Two recent winter weekends have seen us on adventures downtown. Adventure #1 started after church at a new to us lunch place: 100 Montaditos. A Spanish chain, this restaurant serves up delicious tiny sandwiches (about three bites each). We sampled smoked salmon, meatballs, a fantastic BBQ pork, Brie, serrano ham and a Nutella sandwich on chocolate bread. If you’re in the DC area, check out one of their three locations (Bethesda, Arlington or Navy Yards). We then headed to The National Museum of Women in the Arts for their Picturing Mary exhibit, about images of Mary throughout history. Highly recommended and if you take advantage of their Community Day on the first Sunday of the month it’s also free.
Adventure #2 took us to the Library of Congress to see the Magna Carta. One of only four copies from 1215, this copy from is on loan (through Jan 19th) from the Lincoln Cathedral. It was pretty amazing to view an 800 year old document, especially one as historically significant as this one. We skipped most of the rest of the exhibit. It looked interesting but was very crowded and we preferred to revel in the beauty of the architecture itself.
The kids were a little underwhelmed by the Magna Carta. I can understand that. Even though John had studied it this year in co-op, it still is just kind of a piece of paper to them (and one that Ruth pointed out “looked kind of scribbly”). I think more interesting to them was this exhibit on Thomas Jefferson’s Library. Jefferson sold his personal library to Congress in 1815 after the Congressional Library was largely destroyed by the British in the War of 1812. Most of the Jefferson books were also lost in a fire about 40 years later. The exhibit attempts to recreate Jefferson’s personal library, including the way that the books were organized by Jefferson. If you believe that your bookshelves and what you read says a lot about who you are, you can imagine how fascinating it is to see this snapshot of Jefferson’s reading life. And it’s always good to end an adventure on a sweet note. This time literally, with beignets from Bayou Bakery. Yes, that is all powdered sugar on the table. And yes, we had to stop them from licking it clean.