salt Lake City (and several other sites venerated by Mormons). Now this friendly atheist has congregated (to dance) where Methodism was born.
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Next: Day 8: A short drive from Maryland to Virginia

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