Located at 401 F. Street, NW, the museum is located
in a most appropriate building. It was immediately recognized
as an outstanding architectural feat upon its completion in 1887.
Designed in 1881 by eccentric U.S. Army General Montgomery C.
Meigs, a civil engineer, the building features a Great Hall in
the Italian Renaissance style, which has been compared to the
Farnese Palace in Rome with a fountain and soaring Corinthian
columns. It was built as, of all things, a pension building!
Constructed on the grounds where the wounded
and dying soldiers were brought after the disastrous Battle of
Bull Run and where the former DC Jail and later asylum for the
insane stood, the building, not surprisingly, has been the site
of supernatural events over the years.
When you visit the Museum take a good look at
the columns-reportedly among the highest in the world. They have
a strange history. General Meigs wanted actual marble columns
of solid onyx columns but instead got stimulated onyx that looked
like the real thing. Watchmen soon begin to report that the painted
onyx shapes begin to resemble odd shapes such as a buffalo and
an Indian shortly after the death of Buffalo Bill Cody, who had
been an honored guest at the first Presidential Gala held there.
Then the shapes of skulls appeared and disappeared on the columns,
and later the profiles of George and Martha Washington came and
went also. Today the columns are painted over in gold paint and
the sighting has ceased.
Another odd thing was the rumor that General
Meigs has stashed away secret government papers and other artifacts
in the interior of some of the columns, but no one has ever attempted
to pinpoint them.
One of the upper stories had been used to quarter
horses at one time (they did strange things with horses back in
those days) and reports of a transparent ghostly horse and rider
galloping down the stairs caused great concern. Some people think
it is old General Meigs come back to watch over his building,
especially during times of renovation.
Today, as the Museum handout reads "the museum
is the only institution uniquely dedicated to the exploring the
what, who, and why of American building. It is a focal point for
all those who want to learn about American's architecture, urban
planning, construction, engineering and design. It's exhibitions,
publications, collections and events addressed to people of all
ages, may reveal the many connections between the way we build
and the way we live."
QUICK FACT: The Newseum, an interactive museum
dedicated to the Media and Journalism located in Arlington, Virginia
is scheduled to close on March 3rd, 2002 in order to concentrate
on its new move to 6th and Pa. Avenue, NW in a complex comprising
the museum, the Freedom Forum headquarters plus an international
conference center, restaurant, retail facilities and 100 housing
HOTEL OF THE
Hotel Monticello of Georgetown, 1075 Jefferson Street,
Each month we will focus on a hotel that has
caught our eye. Billed as the hotel with five-star amenities at
a four star price, the Hotel Monticello is located in Georgetown,
that upscale section of Washington located on the banks of the
Potomac river. Formerly a seaport, Georgetown is a Mecca for visitors
and locals alike who enjoy its European ambiance and historic
Two years ago the entire structure of the hotel
was gutted and the end result was a light, airy atmosphere with
one and two bedroom apartment style suites, six of which are suites
and nine are duplex penthouses.
Since the hotel is located close to both Georgetown
University and George Washington University the hotel is usually
booked around graduation time. Guests, both leisure and business
enjoy the amentias of an in-house massage, access to the Monarch
Hotel's Health Club, business center, baby-sitting and same day
laundry and dry cleaning services.
If you like the feel of being where all the action
is, then consider the Hotel Monticello. That combined with the
personalized service and intimate atmosphere makes it almost like
a home away from home and one of the more charming boutique hotels.
QUICK FACT: Avoid lost luggage by removing
all old flight tags. Expensive luggage catches the eyes of airport
thieves, so make sure your luggage isn't a clone for Elizabeth
Taylor's duds. Pick up your luggage as soon as possible and never
leave your bags unattended.
RESTAURANT REVIEW: Michel
Richard's Citronelle Latham Hotel. 3000 M. Street, NW.
Green Ribbon Award from Chef Henri.
Let's say that you've decided to stay at the
Hotel Monticello of Georgetown. It's Valentine's Day and you want
to splurge on the best by taking your sweetie to Michelle Richard's
Citronelle's restaurant just down the street. Make sure you've
reserved well in advance, of course. The menu changes frequently
under the culinary direction of one of the country's most distinguished
and imaginative French chefs, Michel Richard.
The luxurious décor includes a mood wall that
changes color and leaves the spectator fascinated. The French
cuisine is of the highest order, and reminds people why the French
have the reputation of food sensualists when, as the Washingtonian
magazine puts it, you taste "the picture-perfect pairing of duck
breast and boned leg-of-duck confit, which is almost overshadowed
by a garnish of slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, whose intense sweetness
rivals that of a perfectly vine-ripened tomato; and Squab Four
Ways, a tour de force revealing the various flavors a culinary
genius can coax out of a single bird."
The Citronelle is often booked up well in advance,
so it is always wise to make reservations the minute you decide
you want to eat there. It's a perfect Valentine's Day treat for
those who relish the best in French cuisine.
ANTEDOTE OF THE MONTH: Some interesting
historical markers in Virginia include Marker # C-2 in Arlington,
Virginia on Route 50 and Pershing Drive at Fort Myer. On September
9, 1908, near this site, Orville Wright took on board the first
passenger, Lt. Frank P. Lahm, for a flight lasting 9 minutes and
COMPANY NEWS: After you've walked your
tootsies off seeing the sights in Washington, DC ask us about
our Gilt-Edge "Golden Touch" massage services done in-room at
your hotel by a certified massage therapist who'll give you a
Swedish massage to take away the aches and fatigue of seeing all
those museums in one day. We've contracted with massage therapist
Ed Surma to offer his services to our clients. Price sheet available
QUICK FACT: When traveling abroad spread your
money, credit cards and ID over several pockets or purses or money
belts. In other words, don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Thanks for dropping by. If you would like to
be added or removed from the Gilt-Edge Travelers Notebook please
do so below by sending an email address.