Washington DC – The Art of Travel

Ingham County Circuit Judge Bill Collette was sitting in the locker room at the Michigan Athletic Club, talking travel after some Sunday morning exercise. “I’ve always focused so much on work that I haven’t made the time to travel,” admitted Collette, who’s been presiding on his current bench for 16 years – many of those as Chief Judge – and will seek reelection later this year. “Oh, we took the kids to Disney World and that sort of thing, but Rome, Paris, Amsterdam? They’re still ’dream destinations.’”Collette speculated whether dreams are sometimes better than reality.

St. Gregory Hotel's lobby welcomes visitors to Washington D.C. with a memorable work of art.

St. Gregory Hotel’s lobby welcomes visitors to Washington D.C. with a memorable work of art.

“You know how once you see a Corvette you want one and you picture yourself in it? So you work all your life and save to buy one. But once you get behind the wheel, you realize the car hits bumps in the roads, and burns gas, and requires maintenance and tires just like any other car,” Collette explained. Similarly, he worries his romantic conception of glamorous cities could be diminished by actually visiting them – a very interesting concept.

As a lover of art, he will not be disappointed by the Louvre in Paris, or the Tate Modern in London, or the Vatican Art Collection, or even the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. “Whenever I have business in Washington D.C., I try to spend a little time, if I can, at the National Gallery of Art,” Collette said.  

The National Gallery, on Constitution Avenue along the Mall, was dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day, 1941. It is one of many museums along the expansive reflecting pond between the Capitol dome and the Lincoln Memorial, and countless in D.C., offering complimentary admission. Walking in Washington, with its’ recognizable, iconic monuments and buildings, including the White House, is like strolling in an open-air museum, especially when the trees and flowers are in bloom.

“You can walk almost everywhere here. Though not very large, D.C. has so much to offer that if you see it by foot you can get a lot more in,” says Jay Haddock, president of the very centrally-located St. Gregory Luxury Hotel and Suites and Beacon Hotel and Corporate Quarters, which are favored by celebrities and international diplomats. The St. Gregory presents its’ own contribution to the art world: a life-sized state of Marilyn Monroe in its’ lobby. “It was created by one of America’s foremost sculptors. Marilyn, in the iconic pose with her dress blowing up, is something more memorable than the usual ‘round table with a pot of flowers’” says Hector Torres, the hotel’s vice-president.  “Everyone takes a little glimpse.”

For more information, visit www.CapitalHotelsWDC.com   

Michigan-based travel writer Michael Patrick Shiels may be contacted at InviteYourself@aol.com or via www.TravelTattler.com His morning show is heard weekday mornings in Lansing on 92.1 FM

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