Aquarium Visit with Daniel

Friday held the biggest surprise of the trip. Daniel took Tony and me to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and we got tickets to go to the dolphin show.

Daniel volunteers at the aquarium, so made the trip even more interesting. He showed us the exhibits that he helps maintain and the area behind the exhibits where he spends more of his time. It was really cool to get a glimpse of how the aquarium functions. About halfway through browsing the exhibits in the aquarium, we headed for the dolphin show.

When we walked into the amphitheater, I glanced into the seats and saw Toni, one of my friends from Morrisville, sitting with her husband and two kids! She lives in Pennsylvania and we’ve talked on and off about meeting in D.C. if she ever goes with her kids, but neither of us had mentioned going to Baltimore. We chatted for a couple of minutes, but they were sitting in the splash zone and Tony was decidedly not interested in getting wet, so we didn’t sit with them.

We went to lunch right after the dolphin show, then continued our tour of the aquarium, starting with the jellyfish exhibit. They caught up with us again at the shark/coral reef exhibit and Toni and I chatted a little more. At the end of the exhibit, they went on to an “encounter” – where people get to see an animal out of it’s habitat. We left not too long after that.

Although I had a really good time exploring lighthouses, exploring parks, and visiting family, I was really glad to get home on Saturday (after a bit of lost key excitement, which turned out to be nothing).

There are more pictures from Friday (and my previous trip to Baltimore) here.


Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial

Thursday, we were in Silver Spring, Maryland. The story began much like the last time I was in DC: I wandered around for at least an hour looking for someplace to park. The most important difference, I think, is that it wasn’t an issue of paying for parking, but figuring out how to get to the parking area.

I was trying to get to the Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial. The directions are pretty much useless for someone who is not familiar with the area. My GPS didn’t know where I wanted to go, so I had to drive and try to navigate (that didn’t work very well). I ended up touring Northern Virginia/DC blocks again. That didn’t make me very happy.

Once I finally arrived, it was nice to leave this:

for this:

I walked around for a little while and saw this (drag image to see the whole panorama):

[Unfortunately, I’m not able to embed Dermandar panoramas into WordPress. You can find the panorama here.]

Not long after that, Tony wrote and said he was ready to head to Aunt Jane’s house. I suppose the advantage of not having a lot of time in any of the places I went was that I didn’t have time to get bored.

There are more pictures here.

Lexington Park Take Two

Tony had some meetings in Lexington Park (Wednesday) and Silver Spring (Thursday), Maryland. I like Lexington Park and Silver Spring is not too far from Aunt Jane and Uncle Larry’s (even though I said I didn’t like DC much). I wrote Aunt Jane and asked if they were going to be around and she invited us to visit with them once Tony was done with his work travel. Since everything worked out so well, I went with Tony.

Lexington Park is a really interesting place and it’s not too far from a number of lighthouses. The nearest one is in Solomons, which is about 30 minutes from the place Tony was working, so I dropped him off and took the car to the Calvert Marine Museum. Admission gets you into the museum and the lighthouse. Some days, they take out a boat (Wm. B. Tennison). I was really interested in doing that too, but the weather was pretty lousy and Tony was out of his meeting before they did their cruise.

The museum is set up so that it’s a bit like a self-guided tour, rather than wandering around (although once you are in the museum, you can go wherever you want). First, is the paleontology exhibit. There was a school group there, so I basically skipped that part. Eventually, there is an exhibit that displays fish that are native to the area, as well as some of the invaders. There is a “marsh walk” where signs describ the creatures living in the marsh. There is the history exhibit, which covers slavery, the war of 1812, and other more general history. Finally, there is an exhibit that talks about the history of wooden boat building.

The lighthouse is open for 30 minutes at a time periodically throughout the day. I meandered through the museum and the marsh (on the marsh walk) and still had a little bit of time before the lighthouse opened for the first tour. It’s a self-guided tour, although they have an employee at the bottom of the lighthouse to explain things if you have questions.

The Drum Point Lighthouse is a “screwpile” lighthouse, which means that it sits on stilts. It seems that in the past, you had to climb a ladder on the side of the light to get into the house, but now, there is a set of stairs up into the bottom. The first and second floors are living space, while the third floor is the actual light. There is some furniture in the living space to give a sense of how the lighthouse would have looked. The round lighthouse wasn’t quite as round on the inside – some of the walls were squared off to make the rooms more regular. The space was really interesting. I didn’t get any pictures in Lexington Park this trip (this is the time I most missed the camera on my phone, I think).

Shortly after I finished in the lighthouse, Tony wrote and asked if I’d be willing to take him lunch and not long after lunch, we left for Silver Spring, so I didn’t mind too much that the weather wasn’t the greatest.

Vintage Car Race

Last weekend, we went to Warrenton for Tony’s mom’s birthday (happy birthday!). We went up on Friday and came back Saturday. Sunday, my boss’s husband had a car race at Virginia International Raceway in Danville, VA (which is about three hours from our house).

Casey frequently goes to the race with Les and I take care of the dogs. For some reason, Casey ended up not going, so I told her I was interested in going, so they got us in. Les showed us around, which was really neat. He explained how vintage car racing works (you’re not allowed to do anything that couldn’t be done to the car when it was new – for example, carbon fiber panels or something), showed us some of the cars he’d be racing against, and pointed out some of the other cars whose drivers were friends of his.

I got a picture of Les’s car (as you can see, a 1973 MGB) and a couple of the early races before my phone’s camera decided it didn’t like me anymore (it doesn’t work at all even now…I think it’s totally dead). Unfortunately, Les’s race was later in the day. We got some pictures with the Canon, but Tony put all of those on his computer and we still haven’t gone through them. These are the only pictures I have of the races for right now (the one below is the F-2000s, I think).