A tradition takes hold

We were young, newly married, and didn’t want to fall back on either family’s traditions.  When our children were little, we started to drive to Washington, DC for Thanksgiving to visit Beth’s brother.  We didn’t know it at the time, but it snuck up on us after a few years and a few trips to Washington that we had created our own family tradition – Thanksgivings in Washington, DC.

Most of those years we walked over to the grand National Gallery of Art for a cherished look at what was on display and further expanded the tradition.

An artist took advantage of a quiet moment to continue copying a Vincent Van Gogh self-portrait.

Most of the time, visitors swirled around her studying either the original or her copy of the painting.

The National Gallery of Art was established in 1937 by a joint resolution of Congress.  Substantial funding for the project, as well as artwork, were donated by the philanthropist, Andrew Mellon.

Despite its location by other Smithsonian museums, the National Gallery is a self-governing museum supported by both public and private funds.

While the art displayed is not exclusively American – some of their collections are well-known pieces from American history and art, like the works of George Catlin.  “The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas” was painted in 1844-45.

Was “Madame Camus” as depicted by Edgar Degas, more stylish than this observer?

In recent years, we often visit the popular U.S. Botanical Garden since it’s close-by and always inspiring.  It’s also toasty warm and a treat on a windy, cold day.

Most of our photos were of greenery, but some of the flowers were breathtaking.  What an unusual and sensual-looking flower!  It’s a hybrid orchid, Paphiopedilum Transvaal.

The large flower that draped across the rock was deceptive.  Somewhere behind that rock was a stem and a plant label, but it wasn’t visible to us.  Anyone know what it is?

When we’d been walking for many hours, we spied a free bench in an out-of-the-way place.  We gratefully sat down next to a tall vine with flowers so close that Beth just turned slightly and took a photo.

From a short distance, the flower looked rather simple.  It was only when we studied the wonderful detail in the deep center that we realized how lucky we were to have discovered a new plant to us: the chalice vine, Solandra grandiflora.

So, we give thanks as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with Beth’s brother and sister-in-law and know how fortunate we are to be with family and friends.  Visiting inspiring art and gardens has become a tradition that we never would have envisioned as young, newlyweds!


November 2019

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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11 Responses to A tradition takes hold

  1. The Stapelia gigantea flowers are so big, bloom so fast, and bloom during the day that they make great time lapse photography. I have a plant that had 27 blooms on it in 2018 and 21 this year, so I have been having fun with time lapse photography. Here’s my favorite one so far: https://youtu.be/cxmy6Jw8y1o

  2. Susan Snider says:

    Stapelia gigantea, called “starfish cactus” but it isn’t a cactus.
    We were in DC 2 weeks ago, enjoying the art, history & science museums and Botanical Gardens also. Went to the Archives for the first time, and I was blown away by the 1297 Magna Carta, which I hadn’t expected.

    • Thanks for the ID. I looked up the plant and found: “This is one of the largest flowers in the plant world. Flowers bloom in fall (flower buds are triggered by shortened daylight hours in fall). Flowers are pollinated by flies which reportedly find the carrion aroma irresistible.” (Source: missouribotanicalgarden.org)

      Washington is such a wonderful place to visit! Sorry we missed you.

  3. Merrill says:

    Happiest of Holiday Greetings to you two!

  4. icelandpenny says:

    Oh yes, something so magic, so rejunvenating, about a visit to an indoors botanical garden on a cold, raw day! Instant trip to the tropics, with no need for a ticket, line-ups or security…

  5. Marie says:

    Two of my favorite places to take visitors. A perfect way to celebrate!

  6. How lovely to have this special time to look forward to every year.

  7. iShorr says:

    Sorry we weren’t there this year to join you!

  8. Tom Wiener says:

    Happy to be host to so many good memories!

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