Since so many of you offered so many wonderful suggestions for our trip to DC, I thought I’d offer a recap of sorts. We had a great trip! Too bad we didn’t have a pedometer with us, as we would love to know just how many miles we walked in the course of our trip. Let’s put it this way: by the end of our trip, we were popping advil like it was candy! Our backs hurt, our feet hurt, but we plugged along all the same. Here’s some of the sites we visited:
The changing of the guard–definitely a must see. Amazing. I think in the comments of my post requesting DC advice someone described having chills while watching the changing of the guard. I totally agree. Where we went wrong? Not paying the $7 for the tour bus. Arlington is a big place, plus I really wanted to see…
…which is like 250 miles from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Not really, but it felt like it. This is when we began to seriously regret our choice against the tour mobile. But I’m glad we made the journey. It is huge, the Iwo Jima memorial. The detail is amazing.
The Museum of Natural History
The Air and Space Museum
We were pretty tired by the time we got here. Parts we skipped; parts we found extremely interesting, especially the actual Kitty Hawk and the aircraft carrier and WWII air campaign sections.
We are big “National Treasure” fans (as in the movie), so this was on our must see list. Amazing to see the original Declaration of Independence and Constitution, in addition to the beautiful rotunda in which they are housed. The Archives was also hosting a temporary exhibit focusing on the school years of the 20th century presidents, with copies of report cards and research papers, etc. We really enjoyed that as well.
Understandably disturbing and depressing. Hard to say you liked it or encourage others to go. Plus, it was really, really, really crowded, despite the necessity of having prior tickets.
Fascinating. A park ranger gave an historical interpretation which was incredibly interesting. I didn’t know for instance, that Lee had just surrendered a mere week prior to Lincoln’s assassination. In the basement of the theater is a museum with many items from the night President Lincoln was shot: Lincoln’s clothes, Booth’s pistol, the door to the Presidential box seat where Booth had carved a peep hole, and many other items of interest. We also went across the street to the house where Lincoln died–hard to imagine such a tall man of not only physical stature, but historical stature as well, dying in such a small place.
Perhaps the most beautiful place we visited. The marble mosiacs, the wall painting, the statues, all stunning.
I’ve seen pictures. I’ve seen tv footage. But seeing all those names along the black wall as a reality was a moving experience. At various places along the wall were pieces of paper with a name, picture, and age of one of the casualties, all 19, 20 and 21 years of age, mere babies, and all with the words: “died ‘x’ years ago this weekend.” I picked up a brochure (my usual MO for the week) and we learned that the names of those who were missing were marked with a cross and those who were confirmed dead were marked with a diamond. In some cases, the cross had to be altered to a diamond. Even as I read that portion of the brochure, my husband pointed out a name that had clearly once had a cross beside it, now a diamond.
All interesting and moving in different ways.
Way bigger than they look on tv. We didn’t make it over to the Jefferson Memorial. At that point, we had logged in way too many steps for the day!
We arranged for our tour through our Congressman’s office and he not only walked us over from his office for the obligatory picture on the Capitol steps, but took us in the personal “Congressman” entrance, thereby avoiding the long tour lines, then accompanied us up to the House gallery and gave us a personal lesson on the proceedings there. He had to leave for a meeting, or he might have given us the entire tour himself! His intern gave us a great tour, though, and did a wonderful job. The rotunda with the famous paintings of various events of American history was beautiful.
Again, we arranged this tour through our Congressman’s office so the powers that be could do a through background and security check, and understandably so. My biggest surprise here: it is so much smaller than it looks ion HGTV. There were fresh flowers in each room which were gorgeous. I think the library and the red rooms were my favorites, as well as the china cabinet housing various pieces of china chosen by certain First Ladies (I think the Reagan china was the prettiest).
My husband, a civil engineer, was naturally intrigued by the metro system, all underground and still with two different levels even underground. Our first time on the metro we got on the wrong train, but after that traveled like pros, only getting confused one other time.
As you can see, we had a wonderful time! I was disappointed that the Museum of American History was closed for remodeling, but that just gives us another reason to go back. They did have a small portion of their collection on display in the Air and Space Museum so we got to see the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, Lincoln’s top hat, Archie Bunker’s chair and a few other items of American culture.