How to Have Fun on a Low Budget
This past spring my wife Ninon signed us up to visit the US National Arboretum in Washington DC. She had heard about the Full Moon Walk. This is a five-mile hike through the "moonlit gardens, meadows and woods" at the peak of the full moon. We arrived at dusk and began the walk accompanied by a guide and about 50 people who had signed up. I had been a little reluctant at first; I mean who has the National Arboretum on their hot list of fun things to do? But as soon as we started I quickly warmed to the outing and began to be amazed at this unique and special experience. As darkness began to fall our sense of sight diminished. In its place our senses of sound and smell kicked into high gear. The sound of nighthawks flying through the meadows and dive bombing insects was really interesting. We immediately began to notice the smell of many different species of trees and plants. These smells only occur in the evening after the sun has set. It's at that point that their perfume is released and the air is filled with wonderful scents. We were introduced to magnolias, dogwoods, the Asian collection, and official state trees from every state. You would think that it would be difficult to see in the dark, but low light levels revealed many sights that we would not have noticed in the bright glare of the daytime sun. Kousa dogwoods with their white blossoms seemed to glow in the dark. We also visited trees with history – one giant willow oak measures 100 feet wide and is estimated to be 200-250 years old. Staff members have found civil war buckles that suggest troops may have passed by and rested at its base. Arrow heads found in the area indicate that an Anacostia Indian tribe had camped and farmed the area at some point. The sense of history and beauty of this forested area was a pleasant and deeply touching experience. In this 485 acre park I found what seemed to me to be a completely different world than the one I live in every day. We had witnessed something very special while viewing only a small part of the arboretum during a short window of time. The beauty and grandeur of nature were on full display in one of the busiest metropolitan areas in this country. It was truly an evening to remember.
There are other sites in our area such as the National Zoo, the Smithsonian Museums and Fort McHenry at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore that are here to be enjoyed. People travel from all over the world to visit these sites and we often forget that they are right here for us to see any time. And the best thing is, most are free – no charge. So next time you are planning a special outing don't forget these unique sites that are located right here in our own back yard.
Thanks for helping me better serve our Real Estate Community.
(Photo Courtesy of the National Arboretum)