Over the Christmas break, I surprised my sister with a day trip to  Washington DC – the objective for the day was to explore the Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. A great Artisan family Thanksgiving was 1995 when we were able see the remarkable Vermeer exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. In November I saw  an article about this latest exhibit and plotted how we might be able to see it. I had a voucher for a free companion air ticket and the fares were “right” so I booked us on a “one day there & back” and told Rebecca to hold the Tuesday before Christmas for a fun day. (And definitely had her curiosity piqued since I wouldn’t give details.)

An early start to the day

On Tuesday morning, we were to the airport early and had no issues breezing through TSA Precheck to get to our gate. It was a beautiful sunrise as we departed and in no time we were descending into DC (with the Washington Monument in view).

Ready to enter the exhibit

A quick Uber ride brought us to the National Gallery of Art about 10 minutes before the museum opened. We were the 2nd and 3rd people in line for the exhibit – the weather was just fine for standing outside for a few minutes and watching the city scurry to work around us. A few minutes before 10:00AM, those in line for the exhibit were ushered in for a slight “early entry” – we quickly checked our tote bag with our jackets in coat check and followed the ropes up to the entrance of the exhibit. We enjoyed being close up with the paintings (but also observing proper museum viewing etiquette) and definitely learned some new information about Vermeer and the other painters in the exhibit. Rebecca is already notating where in her lesson plans this art/info will appear next year.

In the Vermeer exhibit

After we finished our time in the exhibit, we spent the rest of the day exploring one of our favorite museums. In summer 2016, Rebecca did a one week teacher residency workshop at the gallery with a focus on Renaissance art so she was completely in her element as we strolled through the Renaissance galleries and it was a treat to hear her explain “little known details” about some of the art on display.

Rebecca & the Renaissance

For lunch, we treated ourselves to the Vermeer-inspired menu in the Garden Cafe (instead of the food court, like we typically do when there). It was a delicious meal to “refuel” for exploring the rest of the gallery. After lunch we wandered through more of the galleries in the West building and saw some of our favorite works from previous visits and also discovered some new favorites.

Wandering the West Galleries

When we’d exhausted exploring the West building (& were a bit exhausted ourselves), we paused for some gelato and iced coffee along the concourse before heading to the East building to wander through the more modern artwork.

In the Concourse

In the East Galleries

After wandering the East galleries and as closing time approached and the day was getting dark, it was time to head back to the airport. It was a beautiful drive, even in “rush” hour traffic.

Back to the Airport

Time to Jet back to GA

A bit of shopping at the Smithsonian shop in the terminal, a bit of enjoying the carolers singing and a bit of splitting Qdoba chicken nachos for supper and then it was time to go through security and await our flight. As we prepared to wing our way back to Georgia, some of the iconic DC skyline sites were on full display.  All in all, it was a pretty special day with my sister. (And it was great fun to keep it a secret from her until just before the trip!)

A pretty great day

(In this new year…I’m starting a new “Travel Tuesday” focus to finally be sharing many travel adventures that have yet to be shared…)