March 9-23, 2019
We spent two weeks in Washington D.C. and what a busy two weeks!
We had reservations at Pohick Bay Regional Park but when we arrived we were informed that their electricity was out for weeks- faulty wiring. They were helpful and moved us to Bull Run, which was further away but nice. We met a couple staying across from us that were visiting from Acworth, GA! Small world.
We loved being in the woods.
The Washington Monument
We started our Washington, D.C. adventure on Sunday at iconic Washington Monument. We got out at the Smithsonian station and walked to the Washington monument. The monument is under renovation so it is closed at this time. Luckily, we visited this 5 years ago and the girls remembered going up to the top.
After eating lunch at the foot of the Washington Monument and being harassed by the freaky tailless squirrel, we walked back towards the reflecting pool and all the memorials. Between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial are several memorials for the wars we have participated in.
When we planned this trip, we had hoped to catch the Cherry Blossoms blooming while we were here. They were just starting to bloom and by the time we left two weeks later, we had seen each stage of the trees blossom. We are very grateful for the beauty of these trees that were a gift from Japan in 1910. In 1885, a women by the name of Eliza Scidmore started campaigning for the Cherry Blossom trees to planted along the Potomac but it took 25 years until her idea blossomed. And she didn’t even have to raise the funds, the city of Tokyo donated 2,000 trees. When they arrived in January of 1910 they were infested with bugs and had to be burned. Two years later, Japan sent a new donation of 3,000 cherry trees. in 1935, the Cherry Blossom Festival began and has been growing every year. It started the second week we were visiting.
It was cold and overcast for most of the day but we still enjoyed ourselves and stayed warm by walking fast.
World War II Memorial
The National World War II memorial is the largest and first one you come upon behind the Washington Monument. The memorial honors the 16 million men and women who served and the 400,000 who lost their lives during WWII.
Can you tell the girls miss Georgia? Chris and I stood in front of the states were we were born. We were sad that the fountains weren’t on today.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, is a black granite memorial known as “The Wall,” to honor those who served in the Vietnam War. Many visitors leave personal effects; more than 400,000 items have been collected since the memorial opened to the public.
This is the most grand of all the memorials. Walking up the stairs to see this giant state of President Lincoln will always amaze me. To the left of the statue is Lincoln’s great speech, the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous in U.S. history. Every single word of the address is etched into the wall to inspire Americans just as it did in 1863. To the right is the entire Second Inaugural Address, given in 1865, months before Lincoln’s death.
There is a museum under the memorial that showed us how it was built and the history of events at this memorial; such as MLK’s speech on 1963.
After the Lincoln Memorial we walked over to the Jefferson Memorial along the tidal basin. We saw Marine One fly over us.
On the left side of the Thomas Jefferson statue, you will find some of the most impactful words in the history of the United States, taken directly from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
We sat outside the memorial on the steps to eat a snack, relax and the girls worked on their junior ranger books. While we were sitting there a Ranger came over and give us our own personal talk- it was lovely.
As we walked around the other side of the Tidal Basin we throughly enjoyed the FDR, our 32nd President, memorial. The unique site is divided into four outdoor sections, one for each of FDR’s terms in office from 1933 to 1945.
It was a long day of walking. I like to make my own timeline and self guided tours instead for taking bus tours. I believe you can experience so much more and get more exercise along the way. But today was a LOT of walking. The girls wanted to rent e-scooters and today would have been a great day to do it but once we were tired and agreed to it we couldn’t find any that were charged enough to rent. I promised them we’d do it again on another day.
At the end of the day, we learned about riding the red circulation bus (normally $1 per ride but in the month of March it is free) so we caught it in front of MLK’s memorial.
and rode it to Union Station to finished that first day up there by eating dinner and riding the train back to our station.
On the bus ride from MLK’s memorial to Union Station we made a few stops and one of them was in front of the Capitol. The bus driver offered to take a family photo of us because we were commenting on the beauty of the sun set colors reflecting off the building at this time of day.
Capitol Hill day
Our first stop was at the world’s largest library, the Library of Congress. It’s made up of three separate buildings; The Jefferson, The Madison and The Adams buildings. The Main reading was gorgeous.
The Nation’s Capitol
Three months ago, we requested a tour from our state representative’s office and was granted a 2:00pm tour time today. The room known as the Crypt, was intended to be the burial place of George Washington, however, his will stated he wanted to be buried at Mount Vernon. The Crypt houses exhibits on the history of the Capitol. A compass star on the floor marks the point at which Washington, D.C. is divided into its four quadrants (NE, NW, SE, or SW).
It was in session this week but we had heard that people arrive at 5am to stand in line or pay homeless people to save their spot in line, so we skipped that experience and just visited the exhibit hall.
We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant next to the metro station we were taking home. It was filled with business men in suits with their laptops out working while enjoying Happy Hour- it was an especially happy hour in which Chris was hit on by one of them in the restroom.
The girls and I spent the day traveling down to Union station and visiting the Postal museum which is right next to Union Station. This is a free museum and it’s very interactive; a hidden gem for kids. The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum is dedicated to the preservation, study and presentation of postal history and philately (stamp collecting). The building that once served as the main post office of Washington, D.C. from 1914, when it was constructed, until 1986.
There is a great exhibits on the Pony Express, the use of railroads with the mail, and the preserved remains of Owney, the dog, (the first unofficial postal mascot).
In 1775, U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Learn more here.
Did you know that Congressman don’t have to use stamps? They just sign their name, this is called Franking,
The Hope diamond was mailed to the Smithsonian in a manila envelope, which is on display here.
They had a station that we could each pick out 6 stamps for free to start our first stamp collection, I chose Presidents, Mackenzie chose birds and Abby chose random stamps that caught her eye.
The Penny Black was the world’s first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It was first issued in Great Britain in May 1840 and features Queen Victoria.
After we toured the Postal museum, we took the free red circulation bus to the Washington Monument. We brought our NPS passport books and got all our stamps at the Monument so we don’t have to carry them around with us for two weeks. Then we walked to the WWII memorial again to turn in the Junior Ranger books to get their badges.
We celebrated Pi day (March 14th) with a Chicken pot pie for dinner and going to the theater to watch the Captain Marvel movie.
The day after we watched the White House Down movie, we rode to the White House and they were repairing it (from the destruction from the movie).
My front tires on the Jeep were so bald, probably from towing it behind the RV. I ordered new Mud Terrain tires for Rogue One and had them installed at Virginia Tires. It was quick and easy.
The Part 2 includes, Arlington and Pentagon Memorial, East and West Wing Tours of the White House, tour of the Eisenhower building, Ford’s theater, Air and Space Musuem and Mt. Vernon.