Washington, DC - Jan 8 - 9, 2011

Our State Capital in Two Days
Washington, D.C.
  • January 8th - 9th, 2011
  • Bob, Debe, Micah & Chelcy

After twelve wonderful days cruising to, from, and around the Caribbean waters, it was off the ship, into a rental car and off to Washington, D.C. in the freezing cold. But hey, we came with a tan. lol First stop (after getting rental car) was to check in at the Embassy Suites and drop off our luggage. This hotel wasn't on the direct path of the Hop on Hop off Trolley but they did have a shuttle that did a pick us up and took us to the starting point. So we caught the first shuttle and off we went. (if you missed the blog regarding the 12 day cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas that was the beginning of this trip, go to the archives on the right and click on 2011 Jan - Enchantment of the Seas)

We were dropped off at the Trolley Station which was directly in front of this Lincoln Waffle Shop. After 12 days of eating, why not eat again. I have to say, the food was GREAT.
Across from the Lincoln Waffle Shop was the Hard Rock Cafe. Of course, I am a PIN HEAD so had to grab the 2011 Washington DC pin. Lots to chose between.

The following events will not be blogged in the order we completed them. So lets just start with the Ford Theatre visit. It is just a couple doors up from the Hard Rock Cafe and we headed there to tour the Theatre and Museum. This is free but you must get tickets early so they don't run out for the time frame available. I have to admit, it seems surreal standing in the exact place that our US President was shot. And amazed that it could happen so easily. But Booth was an Actor at this theatre and well known. Making it very easy for him to get up to the balcony where President Lincoln and his wife were sitting.
The balcony that the President and his wife were sitting in can be see in the below photos. We were able to go up to that balcony and look into the area where this event took place. A plexi- glass protects the balcony seats so no one can destroy the contents. And even though everything is not the original (some of the original is downstairs in the museum) it was great to see it all.

As most history buffs know, Lincoln was carried across the street to a home where he later died. Below are photos of that home. It was being renovated at this time so no one was allowed into it.

The trolley served as a taxi to get us from place to place. But we had to pick and chose our stops because there is so much to see, but limited time. The Smithsonian along has 18 buildings. So we decided when to get off the trolley and visit a place and what to save for another time. We bought a 2 day Trolley ticket so we would see what we could in that time.
We all agreed to go to the White House. It was sad to see that the Bomb demonstrator was still there. We had seen it in about 1987 and the security told us they had been there since 1981. So the thing our president has to look outside the front of the White House and see is this tent and signs every day. That all sits in Layette Park just across from the White House.

Just to the left (if you are facing the White House) you find the Treasury Building.

On the back side of the Treasure Bldg but just across the street use to sit Rhodes Tavern. On June 7, 1802, this site was the first place Washington D.C. had an election. Another beautiful building was the National Cathedral Church. We didn't have time to tour it but it was a popular stop for the tourists. From here we continued down Embassy Row and close by Georgetown University and the big shopping area. The CHRISTmas decorations made this area even more beautiful.
A short stop at the Canal Marker for the Chesapeake and Ohio rivers gave us a Kodiak Moment. If you look close on the right of the canal, you can see the trail that many use for walking and bike riding.

Below are photos of some interesting buildings - St Johns Church or Church of the Presidents which is across from Lafayette Square Park, north of the White House. (every president since James Madison has attended at least one service there.) Pew 54 is designated as the Presidents pew even though it was originally numbered 28, then 58 before being numbered 54. This church was built in 1815. The church in the photo on the right was President Lincoln's church of choice. Further down are photos of Union Station with the Freedom Bell in front of it. This bell was donated for the nations Bicentennial by the same Foundry that made the Liberty Bell. The Freedom Bell is a replica of the Liberty Bell but twice its size. This bell was carried to all 48 states during the nations Bicentennial.

Below are photos of the famous Mayflower Hotel. Second most famous address to the White House. Harry S. Truman stayed there while the White House was being renovated. It hosts an Inauguration Ball every since Coolidge. Both Kennedy and Clinton were alleged to have had affairs there but most recently, Gov. Spitzer was said to have met a prostitute there. Below the Hotel photos and on the left is the Dolly Madison house and right is the Hilton Hotel. The Hilton Hotel is where President Bush survived an attempted assassination.

Of course, the Capitol Building is a beauty. Here you can see this stunning building from the front and the back. Below the Capitol Building photos you will see the U S Supreme Court building and the Library of Congress (which Bob would have loved to see but thank goodness - it was closed. lol)
Just past the Capitol Building and its lake with the Grant Monument, you will find the American Indian National Museum (one of the Smithsonian Bldgs) and on to the Smithsonian Castle.

And then on to some of the most stunning Memorial a President could have. Washington Monument - an high rising obelisk reaching to the sky followed by the impressive Jefferson Monument and on to the monstrous Lincoln Monument. The view from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Monument is the Reflection Pool. On this day, even with the ice in the pool you could see the awesome reflection of the historical and beautiful Washington Mounument.

As we took the walk alongside the reflection pool, we made stops at the Korean War Monument (very neat) and on to the Vietnam Wall. Every where you looked it made you want to just be so thankful for those that fought for our freedom. Many paying the ultimate price.
Our time only allowed for us to visit one of the Smithsonian buildings so we headed to the American History Bldg. (In the above photo you can see the Ronald Reagan Building which sits across from the American History Bldg.) It was neat to see the historical items from movies, events, etc... that were in this History Bldg. (funny that we remember much more of the items than Micah and Chelcy. lol Go ahead and take a look at the photos and comment things that you see that you remember)

I wanted to save the highlight of our two days for last. We visited the Arlington Cemetery on the second day. It was very easy to transfer trolleys at the Lincoln Memorial and take it to Arlington Cemetery. Once there, you could take a shuttle that took you to the highlights and through the cemetery for a small fee of $7 - 45 minutes of narraration. So worth it. In the first photo you can see the entrance to the Cemetery and the Arlington House, Robert E. Lee Memorial, that sits up on the hill.
The cemetery was surreal and the donated wreaths on each of the graves added a special touch. Those wreaths, thousands of them, are donated and volunteers lay each of them at the graves. I only wish I lived close enough to give each of these soldiers grave the personal touch of adding a wreath. The least we could do. www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/photo_gallery/index_Wreaths2010.html Our first stop was at the Eternal Flame grave of John F. Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline and their two minor children, Patrick, only lived a couple days, and their unamed stillborn daughter. Just around the corner from their graves you could see the simple white crosses marking the graves of Robert and Ted Kennedy.
Then on to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where the shuttle arrives in time for us to get a position to watch the changing of the guards. A solemn but very dignified event to attend. Please be silent, control your kids, and take it all in. Remebering the lives lost for your freedom.
The following photos are more from the cemetery: Amphitheater, graves from the unidentified remains from the Space Shuttle Challenger crew from Jan 28, 1986. Grave of movie star Audie Murphy who was also the most decorated serviceman at the age of 22 years. The Mast of the USS Maine that sank off Havana, Cuba on Feb 15, 1898 which began the Spanish-American War. The remains of 163 Sailors lost in the explosion are buried there. And the final photo is the back side of the Arlington House/Robert E. Lee Memorial (his home)

After two very long days of visiting Washington D. C. it was time to get back to the hotel, pack up and off to Baltimore, Maryland airport. We were dropped close by the hotel on the HOHO Trolley and walked through some interesting places. Then into the rental car and off to Baltimore. What a great cruise and visit to Washington D. C. we have had. Little bit of cold, lots of sun and fun, and some history to boot. What more could we have ask for.
Again, this trip was the completion of a wonderful 12 day cruise so if you missed it, check the archives and visit the 2011 Jan - Enchantment of the Seas blog. As far as these two days, we decided we needed to separate it from the cruise to show how much there is to see in Washington DC. And we truly only visited a very very very small part of it. We felt we really could spend a week here and not see everything. But I thank you for coming with us for this very small bit of time in Washington D.C. I do hope you put this city in your travel destinations. So much history to offer.


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