January 22, 2009

My train trip to Obama's presidential inauguration!

Last Monday, my friend, Jane Heller and I, boarded a train to Washington DC for the presidential inauguration and to take part in some of the festivities. We actually booked tickets on the Acela, Amtrak’s sleek train that runs between Boston, Massachusetts and Washington DC, traveling at speeds up to 150 miles per hour. We departed Pennsylvania Station in New York City at 4:00 PM and arrived at Union Station in Washington at 6:54 PM. The cost of a round-trip first class ticket was under $600.00 compared to $1,100.00 for a first class plane ticket. The Acela got us to Washington in less than three hours. This is actually good time if you consider how long it takes to travel to the airport by car and any flight delays that one may encounter. The train ride was smooth and comfortable and quite enjoyable.

Our first stop was the Phillips Collection, a museum full of extraordinary art and exhibitions. We were there to attend a dinner hosted by the iconic American chef and writer, Alice Waters. This was one of a series of inaugural dinners Alice put together along with other great chefs, to raise money for Washington's soup kitchens and farmers’ markets.

After that delicious and memorable meal, Jane and I made our way through heavy traffic to attend the Pre-Inaugural Ball hosted by the Huffington Post at the Newseum. This incredible building is a museum of news history, from five centuries ago to modern instant technology. The theme of this ball was a “countdown to a new day,” with a direct focus on community service. There were several kiosks where guests were encouraged visit and make a personal commitment. Around 11:30 PM the entertainment began, with very moving performances by Sting, Sheryl Crow, and Will-I-am. Just a little fun after meetings and putting in a full day at the television studio!

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