Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Washington DC - What A Place

In the continuing saga of working The Plan, I planned a vacation for my wife and myself to one of our most favorite destination, Washington DC. When discussing my goal with a friend recently, he informed me that as a retired person, you do not take vacations. Instead, you take trips to desired destinations. Ok, whatever!

Our first trip to Washington was in March of 1987 so needless to say, things have changed a bit since our last visit. In particular, security police were present at every location we visited along with endless metal detectors and bag inspections before entering any federal building. In some respects, it was as if we never left the airport and the TSA.

If you have never been to Washington, you are missing an experience which I believe has few equals. The opportunities to sight see are endless and every museum of the Smithsonian houses a national treasure that you should see before departing this earth.

Before you jump in the car and head to the "Big City", I offer the following recommendations for your considerations:
  1. Purchase a comfortable pair of walking shoes because you will need them. During our trip, we averaged five miles of walking per day.
  2. Get a guide book and read it before you go along with a map of the city.

  3. Develop a list of sights you want to visit and then establish priorities. Trust me, you will never see everything.
  4. The Smithsonian is not one museum, it's actually a complex of 16+ museums scattered across the city.

  5. Finally, forget about driving in the city because parking is extremely scarce. Ride the Metro subway or the bus.

I have included a few photos from our recent trip to hopefully peak your interest. As you might guess, most of the monuments and buildings are huge so it's difficult to get a picture without some of the endless distractions cause by construction, security fences, or traffic.

Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington is located about thirty miles south of the city but definitely worth the trip. In the photo, the house appears huge because of it's length but in reality it's much smaller because it's very narrow width. Once inside, you actually begin to feel a little claustrophobic.

This is the view of the Potomac River George Washington enjoyed while sitting on the back porch. It's easy to see why he loved the place so much.

A view of the main house from the upper gardens. We spent over two hours just exploring the grounds and gardens.

The Capital dome as seem from the Botanical Gardens.

The white structure in the distance is the Lincoln Memorial as seen from the World War II memorial.

The Washington Monument is visible from just about everywhere. This is how it appears from the World War II memorial.

The reflection wall inside of the Korean War memorial serves a reminder to all of us.

These soldiers are part of the Korean War Memorial

A volunteer polishing "The Wall" aka the Vietnam Memorial. The Wall is a very moving experience.

The boots of a fallen GI placed in from of The Wall

The World War II memorial looking east to the Atlantic Gate

The Jefferson Memorial as seen across the Tidal Pool

I was fascinated by the sheer size of the columns which support the roof over the Jefferson Memorial

Two fallen leaves from a Ginkgo tree located at the National Zoo


Rhea said...

I've been to Washington a million times because my sister lives there. Some of my favorite sights are the Korean war soldier sculptures, almost anything at the Smithsonian, the Folk Art Festival on the Mall in the summertime, the bicycle tour I took last time, the Spy Museum. I've never been to Mount Vernon. One day...

Amy said...

Great photos, Steve! I've been a frequent visitor to DC and did an internship there a million years ago as a college student. I love visiting, but I would not want to live there. The Metro is definitely the way to go.

Steve said...

I was in Washington D.C. all last week. I agree, what a place!