What’s making us happy today
Monday confusion. Few seem to agree exactly why we get the third Monday off in February. Washington’s birthday? Lincoln’s? Both? A celebration for every president? A time for cookware and bedding sales? Cover your bases at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. “Lansdowne,” the eight-by-five-foot portrait of George Washington painted in 1796 by Gilbert Stuart, may be the most famous of the bunch. But the most infamous is of the “king of truthiness,” TV persona Stephen Colbert. It will hang near the restrooms on the second floor until April 19, 2015. Before leaving, visit the museum’s Kogod Courtyard, a soaring enclosed space that transforms the studious Greek Revival building into a curved, glass-and-steel-canopied hangout with free Wi-Fi.
The long lineage of a rose. In a corner of the Old City Cemetery in Sacramento, past the grave of city planner John A. Sutter Jr., grow 500 (mostly) pre-19th century rose plants. They are symbols of so much more than romance, though. Perseverance is their buzzword; these are ancestors of the flowers that made the treacherous journey westward in the 1800s. Rescued from old homesteads, mining camps, and pioneer cemeteries, the heritage roses here include the Banshee (from 1773), Autumn Damask (1819), and Madame Lombard (1878). The cemetery itself recently earned a National Register of Historic Places designation. Valentine’s Day pilgrims will see a few varieties of the China roses bloom, including Old Blush. Peak time is mid-April.