Glass Wall at DCA

Walking Tour – DCA – Washington National

I love DCA.  For one thing, I can take the Metro and get out right at the airport, super easy and cheap.  For another, I just think it’s pretty – when you walk into the terminal from the Metro, you are suddenly awestruck by this giant glass wall showcasing the multi-colored artwork of the airplane tail fins up close and personal.

Architect Cesar Pelli designed the wall-sized window overlooking the runway and the Washington, D.C. skyline.

DCA Information BoothIn front of the giant glass wall is the airport information desk, and behind it two lovely ladies, one of whom I asked for directions to the USO.

“Oh, that’s in Terminal A,” she replied with a smile. “Past the security there and then to the left, it’s at the entrance to Terminal A.”

I ask if I can take her photo and when she agrees, so I snap a few photos until we get one we both like. I give her my thanks and head for Terminal A.

But first, a quick check of the Departure board to see the status of my flight.  It’s on schedule and I have about an hour to clear security and get to the gate before boarding. Perfect!

Starbucks is on the ticketing level, up the escalator if you came in on the Metro.  Once you go through security there are still good places to get coffee, but if you are a Starbucks person plan ahead to  enjoy BEFORE going through security. 

Onto my Mini-Destination Walking Tour of Terminal A.  It’s not that far away, and you go through a glass tunnel and that’s always a happy place.  But it is enough of a walk that I was glad I was pulling my bag, not packing it. You wouldn’t want to have to run it in heels to catch a flight in a time pinch. It’s a perfect walk for those with strollers or who need to let little feet run off some steam – the glass tunnel has nothing in it to prevent a little steam running.

Shortly after the glass tunnel, you’ll reach the Historic Main Terminal.  It was closed off by black curtain for a “special event” – didn’t say what the event was, and I would’ve peeked through the curtain for you, but a trio of security agents came by looking like the Charley’s Angels of the TSA, and I needed to keep moving.

DCA Artwork, Armadillo, Terminal ADCA Artwork, Terminal A, MaskDCA Artwork, Terminal AFarther down the hallway, at the end of which is Lost and Found and the USO,  was a wonderful albeit small exhibit of Latin American art. In glass cases were pots, masks, sculptures, and beautifully colorful woven ponchos, stretched and hung on the walls.

I spent about fifteen minutes admiring the art, then moved along to the USO.

DCA - USO VolunteersThese are the wonderful volunteers who staff the USO, giving their time and efforts to provide our servicemen, active and retired, and their families, a respite from the hustle and bustle of the airport.  There’s lounge chairs to rest in, TV to watch, beverages and snacks – free.  You have to have a military ID to stay, and that’s true of all USO’s everywhere.  I’ll check out a lounge for civilians when I get to Houston.

I didn’t go to the Lost and Found, but I did hear this in the Art Gallery on the way back to the security area.

Dad: (to small son holding his hand): “You left your jacket on the plane? Why would you do that?”
Son: “I don’t know, Daddy.  It just happened.”

Indeed.  And that’s why I’m glad to know where the Lost and Found is. Because some things just happen.


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