Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm Proud to be an AMERICAN!

As with any trip we take I try to document it as many ways as possible, one being my blog. If you don't want a to read it I completely understand! But just be thankful that this is just a smidgen of the 1200 pictures we took!
Day 1- People thought that my family flew separately because we were flying on 9.11 but the truth was E and I flew with American Airlines points and D and hubby flew with Continental. This resulted in the girls arriving in DC at 2:00 am. Therefore our trip began on Saturday the 12th. The very first thing we saw as we got off the metro was 1 million people marching to the Capitol for the National Tea Party! What fun it was to see democracy in action no matter how you feel about healthcare!
After we rubbed elbows with all the rebels we headed to the Air & Space Museum. D has been dreaming about this place ever since he could walk so of course it was first. Afterall, this trip was to celebrate HIS 8th birthday. E and I were simply along for the ride!
After that we headed to the Museum of American History. Some of the highlights were Julia Child's kitchen (was it popular before Julie& Julia?), the inaugural gowns of first ladies, C3PO, a section of the Berlin wall and many items from each war. The kids really got into all the history!
We spent a lot of time taking the Metro, but soon learned that the train stations do not go past the Washington Memorial. So we walked and walked and walked. On this trek we visited the Washington Memorial, the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. DO NOT make the same mistake I did and forget the Korean Memorial, which from pictures seems to be the most impressive of them all! (kicking myself big time!)

Seeing "Honest Abe" for the first time was a thrill for me! Almost as breathtaking as the Eiffel Tower!

Probably the biggest highlight of this entire trip for me was to see my uncle's name on the Vietnam wall. My uncle was my dad's brother, very close in age and also his best friend. Although I never met my uncle I felt close to his memory here because he is such a part of my dad .Remember this is still Day 1! By this time we were all getting a little grumpy, especially THE TWEEN! But we had to stop at the White House. D thought it was so cool to see the snipers on the roof! Little did we know this was the only time we would see the WH. We simply ran out of time!

Day 2- We had gone through our area Representative to arrange a couple of tours. They had scheduled us for a Library of Congress tour at 8:30 am. We all got up very early and headed there only to find out it is closed on Sundays! It did provide a nice picture opportunity as there is NOONE around that early on a Sunday morning!

After going back to the hotel room for a little bit more shut eye we decided to split up. The boys headed to The Museum of Natural History while E and I headed to the Portrait Gallery. This was fascinating to see all of the most famous American portraits in real life!

We met up with the boys at Arlington National Cemetery. We only had time to see the Kennedy graves and the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. What a spiritual place this is! I was disappointed that we did not have time to find my uncle's time!
We hiked along the highway, yes along the highway, to this famous statue! It was soooo worth it. I could not take my eyes off of it. E was not impressed...grumpiness had set in again. Time for bed!
Day 3- Time to get out of the city to see some VA suburbs. Ahhhh, I have been waiting to see the East and it did not disappoint! We took the metro and a city bus to Mount Vernon. It is possible! What a fabulous place it is! I gained so much respect for our first president after visiting his beloved home and place of death. Now he was a true hero!
Did I mention how awesome Mount Vernon is? Besides the historical property (the dining room is amazing) and the surrounding farm and gardens there is now an educational center which rivaled any of the Smithsonian museums we had seen. There are tons of artifacts like swords and clothes and his teeth (the ARE NOT wooden they are human and animal teeth!!!yuck!) but there are movies too. One movie is a reenactment of the Yorktown battle and your seat vibrates and it snows in the theater. For a second it felt like Disneyland!
After we left Mount Vernon we hopped off the metro in Alexandria. What a charming, quaint town it is! I could've brought home many souvenirs for my home but did not spend a cent! Definitely worth a visit if you can!
Day 4- the final day- I have to say I was a little stressed trying to fit everything in! We began by going back to the Library of Congress. We got into a tour, but you do not need a tour! Do it yourself, but definitely do it because the decor is unbelievable. It is the most elaborate building I have ever seen...and I have been to Versailles!

We then headed to our Capitol tour arranged through our rep. This was another highlight! It was amazing to see Congress debating over healthcare. Something I will never forget! I was completely taken back by the beauty of the Capitol building. I always thought that the White House was DC's crowning jewel but the Capitol really looks like a wedding cake top. Inside the rotunda is inspiring!

After the Capitol tour we quickly headed to the National Archives to see the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. E was very impressed and bought her own set to take home.

We decided to split up again. The boys went to Ford's Theater where Lincoln was shot. They then headed to the Smithsonian Castle. .

E and I hopped on the metro and headed to Georgetown for some shopping. We never did find the University though

The last thing we did in DC was something I wanted to do at the very beginning...hop on a double decker bus and see the layout of the city! Whenever I go to a new city I like to do this to get acquainted with the neighborhoods. I was vetoed when we arrived and I finally got my way on the last night to do the moonlight tour. WOW! Seeing the sights at night, up top a double decker bus, in weather not even needing a sweatshirt WAS AMAZING!
I am not a history buff nor am I a politics lover...but I am American!
Every American should see our Nation's Capitol to learn about the past, witness the present and appreciate our future!


tammy said...

Great Pics!!! What an experience for the kids...even the grumpy Tween!!!

Jessica said...

Between talking with Gpa recently about DC and seeing your pics, I think I may need to go. Looks like you had an amazing time!

Silcox Stories said...

Such an wonderful trip! Can you believe how much there is to do and you couldn't even fit it all in in 4 days. Some of your favorites are also my favorites.

I agree everyone should make at least 1 trip to our nations capital; you will not be disappointed!

Oh and we had about 500 pictures from our 2 1/2 day stay- I didn't want to forget or miss anything!

Laura said...

Great pictures!! Thanks so much fir sharing your trip! xxoo

..Kris Naven.. said...

How awesome! I went there when I was in 8th grade and this brought back such wonderful memories! Thanks so much for sharing! You took fantastic pictures too by the way!

Nate said...

I can't believe you posted on my blog so fast! I thought it was forgotten! You went to D.C.?! I went when I was 13, would love to go back. Miss you!

Di said...

Sounds like a great family trip. I went to Washington DC when I was 17 - took a boat trip down the river to Mount Vernon - that house stuck with me for eveer. Also, my town, Dundee here in Scotland, is twinned/sister city of Alexandria so it was nice to see some pictures!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your trip, I enjoyed every bit of it!

Liz R. said...

wow! very cool! you guys really did pack a lot in didn't you! how fun. thanks for sharing your vacay with us!

michelle said...

I saw some American History sights the summer after graduating from high school. It was an unforgettable trip. (almost 13 years ago!)

I wish I lived closer and could have participated in the Tea Party too. :)

Carissa said...

I love Washington D.C. I'm so glad you guys had such an amazing trip. I can't wait to take my kids there someday.