Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Exploring Home: The George Washington Masonic Temple National Memorial

I've had a couple years of practice now in playing tourist in other people's homes. Sleeping on stranger's couches, sipping tea in other people's coffee spot, lazily walking someone else's route to work. But when I get home from my trip it's right back to the grind and I can easily grind myself into a rut when I'm not careful. 

And so sometimes I have to dust off my Exploring Home cap and spend a day poking around my own town. Luckily I'm not the only one who has never played tourist at home so my friend Anthony joined me on a particularly blown out, sultry day to a visit to the George Washington Masonic Temple in Alexandria. 

The monument can be seen from all over the area. As you fly into Reagan, dusting the Potomac with jetfuel and wanderlust you sail over it's pointed balcony. How many times I had hoped the metro in front of it I couldn't tell you, but I had never been inside. 

For a couple of dollars you can meet a docent in the main hall, under the imposing bronze statue of Washington himself, and get shuttled up and down on the gondolaeque elevator to see some of Washington's treasures and to poke into some of the displayed secrets of the masons. 

You'll see things like Washington's leather chair, where he would hold majesty over the masons in meeting, the clock that shows the exact time of his death, a strip of his hair and even the strangely cryptic apron he wore as a practicing mason. 

As a special treat we got to go into the Chapel of the Nights Templar, a very formal affair in black marble and heavy iron shields. 

If nothing else, the view from the top is wonderful on a sunny day. 

Thanks for exploring with me Anthony!

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