Home / Travel / Washington DC September 2010 Travelogue Part 3: Union Station, Supreme Court, US Botanical Gardens, and Museum of the American Indian
11 October, 2010

Washington DC September 2010 Travelogue Part 3: Union Station, Supreme Court, US Botanical Gardens, and Museum of the American Indian

Posted in : Travel, Travel Guide for Washington, DC on by : The Gourmez

Day 3 in DC started with my arrival at Union Station, which is a grand old station with a mall and a gorgeous hall.

It wasn’t too shabby on the outside, either.

From there, I walked down 1st Street a few blocks to the Supreme Court on the Eastern end of the National Mall. It gets the award for the best columns of the trip among stiff competition.

Here’s how it would look if you needed to come to present a case, which I hope you never need to. Unless you’re a lawyer, then I hope you get the chance to!

Pictures aren’t allowed past this point, but I’d definitely recommend that you go in for the twenty minute talk on how the court’s set up and the inspirations for the lovely stone murals that surround it.

Across the way, of course, is the US Capitol.

It struck me how nice it is that the huge lawn around the building is open for anyone to stroll around, no questions asked. Yes, you must go through security to get inside, but you can get awfully close just by wandering by. Realizing this made me feel welcome and proud that our government is so accessible. We are of the people and for the people, even if we mess that up half the time.

The National Mall starts right past the Capitol lawn, and the US Botanical Garden was the first building I came to on its edge. Time for a new adventure! What’s a travelogue without plant pictures?

The only non-natural display is of metallic plants holding various herbs and spices to sniff.

There were some nice older women smelling coriander and wondering what it was. Being the foodie I am, I happily informed them that it was the seeds of cilantro . . . and then they asked what cilantro was used for. I managed not to laugh while telling them that I use it nearly every day, mainly in Mexican and Asian cuisine. Their curiosities were definitely peaked—I hope they give it a try sometime! As for the garden, there were plenty of fun plants to look at. Here’s a few of my faves:

And a frightening Mr. Potato Man from the potato exhibit.

I know you’re thanking me for that shot.

The next building down is the Museum of the American Indian. It is beautifully designed and is meant to resemble cliff dwellings, like the ones I vaguely remember visiting as a child in the Southwest many years ago.

My first priority was to try the Mitsitam Café, which means “Let’s eat!” in the language of the Delaware and Piscataway nations. I’ve heard good things about it online and in guidebooks. There were about five different stations offering modern takes on traditional foods from various regions of the Americas with great ingredients. I had the fry bread with honey and cinnamon and two small sides. The one toward the back is a pumpkin and corn salad and the dish in the front is a delicious ceviche.

Every bite of each was fantastic, but I still found it somewhat overpriced. It was $9 for that small dish of ceviche, folks, but it was very tasty regardless of the expense.

The museum is absolutely worth seeing. The top floor is divided into different tribes and some of their traditions and origin stories. Both relics and modern dress and crafts are on display, and I learned just how much I love bead work. I admit, my eyes were glazing over by the time I finished the top floor, so the exhibits on the effects of colonization, modern native life, and American Indian musicians didn’t grab me as much as they should have, but they were nicely done. I only have so much attention span for museums.

I really want this skirt. I swear I had an Indian doll growing up with the same one.

This is MOAI’s ceiling. You bet that skylight provides a lot of rainbows during midday hours.

This beaded flag was just awesome. Abbreviations of the states fill in for stars, and the stripes are made up of the names of different American Indian nations. Awesome.

These statues are part of a larger work called Always Becoming outside of the building. They are meant to wear down naturally with time.

Coming up on the next installment of the DC travelogue: the Sculpture Garden, National Archives, Ford Theater, Foggy Bottom, and dinner! I might even get to Embassy Row by the end of it, but I make no promises.

More photos at our photo website!

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