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Michelle Obama on Conde Nast Traveler cover

world Updated: Apr 08, 2010 21:15 IST
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Michelle Obama says the Newseum and historic attractions like Monticello are among her daughters' favorite places to visit in Washington and the surrounding area, according to a cover story in the May issue of Conde Nast Traveler magazine called "Mrs. Obama's Washington: Why the First Lady Loves Her New Hometown."

The magazine cover shows the first lady wearing pearls, silvery pointy-toed high heels, and a fuschia dress with cap sleeves, cinched at the waist with a bow. The Washington Monument can be seen through the window. Beside her is a blue chair from the early 1800s decorated with a golden eagle.

Mrs. Obama has appeared on other magazine covers, including Glamour, Vogue, O, People and Time, but this is the first time in Conde Nast Traveler's 23-year history that it has put a first lady on the front.

The first lady said she created an informal "Camp Obama" last summer to expose her girls to attractions related to American history because she worried that they'd learned "more about history in Europe than they did here."

In addition to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's estate, which she called "incredibly beautiful," they've visited Frederick Douglass' home and Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate. She told the magazine that her daughters "love the Newseum," an interactive museum about news history. They enjoyed Luray Caverns in Virginia, too: "Yes! We saw the egg," she said, referring to a formation in the cave that looks like fried eggs. She reflected on the limits of her ability to experience Washington like other visitors. "I would love, and so would the President, to be able to walk up and down the Mall, not at night but in the middle of the day, when there are millions of people there, and experience it in the way that you're used to experiencing it," she said.

Even a simple dinner date snarls traffic for blocks. "It's like, 'Okay, we're going to that restaurant, and everyone's going to get mad, 'cause I'm there eating my hamburger,"' she told the magazine. Restaurants in Washington where Mrs. Obama and her husband have dined include Blue Duck Tavern, where they celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary; Restaurant Nora, where the president took her for her 46th birthday; and Good Stuff Eatery, described as her favorite burger joint, where the menu includes a "Michelle Melt." The May issue of Conde Nast Traveler will be on newsstands April 14. The online version of the story includes a map of some of the first lady's favorite places.

The article also includes her comments on previous first ladies. Nancy Reagan, she said, has come back to the White House for lunch; Laura Bush has been "incredibly gracious and kind and real in a way that I didn't expect"; and Hillary Clinton had "left open a broader possibility of what a first lady could be. I don't feel like policy is out of reach."

Conde Nast Traveler covers usually feature beaches or skylines with glamorous but anonymous models. But editor in chief Klara Glowczewska said the magazine has started featuring people on the cover "who are dedicated to making a difference." Queen Rania of Jordan appeared on the cover last year and former President Bill Clinton was featured in 2007.

"We have been particularly inspired by first lady Michelle Obama's mission to encourage all Americans to experience and enjoy Washington, as well as her commitment to giving back to her community and the world at large," Glowczewska said.