Coordinating my social diva’s calendar for this week has required maneuvers and a matrix the military would like to have; and in between, I even managed to carve out a few hours for myself.

The National Archives is one of my favorite places and warrants a visit, not just to see the Declaration of Independence. The curators have displayed our nation’s history in documents so masterfully that it makes an otherwise dry topic worth investigating. And once a year the Emancipation Proclamation is displayed, it being too fragile to display on a regular basis. I was fortunate to view the document this week. No photographs are permitted, naturally.

En route from Archives to American History, a walk through the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden always makes me smile (as do blue skies and 12°C temperatures). This is my favorite sculpture.

 America’s Attic, the National Museum of American History. A stern building in appearance.

Once through security, a pixel-ed Star Spangled Banner greets visitors. This “flag” hangs in the position where the real flag was once displayed. In the gallery behind is the real flag, secure under glass and preservation gases, that flew atop Fort McHenry in 1814. 

 America’s Attic holds treasures of all kinds, most of which I have seen dozens of times. There is one permanent exhibit, however, that I can never resist visiting: Julia Child’s kitchen from her home in Massachusetts. To me Julia did not just change the way America cooked, she, like Marjorie Merriweather Post, were the consummate Trailing Spouses–exploring and embracing whatever city they had landed in and making the most of it. I hope to visit Hillwood, the Post estate and museum while I am here, as well. We shall see.

Oh, to have that six-burner stove. I have an unenviable electric cooktop in my Easy-Bake kitchen in Vienna; the strangers living in the US house get to enjoy my dual-fuel cooktop with grill and downdraft. At least I hope they’re enjoying it.

Julia’s “gleaming batterie de cuisine.”  Sigh.

After leaving Julia’s kitchen I was compelled to visit Paul, a 115 year old Parisian patisserie that has made a leap across the pond, for Le Flan Norman, my favorite apple and almond tart. The tart almost tastes as good as it does in Paris.
Outside tables on a warm and sunny February afternoon.  
DC 1, Vienna 0. I like playing tourist.