Getting the flavor of...
Spy sites in Washington, D.C.
“Espionage has been a part of U.S. history since before there was a legitimate United States,” said Spud Hilton in the San Francisco Chronicle. Gen. George Washington was an avid collector of military intelligence, and the capital that bears his name has carried on the spying tradition “through civil wars, world wars, cold wars, and computer wars.” To spend a day “following in clandestine footsteps,” start with breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel, where FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover lunched daily for 20 years and where, in the lobby, CIA agents once practiced the “brush pass” method of exchanging documents. Save the afternoon for the International Spy Museum, home to a collection of secret cameras and assassination tools. For dinner, head to Mr. Smith’s of Georgetown, a pub where CIA analyst Aldrich Ames handed over secrets to his KGB handler. Fortunately, you don’t need Ames’ “traitor-padded bank account” to afford Smith’s classic pub grub.
Iowa’s Amana Colonies
The Amana Colonies of eastern Iowa are proof that the words “‘quaint’ and ‘modern’ need not contradict each other,” said Jay Jones in the Chicago Tribune. Visitors to the cluster of seven villages often confuse the Amana people with the Amish, but the two communities have no connection other than German roots, and “if there’s an oil lamp to be found” in Amana, “it’s probably in an antique shop.” Founded as a religious commune in 1855, Amana is home to the eponymous appliance maker, and area residents proudly maintain their ancestors’ craft traditions—but with help from modern machinery. You can watch artisans weave willow baskets at the Broom & Basket Shop or handcraft rocking chairs at the Amana Furniture & Clock Shop. The Amana Meat Shop & Smokehouse sells ham cured the way it was in 1855, and hefty portions of German comfort food are served up at the Ox Yoke Inn. “Diners who come hungry certainly don’t leave that way.”