Monday, February 7, 2011

George Bush (41) Presidental Library

On a rainy Fort Worth Saturday we decided to take a jaunt down to College Station, TX to visit the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum. We inherited our love of presidential museums from my parents when they came out to California to hit the Regan and Nixon libraries in a long weekend. There are currently 13 presidential libraries in 11 states. Visiting the presidential libraries is a great way not only to learn about the President and the Presidency but it is also a time capsule of America. The psychology student in me loves analyzing what each man has decided to include and how they frame their presidency.

Fourty-One's museum is one of my favorites. (I suspect some of my love of this particular museum stems from personal memories of the events.) My favorite part was learning about Bush's life before becoming president. The museum has lots of family photographs and interactive video. Jeff loved the exhibits on Bush's experience in the Navy (and the full airplane hung from the ceiling) and I loved reading about his romance with Barbara and their early life together. The museum focuses on the whole Bush family - providing the added benefit of getting to watch George Bush (43) grow up. The exhibits focusing on the Presidency itself was a bit sparse compared to other museums. There is fun little computer activity at the end where you ask either George or Barbara a question and you get a personalized printed letter with the answer. Other things of note: the worlds largest poinsettia, a piece of the Berlin Wall, the future burial site of the Bush's and (my favorite) President Bush's sky diving video.

The George Bush Library is on the Texas, A&M campus, so if the weather is nice take a walk around. (We spent a rainy Saturday here and decided to enjoy the campus by vehicle instead.) At some point you will need a bite to eat so head down to campus and visit the original Freebirds. Jeff proclaimed it to be the "best burrito he has ever eaten" and encourages anyone who goes here to try the BBQ sauce on your burrito. I stuck to the taco combo and I have to admit it was delicious.

We also made a quick stop at Messina Hoff Winery for their tour and tasting. The cardboard cutouts of the owner placed around the tasting room in his trademark red bray should have been a sign that we were in for something special. The tour is mostly of the B&B across the parking lot which has a strange collection of European antiques including a really old door that is still in use. Then you head over to the wine bar for a few sips. You will be treated like you have never seen wine before - so be ready for that. I did not particularly enjoy the wine, but everyone's tastes are different and I am certainly no wine expert. On a high note you do get to take your glasses with you. The restaurant on property is well renowned - so if you can plan ahead to have a meal there I've heard its quite good.

We had originally thought of making this trip an overnight but shortened it to a day trip because I had been on work travel the week before and wanted to be at home. It was perfectly doable as a day trip - its amazing how much ground you can cover when it doesn't take 45 min just to leave Edwards!

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