Thursday, September 10, 2015

Andrei Arrives: Spy Camp, Baseball, Movies, and Museums Galore

Andrei Charles Vernon, our 10-year old honorary grandson, spent the first week of his 2015 summer adventure in the USA with his Uncle Adrian Horotan, Aunt Anastasia, and Cousin Alfred in New Haven, CT.

Louie and I met all of them in Philadelphia on Saturday, August 1, 2015. After a terrific beer hall lunch at Frankford Hall, we drove back to DC for rest & recreation before ACV started camp at the International Spy Museum in downtown DC.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Frankford Hall - Louie, Alfred, Anastasia, Adrian, Andrei

Louie and Andrei in the new playground near our house

The new playground has a wonderful soft surface to protect kids when they fall.
ACV and LIM (Louie) also shot hoops on the basketball court next door.

Sunday, August 2

Sunday we had a restful day with delicious Louie meals, and we saw "The Lego Brickumentary" film at the nearby Angelika Pop-up Theater.

Monday, August 3 - Friday, August 7

International Spy Museum web site
Andrei started a week of camp at the International Spy Museum. Here's the schedule:


Infiltration and Mission Briefing
Assume your cover and get ready for action!
Build your own Intel. File 
Basic Training at the Spy Camp “Farm”
Mission Briefing: Operation Beat the Heat
Run Mission #1

Let’s Go Operational!
We will be outside most of this day – sunscreen, hats, comfy shoes are imperative – also you might need a backpack.  Lunches should be fully disposable.   If it’s raining we will switch this day with Wednesday’s activities.
Mission to run at the Tidal Basin and on National Mall
Bag lunch at the tidal basin
Surveillance mission to run at the Smithsonian
License to Leak game on the National Mall

Spies and Lies:  TECH OPS day
Discover the Art of Ninja
Interrogate a hostile agent
Travel to the foreign country of Khandar in Operation Spy

Get Your Gadgets – FBI RECON.
Put in Team Mailbox:  Northwest Current

Meet a real spy and learn the tricks of the trade
Make your own signaling device and personal alarm
Visit the FBI
Test your spy skills in Spy in the City

 Operation Beat the Heat – Mission Accomplished?
Meet forensic scientists from the FBI to assist in analyzing mission materials
Run final mission
Mission Debriefing 
2:30-3pm NOW YOU’LL KNOW  

Party for all agents, operatives, and handlers (that’s code for parents are invited too!)

ACV and his team await presentation of their certificates presented by Peter Earnest - Executive Director of the International Spy Museum. He has a fascinating background. 

Mr. Earnest's 36-year CIA career included more than 20 years in the Agency's Clandestine Service. A member of the CIA's Senior Intelligence Service, he was awarded the Agency's Intelligence Medal of Merit for “superior performance” throughout his career. Mr. Earnest also served as the Agency's principal spokesman in his final posting, developing and implementing a strategy of greater openness with the media and the public.

Saturday, August 8 & Sunday, August 9

After Louie's famous blueberry pancakes with our friends, Jan and Rene, we shared a quiet Saturday at the playground & basketball court, plus plenty of I-pad time for Andrei. Sunday was a Washington Nationals baseball game at Nats Stadium vs. the Colorado Rockies...sad to say we lost the game, but it was a fun experience that none of us had done before.

dinner at Agua 301 on the Anacostia River waterfront a few blocks from Nats Field

Monday, August 10

National Museum of the American Indian

We had a scrumptious lunch and a photo op in front of Buffalo Dancer II

National Air and Space Museum

ACV and Scottie with Charles Lindberg's "Spirit of St. Louis"

I-MAX film

ACV and LIM with the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flyer

Andrei LOVED the simulator!

Tuesday, August 11

National Building Museum Beach Exhibit

The Beach Exhibit covered the large main floor of the museum, which is housed in the gorgeous 1887 U.S. Pension Bureau building, now the museum, in downtown DC. The "sand' was actually white artificial turf, and the water was thousands (millions?) of white plastic balls. ACV had a swell time, along with hundreds of other kids and some adults. 

Wednesday, August 12

National Museum of American History

web site for the National Museum of American History

A wonderful and knowledgeable tour guide for the Highlights of the Museum Tour quickly dispelled Andrei's concern that he really doesn't like tours or history. Hallelujah! All three of us had a terrific time and learned a lot.

The Spark' Lab for budding inventors was a big hit, along with another simulator.

 Thursday, August 13

George Washington's Mount Vernon by boat

web site for Mount Vernon

Andrei and Louie took a boat from DC's Southwest waterfront, Pier 4 to Mount Vernon for the day. Turned out to be perfect weather, and they especially enjoyed an app that allowed them to solve a mystery at the estate

Friday, August 14

A Hike to Great Falls, MD and dinner at Old Anglers Inn

The great falls of the Potomac River are accessible from both the Virginia and Maryland sides. 

We chose to visit the Maryland side so Andrei & Louie could hike along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal park, and also so we could have dinner at one of our longtime favorite restaurants, Old Anglers Inn. 

The Inn was once frequented by the likes of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. Justice Douglas helped get the C&O Canal along the Potomac from DC's Georgetown to Cumberland, MD (184.5 miles) declared a national park in the 1950s. 

For information about the C&O Canal Park and about Justice Douglas's role in saving it, see these web sites:

Guess what two fellows were hot and tired after a 7+ mile hike??

Saturday, August 15

After a quiet morning of hoops and the ubiquitous I-pad, Louie and Andrei took in a movie, "Mr. Holmes," and we all met up for dinner at Boss Shepherd's downtown for fried chicken.  No photos from today. Sorry.

Sunday, August 16

Glen Echo Park, "The Man From Uncle" at Air & Space's IMax at Dulles, then Andrei's flight home 

Glen Echo Park sits beside the C&O Canal and was once the terminus of the trolley car line the wound its way across the entire city of D.C. Though Glen Echo fell into disuse and decrepitude for some years, it is gradually being restored. Now it's a charming place and much beloved by generations of children.

After Glen Echo, we drove out to the National Air & Space Museum at Udvar-Hazy near Dulles Airport to see "The Man from UNCLE" at their IMax theater. It continued the "spy" theme of Andrei's visit and was great fun. Brought back memories of the 1960s for Louie and me. 

Finally, we had to end the day at Dulles (IAD) for our farewell and Andrei's return home to get ready for school to start.