Washington DC (April 13-20, 2013)

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Gear: camera
Area: Washington DC (where else?)

I usually make one trip back east to visit family each year. This year the draw was a family get together for my niece's christening. I'd hoped the whole family could make it but as it was not Spring break, lots of the kids were still in school. I did get to see most of the family though. There trips remind me how hard it is to visit so infrequently. I miss seeing all the little ones grow up. I just can't imagine living anywhere but in the "other" Washington though (the state...not the city).

I caught a non-stop flight from SeaTac to Reagan National (oh...how I love non-stop flights) and got in late Friday. Saturday was spent catching up. The entire week was a slow pace. Kids baseball practices and games. A trip to the library with Meredith (3). My sister and Lynn hadn't really spent time before touring around DC and seeing the sights so we spent one day hiking the Mall and another day later in the week we headed out to Arlington.

The bonus in the timing of the trip to DC this year was trying to catch the Cherry Blossom Festival. Peak was expected to be at the very end of March. Tom and Dani were out there and the blooms were just starting. Most had faded by the time I got there so it looks like peak was around the 7th...

For the day spent doing a walking tour of DC my sister dropped the three of us off just off the mall, near the new MLK Jr. Memorial. It was a quick stop with a power exit out of the Durango. It was a bit cloudy and there was a bit of a chill but that helped as we'd spend the whole day walking the Mall and I mean the whole Mall. We visited the MLK Jr. Memorial (quite nice), then walked the walkway around the Tidal Basin towards the Jefferson Memorial. Lots of cherry trees here. Most were dropping blossoms but a few late bloomer trees had beautiful color. We stopped for a tour of the FDR Memorial, then made a site trip to the George Mason Memorial along he way, and then reached the Jefferson Memorial with the place already starting to get pretty crowded and it was still morning. I can't imagine what the Mall was like during the Festival. After visiting the Jefferson Memorial we continued around the basin and walked some side streets east. By now, it was starting to get towards lunch time and the walking was making all of us hungry. There really isn't much to eat (restaurant-wise) in the area. There are some places but they meant a real walk for a ways. We picks a corner vendor and rolled the dice by getting hot dogs and soft pretzels (with mustard of course). Then we backtracked north to the main part of the mall and walked east towards the Capitol. We crossed over the Mall on 12th and headed for the National Museum of American History. The last time I was in DC, Old Glory had just been put back on display and the lines to enter the building were hours long. This time, it was a straight shot in and through security and then into the thinly lit room (there is low light in the display room to help minimize damage to the flag). No picture taking was allowed...darn.

We headed back east towards the Capitol walking Madison Dr NW passing too many museums to count and several very colorful gardens and eventually we reached the steps of the US Capitol. Here it was time for a short break at the reflecting pool next to the US Grant Memorial. I walked up the steps just a bit to get a long view down the Mall. None of us wanted to head into the Capitol for a tour (really, not enough time) then we followed Pennsylvania Ave NW towards the White House. Lynn could hear some shouting coming from the area of the Robert A. Taft Memorial and we went to take a look. I guess it was the protest de jour and I declined...I don't drink the tea.

Eventually we reached the White House area. Seems like more area in front of the WH is not longer accessible. I'm not sure though. Still seems a bit weird to see even from afar, the scopes and people walking on top of the building. It feels far away but really...it's close. We walked park of The Ellipse before getting back onto Constitution Ave and heading west. Lynn wanted to visit the Vietnam Memorial. First, we stopped at the east end of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to visit the WWII Memorial. The water feature in the center had been drained and there was construction going on at the memorial's west end so the visit was short and we headed off to the wall.

The Vietnam Memorial really is a strange place to visit. Seems like a while ago but the families there to visit bring it back how recent it really all was. By now it was starting to approach our pickup time. So we made a beeline to the Lincoln Memorial. For me, this is one of my favorite places along the Mall. Each time I snap the same photos. I love this place. A great man. A wise man. The Gettysburg Address gives me chills each time I read the works carved into the inside of the memorial. We had a bit of time so seeing that the Korean Memorial was so close, we stopped there as well. Then it was a short wait for our ride. Sue warned us the pickup would be tricky. It needed to efficient and fast since there is not legal pull off to pickup or drop off passengers. Little Jillian had had enough of the car rides for the day and her exercising of her vocal cords was a sign she was really tired.

Later in the week Char, Lynn, and I headed off to Arlington NC. Really, this is a cool place to visit. The changing of the guard ceremony is solemn, breathtaking. I like to visit the area where many of the Supreme Court Justices are buried (paying my respects to a fellow Washingtonian William O. Douglas). We visited the Kennedy Gravesite as well. We did the trolley tour through the cemetery. It's reasonably priced and has regular drop offs and pick ups within the cemetery. Along the way we stopped at Arlington House. I'd never been able to get a full tour of the home. More was open this visit. The top floor (bedrooms) though was closed due to sequestration. This brought up a chuckle when I recalled a recent conversation with someone who was astounded that the Blue Angels were not flying in SeaFair this year. When I mentioned that was due to Sequestration, she responded with "what's that?" Oh well...

I did spend one afternoon late in the week walking from my sister's place in Alexandria down Duke Street and to the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria (and then back). Nice walk. Reminded me that it doesn't have to be hot in DC to be humid. Yuck.
Washington DC Slideshow

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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