A slow train to Florida via Washington, D.C.

My Christmas/New Year’s holiday in frigid Maine is over, and I just caught the train in Boston to begin a three day journey back to sunny South Florida.  Tonight, I arrive in Washington, DC, where I’ll spend the night at the Morrison-Clark Inn a few blocks from the White House.  It is one of the "Historic Hotels of America", and is the only DC inn listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You may have heard of it as the old "Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, and Airmen’s Club", its former name and function.  The Morrison-Clark was featured recently on that cable TV show about great hotels and inns of America.

In 1864, two of Washington, DC’s leading families built their homes just off fashionable Massachusetts Avenue, near Mount Vernon Square. Little did they know that almost 150 years later, these homes would form the heart of the historic Morrison-Clark Hotel and Restaurant. David L. Morrison was a developer who made his fortune selling flour and feed to the U. S. Government during the Civil War. Reuben B. Clark became wealthy through land investments, owning a grocery store, and serving as Washington, DC’s jail commissioner. The Women’s Army and Navy League bought the Morrison home in 1923 and converted it into an inexpensive place for America’s enlisted men to stay while in Washington, D.C.

First Ladies traditionally presided over the military club, hosting teas and fund-raisers to maintain its operations. Grace Coolidge headed the receiving line when the facility first opened in 1923, and Mamie Eisenhower and Jacqueline Kennedy were also active in the organization. In 1943, at the peak of World War II, the efforts of these women provided beds for more than 45,000 visitors and served nearly 85,000 meals. The property was known as the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, and Airmen’s Club after 1954. During its 57-year history, the facility grew to include the Clark home, underwent name changes to accommodate airmen, and in 1972, expanded its mission to serve female members of the armed forces.

In 1987, extensive renovations were completed, and the Morrison-Clark Hotel opened its doors. William Adair, who supervised the renovations of the White House, oversaw the Inn’s restoration — preserving the historic exterior and many of the interior details of the building, including four pier mirrors and Italian Carrara marble fireplaces.

I love historic inns, and am looking forward to spending a night there, and having breakfast in its renowned restaurant, where DC’s elite meet and greet.

Tomorrow morning, I’m going over to the US Capitol Building; and if I’m lucky, will get to see a big brouhaha on the Senate floor when the newly appointed Senator from Illinois tries to take his seat.  Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, has vowed to have the gentleman from Illinois physically evicted from the Senate Chamber if he tries to take his seat…That ought to be a good show.  Then I’m going over to the Natural History Museum on the Mall.  That should be interesting too, since it recently underwent a $1Billion+ renovation.
Then on Monday night, I board the train at majestic Union Station for a day-long journey to Fort Lauderdale. 

This will be my fourth time taking this trip by train.  I highly recommend it…a very relaxing and civilized way to travel and to see the country.


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