Can it really be post-Labor Day already? Weather-wise, it doesn’t seem like it — although we’ve been blessed with cooler temperatures in Maryland for most of the summer, more heat is on the way, and the lack of rain has turned every yard in town a crispy brown. Still, it won’t be long before the flowers start to fade and trees start to shed.
In our neck of the woods, though, Labor Day marks more than just the start of the turn toward autumn; it’s also the beginning of the drop in tourists and out-of-town visitors that make Washington, D.C. such a mess during the summer. Suddenly, public parking lots near the monuments are empty. The Smithsonians look like abandoned, though perfectly-preserved, warehouses, giving you lots of time to stroll and read every sign. The Metro is all but deserted, giving you room to spread out and lay your bags or the newspaper in the seat next to you.
Barb, Madi and I went into the District on Saturday evening — not yet Labor Day at that time, I know, but the crowds were already down — for a leisurely walk through the Ripley Gallery, where there’s a terrific exhibit on the works of Jim Henson, and a slow stroll through the Natural History Museum, where there was a nature photo exhibit Madi wanted to see. After dinner at the DC Hard Rock Cafe (where we sat below a large frame holding . . . well, somebody’s bandana, we were never sure whose…), we then walked the west end of National Mall to visit some of the sites as the sun was going down.
It was dusk as we stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with a slight haze as the heat of the day burned off. Looking east from the steps, here’s the view we had: