Sunday, August 3, 2014

First Stop: Washington DC


My family enjoyed a week in the Outer Banks of North Caroline in early July, to celebrate a special occasion, but we first flew into Washington DC to spend a weekend there seeing the sights. Washington DC is a very familiar city to us, as my son attended a university in DC for his undergraduate degree, and also lived there a couple of years afterward and was married in DC. On numerous trips from NYC to DC over those years, my husband and I began to feel as if DC was a second home. We enjoyed it's many cultural and historical venues and distinct neighborhoods. My son had many wonderful opportunities going to school in DC, as he interned for a Senator where he worked in the Senate building and had the opportunity to attend conferences at the Press Club and White House.  It was really a dream come true for him and gave him a wonderful background for the work he does today.  (All photos, including the photo collages, will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)

The back of the White House

After being away for over ten years,since 9-11, I did notice quite a bit of added security all through our nation's capital, but much of  it is still open to public access.  It really is a city that every American should visit and enjoy with pride. My only suggestion is not to visit in July, when the weather is very hot and humid!  On our visit the weather was oppressive, and as we walked and took sightseeing buses, we also took took many breaks to seek shade and water.

Our first president. George Washington, chose the location and  placed the cornerstone of the White House in 1791  President John Adams was the first president to live in the house in 1800.  After being partially destroyed in the War of 1812, it was reconstructed and has undergone major renovations and additions since, including President Teddy Roosevelt's move of the executive office from the second floor to what is now known as the West Wing of the house.

Did you know the White House has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and six levels? You can take an interesting virtual tour of the inside of the public areas of the White House, to see its rooms. furniture and art works at this link.




The US Capital building has housed the meeting chambers of the United State Congress--the House of Representatives and the Senate--for two centuries. Construction on the building began in 1793,with President George Washington laying its cornerstone,  and has gone through many construction phases since.  It stands today as a monument to the legislative branch of our government and as a centerpiece of Capital Hill and the national Mall.  There is a new Capital Visitors Center located beneath the east front plaza where all visitors now must now enter.



The beautiful Capital building dome.

As part of the Capital Dome Restoration Project a five layer, 14,700 square foot safety canopy was placed in the Capital Building this past April and soon scaffolding will be seen on the outside while restoring the cast iron dome which should be completed over the next several years.


The Washington Monument is open to visitors again, after being closed for a few years after the earthquake of August 23, 2011. . There is an elevator inside that brings visitors to the top.

The National Park Service web site had this interesting information about the monument:

"The Washington Monument, designed by Robert Mills and eventually completed by Thomas Casey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, honors and memorializes George Washington at the center of the nation's capital. The structure was completed in two phases of construction, one private (1848-1854) and one public (1876-1884). Built in the shape of an Egyptian obelisk, evoking the timelessness of ancient civilizations, the Washington Monument embodies the awe, respect, and gratitude the nation felt for its most essential Founding Father. When completed, the Washington Monument was the tallest building in the world at 555 feet, 5-1/8 inches."

If you look closely at the monument you can see lines of demarcation where the work on the Washington Monument stopped and then resumed, and then a different quarry was used to complete the top.



The beautiful Lincoln Memorial--dedicated to the United State's 16 President, is always a stirring site to see! My father was a veteran of World War II and Korea, so we made a point to pay homage at both sites at that time.

"On May 30, 1922, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated, during an event witnessed by approximately 50,000 people. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Howard Taft led the ceremony with President Warren G. Harding and Dr. Robert Morton of the Tuskegee Institute."  Designed by the architect Henry Bacon, the monument is designed after the Greek Parthenon, to symbolize the birthplace of Democracy. Read more about this monument to our President during the Civil War on the Monuments NPS web site at this link.


We viewed the World War II Memorial from a sightseeing bus on this trip, but we were able to see it up close in its dedication year in 2004

Information from the NPS website:

"The World War II Memorial honors the service of sixteen million members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, the support of countless millions on the home front, and the ultimate sacrafice of 405,399 Americans. On May 29, 2004, a four day "grand reunion' of veterans on the National Mall culminated in the dedication of this tribute to the legacy of 'The Greatest Generation.'"


My brother-in-law and brother served during the Vietnam War, and my husband lost a cousin in the war, so a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is always on our agenda when we visit Washington DC. It is also a very emotional place to visit and see the sacrifice of so many. You can see my husband looking up his cousin's name in the record book on site so that we could find his name's place among the over 58,000 servicemen and women who gave their lives in this war. My husband's cousin was only 20 years old when he was killed on a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire in 1966. May he and all who served so bravely, never be forgotten!

If you'd like to search for a name on the wall, and see more information about the soldier and leave a comment visit the "Wall of Faces" web site and do a search.


We enjoyed seeing the iconic sights of Washington DC on our quick weekend trip, so much so that I know we will return in the future for a longer visit to visit the new additions to the Smithsonian museums and  new monuments.


Another reason for visiting Washington DC was to visit my husband's nephew and his wife who live nearby in Maryland.  He is a chef in a DC foreign embassy, and we were fortunate to take a tour of the professional kitchen in the ambassador's home on our visit. I thought you'd enjoy seeing our nephew's cookbook shelf, for what he uses when he needs inspiration for a new recipe. It may be that the ambassador's wife placed a few of her favorite cookbooks on to his shelf!


We had a wonderful barbecue at our nephew's house on the Fourth of July and saw the firework show that evening!

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36 comments:

Pondside said...

When we lived near Philadelphia we could easily visit DC and did so often as The Great Dane had to visit the attache there on an ongoing basis. It is a beautiful city, and a fitting capital with all its wonderful monuments.

My name is Riet said...

Good morning Pat. What a wonderful post you have here. I learned so much this morning about Washington and the White House particularly. I didn't know it was so big.
Have a nice week

eileeninmd said...

Hi Pat, I enjoyed your tour of Washington DC. It is nice to see another person view of our nations capital.. I love in Maryland and have visited DC numerous times.. A wonderful post and photos, thanks for sharing your visit.. Have a happy week!

Mersad said...

Wonderful images Pat. I visited Washington DC back in 2005 and it was nice to see it again in your post. I visited almost the exact same places as you did.

Mersad
Mersad Donko Photography

Tracy said...

What a wonderful trip, Pat! Been some years since I was in/near D.C. I feel kind of homesick. ;o) LOVED seeing moments from time away. Happy Days ((HUGS))

Jim said...

Great post

The Gathering Place said...

I've only been to D.C. once, but I fell in love with it and hope to visit again some day. Beautiful, historic, charming place!

Vee said...

What a lovely visit to DC you enjoyed. Beautiful photos. Your nephew has a scary job! =D

Looking forward to the next spot on the itinerary.

Shirley said...

The architecture on these monuments is bold and begs to be photographed. Looks like a wonderful fireworks display.

ellen b. said...

I hear ya about not visiting in July. The humidity and heat would hamper my sight seeing, I'm sure. You really covered things well Pat. How great to have other connections to this area and have family living in or nearby. I'm sure you get some great personalized experiences.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Great post about D.C. Pat. I've only visited once, but loved every minute of all of the history and great restaurants. Your son had a dream job as an intern for a Senator and it sounds like your husband's nephew also has a dream job in a foreign embassy. The Vietnam wall made me cry after I recognized a name or two.
Sam

SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

Oh, you visited MY HOME TOWN! Yep, I was raised in D.C. from the age of two months. I'm quite familiar with everything you've shown, with the exception of the Viet Nam Wall. (I've walked up the monument 3 times! Now, I've been told, people can only ride up on an elevator.)

Thanks for the memories.

Have a Happy Blue Monday!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I loved what you shared in this post Pat. We keep saying we should drive over the border for a visit as there is so many historical things to see.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You are reminding me that I haven't been to DC in a long time, but I'm planning a trip in October. There are so many wonderful places to see. But I think visiting a nephew who's a chef at an embassy would be high on my list. Glad you had so much fun.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

PS - Great photos, as usual.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

We haven't visited DC yet and it is near the top of my bucket list. My husband fought in the Vietnam war and I know the Wall would be an emotional experience for him and he'd like to see it. I look forward to seeing the Lincoln Memorial as well as all the many other historic sights. I enjoyed your wonderful post and photos, Pat!

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! Beautiful shots of the White House and DC for OWT ~

artmusedog and carol ( A Creative Harbor

Photo Cache said...

you captured the sights beautifully.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Washington, D.C. is endlessly fascinating.

Blue Door, Red Trim

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots of Washington DC. Thank you for refreshing memories.

ladyfi said...

What a lovely tour of DC!

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Great post and photos! :) First husband's uncle lived in DC and we visited him there / best 4th of July fireworks I'd ever seen ! :)

Fun60 said...

That provided me with a great tour of Washington DC.

Barb said...

Pat, you are a lady on the go! I enjoyed revisiting DC through your dialogue and photos. (Sure glad I don't have to clean those 35 bathrooms!) I remember the east coast in July - no thanks! (Unless a beach is involved)

Al said...

Nice tour - it brings back memories from when I lived in the area. And yes, I'm very glad we're having a wetter summer this year here in Colorado!

Vagabonde said...

That was a very informative Washington, DC tour with lovely photos. It has been a while since I went there – in the fall it was superb. How wonderful for your son to have the opportunity to work as an intern in the Senate. I just wrote a post on World War I and realized that there is no national monument to this war in Washington, DC. Even though it started a hundred years ago this week, maybe that’s why no one is talking about it in the US ?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'd love to visit Washington DC so thanks for the virtual tour. One day I'll get there!

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Great shots of Wash, DC! I love Washington...we haven't been in a few years. When we went years ago, must husband picked out a random name from the Vietnam Memorial, and said every time he comes back to Washington, he will stop by the wall to honor this unknown (to him) soldier. He has kept his word. In fact, my son and I have also picked names as well. Looking forward to seeing your photos of NC!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Top of our bucket list. Thanks for the great virtual tour in the meantime.

diane b said...

You do amazing blogs and research. I enjoyed reading about the places I saw when i visited this beautiful city.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

What a beautiful city...and a lovely tour right here on your blog. We plan to visit one day! We were so close last year, but decided we didn't have enough time to do it justice. One day we will see Washington DC, NYC and Boston. Maybe we'll get you to be our guide! :)

fredamans said...

Wonderful and patriotic photos!

retriever said...

Hello, wonderfull fotos and mémorial built,greeting from Belgium

Roz Corieri Paige said...

Great post on our nation's beautiful capitol. I haven't visited since after 9-11 either and truly need to go back and visit; there's always so much to see! Thanks for the great visual tour, Pat.
Roz

toby said...

What a wonderful tour! We were in DC last summer and saw all of those places, but your photos are just lovely, and so professional! They could each be postcards, perfectly composed, wonderful lighting. Wow! Well done, and thanks for reminding me of how much fun we had :)

Daniela said...

This is a dream of mine, to see the White House, it's such a magnificent building, a true monument to the democracy, and I think it to be very suggestive to see it for real .. and the Capitol too !!!
I'm truly glad for all these trips of yours, you're collecting wonderful adventures, dear Pat !
With love
xo
Dany