From the 2017 Local Arrangements Committee

Capitol Building
​Capitol Building
Cherry Blossoms and the Washington Monument
Cherry Blossoms and the
Washington Monument

National Gallery of the Arts

Lincoln Memorial

Smithsonian Castle

National Museum of African 
American History and Culture

Welcome to DC!

The 2017 Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) has been busy preparing for the 50th Anniversary Meeting next July in Washington, DC. The 2017 LAC is comprised of 22 members from 13 institutions and federal agencies located within and outside the greater DC area. The main task of the LAC is to recommend venues and activities for social events, help attendees find their way from and to the airports as well as get around the DC area, and answer any local questions. Washington, DC is readily accessible via Reagan National Airport and two international airports (Dulles and BWI). The city also is serviced by a user-friendly Metro Rail system. The meeting will be held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, only 2 blocks from the nearest Metro station. The numerous museums, monuments, and international restaurants that abound in the city are easily accessible via Metro Rail. The 50th Anniversary Meeting of the SSR in Washington, DC promises to be a special event. Washington is a small but very active city, and as the capital it has many great national monuments and cultural venues. The LAC will be posting updates to the SSR meeting website on a regular basis. 

Members of the LAC met with President Janice Bailey, Judy Jansen, Gwen Abramson, and Tiffany Leck during a site visit in August and toured the meeting venue. Facilities were explored for the Opening Reception, Fun Run/Walk, and Barbeque and Dance. The SSR has subsequently scheduled the Opening Reception for the evening of Thursday, 13 July at the elegant and historic Omni Shoreham Hotel across the street from the meeting’s anchor hotel, Marriott Wardman Park. It promises to be a very memorable event. Plans are being made for the Fun Run, which is tentatively scheduled for Sunday morning, 16 July, at the National Zoo, only 4 blocks north of the Marriott. The Barbeque and Dance will be held on Sunday evening in the Marriott, and the band for the dance has been identified and booked. The LAC has also been busy with fundraising activities in support of the 2017 Annual Meeting.

Getting to and around DC

By air travel, DC is most conveneintly accessible via Reagan National Airport, which is only a short 15–20 minute taxi ride ($15–20) from the Washington Marriot Wardman Park hotel. Reagan National Airport is also serviced by the Yellow- and Blue-line trains of the Metro Rail system. From the airport, take the Yellow-line train north (in the direction of Fort Totten or Greenbelt), and transfer to the Red-line train (on the upper platform) at the Gallery Place–Chinatown station, in the direction of Shady Grove or Grosvenor-Strathmore. Exit at the Woodley Park–Zoo/Adams Morgan station. The hotel is 2 short blocks north on the left of Connecticut Avenue.

The simplest way to get from BWI Airport to the Marriott Wardman Park hotel is to use the SuperShuttle, for which the roundtrip fare is $45.  Taxi fare from BWI directly to the Marriott Wardman Park hotel is ~$75–90 one way.  For the more frugal and adventurous, take the MARC train Penn Line from BWI to Union Station.  Trains operate every 20 minutes on weekdays during rush hour, and less often at other times (every 1 to 2 hours on weekends, so check the schedule if traveling on Saturday or Sunday).  Once at Union Station, head down to the Metro Rail on the lower level (purchase of Metro Rail fare card is required), take the Red Line in the direction of Shady Grove or Grosvenor-Strathmore, and exit at the Woodley Park Zoo/Adams Morgan station.  The hotel is 2 short blocks north on the left of Connecticut Ave.

Options for travel from Dulles Airport to the Marriott Wardman Park hotel include taxi (~$60–70 one way), shuttle (~$30 one way) and Metro Rail Silver Line Express bus ($5 one way) to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Rail station.  The Metro Rail Silver Line Express bus operates every 15–20 minutes.  Once at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Rail station (purchase of Metro Rail fare card is required), take the Silver Line in the direction of Largo Towne Center 13 stops to the Metro Center station, transfer on the upper level to the Red Line in the direction of Shady Grove or Grosvenor-Strathmore, and exit at the Woodley Park Zoo/Adams Morgan station.  The hotel is 2 short blocks north on the left of Connecticut Ave.

Things to Do in DC!

Welcome to the nation’s museum capital! DC offers a wide variety of museums, so you will surely find something that matches your interest. For nature and space enthusiasts, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and National Air and Space Museum are among the most visited museums in the nation. Both are kid-friendly with lots of hand-on exhibitions. For those interested in American history, the National Museum of American History is a great place to start. And don’t miss out on the opportunity to see Smithsonian’s latest addition, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (timed passes are required). Art lovers will enjoy the American Art Museum, as well as the Renwick Gallery, a hidden gem for modern art. Admission to ALL of these Smithsonian museums and all other federal museums is FREE! There are also private museums, such as the Newseum and International Spy Museum, which are extremely popular among visitors. Most of the museums are easily accessible by Metro Rail; be sure to check them out while you are in town!

For another guide of things to do and places to eat while traveling to Washington, DC, visit the city’s official tourism website, which is updated monthly.

Places to Eat Recommended by Your Local Colleagues

A favorite place for an excellent, inexpensive, and quick meal in the DC area is Teaism. The Asian-inspired menu has unique and delicious items for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. Vegetarian, low-fat, and organic options are available to please most palates, but also go for the amazing selection of teas that pair equally well with a meal or a sinfully good cookie in the middle of the afternoon.

Located in Woodley Park is Nando’s Peri-Peri, a popular international restaurant chain. Other DC restaurant favorites include Georgia Brown’s, serving southern cuisine at 950 15th St. NW, near McPherson Square; Capital City Brewing Company at 1100 New York Ave. NW, near Metro Center; and the Dubliner Restaurant at 4 F St. NW, near the historic Union Station. Jaleo in Bethesda and Penn Quarter are easily accessible by Metro. A DC original and favorite is Busboy and Poets, which takes a little more effort to reach, but several locations are accessible by Metro followed by a short walk.

Favorite museum cafes are the Mitsum Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian and the Pavilion Cafe at the Sculpture Garden, both easily accessible by Metro. The museum shop in the National Museum of the American Indian also has great gifts for those who want to take home something uniquely American.

For Italian cuisine, two local favorites are Filomena Ristorante at 1063 Wisconsin Ave. NW in the heart of Georgetown, and Ristorante La Perla at 2600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW on the eastern side of Georgetown near Foggy Bottom. Filomena’s almost always requires reservations, and for large groups, reservations are typically needed several days in advance; La Perla may be more amenable to walk-in service.

Craft beer and wine enthusiasts may wish to visit Maryland Wine Trails, Maryland Brew Trails, Virginia Wine Trails, Loudoun Wine Clusters, Virginia Beer Trails, or the Loudoun Ale Trail. Virginia is among the 5 leading states in the US for commercial wine production, with much of that production centered in Loudon County just west of Dulles Airport. As with much of the nation, the craft beer industry is exploding in both Maryland and Virginia.

Attractions near DC

For those planning to vacation before or after the meeting, there is an abundance of things to see and do within a few hours’ drive of the District.

If interested in a trip to the beach, Ocean City, MD, and Virginia Beach are family friendly, with great sand, small waves, and lifeguards near developed areas. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants in these areas. Both areas have other activities for children (carnival rides, mini-golf, wax museums) and adults (golfing, entertainment venues, craft shows, nightlife) when you decide to leave the beach. Before your visit, check their websites for special events like surfing competitions, runs from 5Ks to marathons, wine and beer tastings, and headliner concerts. Just a few minutes’ drive south of Ocean City are Chincoteague Island and Assateague Island National Seashore on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. In addition to secluded beaches, you can learn about wild ponies and have your children read the classic book “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry before or during your visit.

Four of the first five US presidents were from Virginia, and their historic residences are all within a few hours’ drive of Washington. Nearest is Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. A couple hours southwest of DC are Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate, and Ash Lawn-Highland, that of James Monroe, both located in Charlottesville; James Madison’s home, Montpelier, can be found in Montpelier Station.

Plan to spend at least 2 days in southeastern Virginia’s Historic Triangle. Colonial Williamsburg is a well-restored colonial town (the largest of its kind in the US), with reenactors enjoying daily life, demonstrating trades and crafts, debating the issues of their day, and chatting with visitors. The City of Williamsburg caters to tourists, with numerous hotel and dining options. Jamestown is both a museum and an active archeological dig site—constantly changing and great for kids. The town and harbor of Yorktown played a key role in US history. The Visitor Center provides a quick and informative introduction to the site. The walking tour of the battlefield and town is an easy, informative, and beautiful stroll.

Short hikes to difficult climbs are available along the historic Appalachian Trail, about an hour and a half west of DC. Trail hikes within the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park have good access and parking. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park (i.e., the C&O Canal) offers 185 miles of hiking, history and adventure. The town of Harpers Ferry, at the intersection of two major rivers in West Virginia, figured in several significant conflicts in US history. It is among the most interesting historical sites in the area. Plus, the scenery is dramatic and beautiful!

What do Stalacpipe Organ, Frozen Fountain, Diamond Cascade, Groom of the Gods, Fresh Bacon Slices, Fairyland Lake, Turkey Wing, and the Colossal Dome Room have in common? They are all features found in numerous caverns within 2–4 hours’ drive from Washington. Luray Caverns is the largest system of caverns east of the Mississippi and is developed sufficiently to be accessible for young children and folks with limited mobility. Others nearby include Shenandoah Caverns, Grand Caverns, and Endless Caverns.

Civil War buffs may know that over 60% of the Civil War battles were fought in the state of Virginia, and many others were fought near the nation’s capital. Among these historic sites and monuments are: Gettysburg National Battlefield in Gettysburg, PA; Manassas National Battlefield, site of the 1st and 2nd Battles of Bull Run in Manassas, VA; Antietam National Battlefield and the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, both in Sharpsburg, MD; and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Monocacy National Battlefield, both in Frederick, MD.

We look forward to welcoming you to our nation’s capital in July!

Pierre Comizzoli and Mark Mirando, 2017 LAC Co-Chairs​

Pierre Comizzoli, Ph.D.

Mark Mirando, Ph.D.