Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our totally awesome (and educational) trip to D.C.: Day Two

I wanted to tell you guys ALL about our trip to D.C. in May, and I have a tendency to ramble, so I decided to break the trip down into posts by days.
Day Two: 

We woke up to a cool, drizzly morning.  Not to be deterred, we headed over to the Mall, where we checked out the Washington Monument again, this time not surrounded by dozens of tourists.  Most were doing indoor activities that morning, so we were basically alone on that hill.  It was excellent. 

Hubs ecstatic to be touching the Washington Monument.
 I loved seeing him get as excited about stuff as I was!

I was also thrilled to realize that if you're standing on the hill at the Monument, you can see the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Capitol and the White House in all four directions.  Gotta love clever geographical placement. 

Despite our gradual soaking from the constant drizzle, we decided to go ahead and check out the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials since there were no crowds to deal with.  (TIP:  Although it may look like it's not that far from one monument to another, it's actually a pretty good walk.  If you go, wear sneakers, not sandals.  I learned my lesson the hard way.)

I was super-excited about the Lincoln Memorial because I've always been fascinated with Honest Abe, his presidency and  assassination.  I've seen a thousand pictures of the momument, but to be standing in front of it is amazing.  It's a lot larger than I expected. 

See?  HUGE.

From Lincoln we walked to the Vietnam Memorial.  A sudden, somber mood fell over us as we walked along the wall of names.  I don't know if it was more eerie because we were the only ones there, or if the rain added to it, but I was so moved standing there looking at the thousands of names engraved in the wall.   Hubs suddenly stepped forward and placed his hand on the wall, and I had an urge to take a picture of it.  His father was in Vietnam, and I think an emotion he wasn't prepared for came over him. 

The drizzle finally let up, and the sun came out.  I was relieved because I had started to feel like a drowned rat.  My hair was stuck to my head, and my clothes were uncomfortably damp. 

We decided to start walking back to the Reagan Center, where we had parked our rental car, when suddenly I realized we were walking directly towards the White House.   I pulled Hubs excitedly toward the path that takes you right past the back side of the east wing, aka the most photographed portion of the White House.  People had started moving out on the streets, so we had to maneuver through a few tour groups and school field trips to get to the gate.  I had another "Ahhhh" moment as we stood in front of the home of our Presidents.  I'm such a nerd.

We had a scheduled tour of the White House for later in the afternoon, so we continued to the Reagan Center where we had lunch and hung out for a while to dry off.  We purchased two teeny tiny umbrellas for $10 each, just in case.

Our White House tour was fantabulous.  No pictures, of course.  Check in was surprisingly easy and quick, so we ended up going on our "self-guided" tour an hour earlier than our assigned time.  Basically they let you walk yourself through the entire first floor of the east wing.  There are armed guards in every room and throughout the hallways, but they were all super-friendly and answered questions and told funny stories about both President Obama and past presidents.  It was so amazing to be walking through the same rooms and hallways walked by Lincoln, Kennedy, and so many other historical giants.  It wasn't until after our tour that I realized that Hubs and I had stood in both places in Washington where JFK had laid in state.

We were standing in one of the larger rooms when Hubs nodded toward the hall and said, "Hey, that's the same rug from when Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed."  I rolled my eyes and said, "Nuh-uh."  He insisted that he was right, and asked the guard standing nearby.  The guard grinned and said, "Yep, that's right.  If you stand right there in the doorway, you'll be standing in the exact same spot as President Obama when he made the announcement."  Well of course Hubs had to go stand there.  Wish I could have taken a picture of that.    

I was like a giddy child throughout the entire tour, but it was okay because everyone else on the tour was equally excited.  I mean really, how many of us everyday Joes can say they've walked through the White House?  Exactly.

After our White House tour we went to meet up with my uncle, his girlfriend and her children, who all live in Maryland and rode over to visit with us for a while.  I was thrilled because it had been over ten years since I'd seen him last.  We went to the Museum of American History and had a great time.  That museum is huge, and although we spent about three hours inside, I doubt we saw everything. 

From there we headed towards Chinatown to have dinner at this place my uncle insisted was the best Chinese food in D.C.  On the way we stopped in a place called the Old Post Office and rode a rickety old (terrifying) elevator up to the 18th floor of the clock tower, where we could see for 9 miles in every direction.  That was pretty cool.

We continued our walk to Chinatown, and passed Ford's Theatre (AAAHHHH), and the house across the street where Lincoln died.  Wish we could have gone inside!
My uncle was right about the restaurant.  It was great.  Uncle and Hubs decided to be brave and drink some Chinese beer.  I played it safe with warm tea. 

Hubs and Uncle with their Chinese beer.
After dinner Uncle, his girlfriend and the kids had to head home, so Hubs and I were left to find something to do.  We made it to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum about an hour before they closed, so we decided to have some fun and pose with famous wax celebrities.

There were some really great historical figures, like Washington, Lincoln, General Lee, JFK and Jackie, etc, but we had more fun with the celebrities. 

Ah, George. 
Hubs getting naughty with Britney.
 Before calling it a night and heading back to the hotel, I made Hubs walk back to the White House with me to get a photo at night.  Glad we did that.  It's a beautiful building, but it's even more stunning lit up at night.

Check back tomorrow for Day Three, and the conclusion of our totally awesome and educational trip to D.C.!


  1. I am SO JEALOUS you did the White House tour! So awesome!

  2. wow!! this looks like a great trip!!!! you two are too