Washington DC Adventure – May 2017

OK, so I’m like WAY behind on my Adventure posts….and posts I need to do on other blogs I write for….it is so ridiculous! But…..I am going to work on catching up over the next few days to a week and then get much better at doing timely posts!

I went to DC May 8-12, 2017 with two friends. We talked about what we wanted to do and see while we were there and determined we’d have to go for a month to cram it all in! So, we decided to make this our inaugural trip and start making it an annual thing we would do together! We went for five days (two travel days and three days in DC doing sightseeing) this time and got a nice overview to provide a base trip to build off of on future trips. For our inaugural trip, we chose to see Arlington National Cemetery, take a night tour on a double decker bus, take in the monuments on the National Mall, see a show at Ford’s Theater, walk to the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and one of the Smithsonian Museums. Everything was pretty dag gum AWESOME!!! From the moment we arrived, we were overwhelmed with emotions. How can you be in the Capital of our great nation and not feel the history and passion of all our founding fathers and those who lead us through great wars and those who are honored for their bravery and sacrifice??? It is everywhere you look!

We took the train down – left out of the Rochester Amtrak station, changed trains in NY Penn Station, and arrived in DC at Union Station. It was an all day ride going down and coming back home. But, it was an awesome experience! I really love traveling by train! Since it took so long and we’ve done it once, we likely will fly and save travel time for future trips, but you never know what we’ll decide to do when the time comes!

We stopped at many little towns and cities along the way…..

…..and rode along the Hudson River with some really awesome views!!!

Inside Union Station, Washington, DC

Such an impressive and beautiful station where all the Amtrak and Metro trains come and go, as well as buses!

The first thing we saw when we exited Union Station to grab a taxi…….took my breath away……definitely told us we had arrived at our Nation’s Capital!!!

In front of Union Station was a monument to Christopher Columbus

We stayed at the Hotel Harrington – it is an older hotel (oldest hotel still operating as a hotel in DC) and showed its age in many ways…..but, it was very nice and clean and the location was FANTASTIC – right in the heart of everything and easy walk to many of the sights and close to Metro stops and restaurants. Also, the price was very reasonable for being right in downtown DC and it had what they call “Rooms for Five” – very large rooms with two double beds and one single bed that sleeps up to 5 people – which was perfect for three ladies traveling together! So, we have pretty much decided that this is going to be our hotel whenever we go to DC!

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

Just one of several photos I took of fields and fields of perfectly lined stones of our brave soldiers!

My travel buddies, Pat and Cathy, in front of the amphitheater at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers

The rear of the amphitheater facing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers

We were lucky in TWO ways – 1) we arrived just in time to witness the Changing of the Guard and 2) the process included one of only a handful of female soldiers in the service of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. It is only recently that they changed the criteria so that woman may participate.

This is Arlington House – it is said that President John F. Kennedy stood in front of this building and overlooked the hillside, admiring the breathtaking view, and said something to the effect of “I could stay here forever”, so right below it is where Jackie chose to have him buried after his assassination.

Here are me, Cathy, and Pat standing by the grave site of President John F. Kennedy

President Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the eternal flame, and Arlington House at the top of the hill in the background……to show the placement of his grave site in response to his admiration for the view from Arlington House.

Bobby Kennedy’s grave – while we were there, a robin sat perched on the cross that accompanies the grave

Along with the regular grave markers, there were many, many monuments, tributes, and fancier markers throughout the cemetery

Also in Arlington National Cemetery is a building that houses the Women in Military Service For America Memorial. My friend, Pat, is a veteran of the Marine Corp, so I got her photo by the entrance.

ARCHITECTURE

The city consists of building after building after building showcasing the most amazing architecture – just stunning!!! Here are just a few examples:

This is one of the newest museums – the African American Museum – built during the Obama Administration

This spectacular building was around the block from our hotel – we found it the first night when we decided to take a walk around the block after dinner. It was originally a post office and is now home of the Trump International Hotel. I was going to go back and take a peek inside, but didn’t get around to it…..will definitely do that on one of our future trips – I hear it is amazing inside!

FORD’s THEATER

Ford’s Theater is where President Lincoln was shot. We hoped to be able to see a show there and were happy to get tickets to see Ragtime. The show was amazing – we all absolutely loved it!!! But, the best part was that our seats were in the front row of the balcony – right across from the box seats where Lincoln sat that fateful night. It was really very surreal sitting there and looking across the way to those seats, knowing what happened there! Very emotional! There was also a museum on the lower level of the theater, which we took time to go through – it showcased his life, his presidency, the conspiracy to assassinate him, and the assassination.

Kitty corner across the street from the theater is the home where Lincoln was taken after he was shot – they put him in a back room to get him away from reporters and concerned citizens so they could summons a doctor. It was in this house where he actually died…..although, some reports say he died instantly and just pronounced dead there once the doctor arrived.

This is a sculpture of the swarm of office seekers leading up to Lincoln’s election…..bet you didn’t know that there was even a woman seeking office in his Administration…..hahaha!!!

View from our seats of the stage and the box seats where Lincoln was shot – no one ever sits there, now!

MONUMENTS AND OTHER SIGNIFICANT SIGHTS

We visited the National Mall monuments twice – once at night and once during the day. A lot of my night photos didn’t come out as good as I had hoped, but I was able to get at least one good photo of just about everything we saw!

Iwo Jima Memorial

Korean War Memorial – at night – I think it was most impressive at night, but even during the day, it was one of my favorite memorials – so realistic!!!

Korean War Memorial during the day

Lincoln Memorial at night

Lincoln Memorial at night

Lincoln Memorial at night

Washington Monument across the reflecting pool from the Lincoln Memorial at night

Cathy and me at the base of Lincoln’s chair

Selfie of me with Lincoln photo bombing me! hehehe

The Gettysburg Address

Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool from the top of the Lincoln Memorial

Washington Monument

The Jefferson Memorial – with Pat acting silly for the photo…….but, after I looked at it, it is even funnier seeing the silhouette of Jefferson looking like he is sneaking up on her to scare her!!! LOL

The Jefferson Memorial from across the lake

Jefferson is difficult to see inside his memorial columns until you get right up there!

Another nice long shot of the Jefferson Memorial taken from the MLK Memorial

The side of the MLK Memorial with the Jefferson Memorial in the distance. The MLK Memorial says “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope”. The memorial is Martin Luther King, Jr carved into this chunk of stone looking like it was pulled out of the mountain….see next photo

Very impressive — I really liked this one! The symbolism was awesome!

A salute to the Vietnam soldiers near the entrance to the Vietnam Memorial Wall

So many names on this massive wall of the Vietnam Memorial……the most emotional for us, since this war occurred during our lifetime

I especially like this photo — there was a Patriot Flight group visiting the wall – actual Vietnam War veterans taking etchings of their fallen friends, leaving flowers and mementos, and sobbing! It was an emotional sight…..I took the photo because I was really struck by seeing the reflections of these brave men and women who were there and survived to return…..their reflections becoming a part of the wall! I’m so glad it came out as good as I thought it would…..a perfect representation of that particular day at this particular memorial!

The Capital Building at night

The Capital Building during the day

The White House……this is about as close as you can get these days, without taking the tour!

The memorial that had special meaning to me…..one I wanted to be sure to see……was the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial. A very dear friend of mine died from injuries he sustained in the line of duty – he is the only Orleans County Sheriff Deputy who has been killed in the line of duty and is memorialized here. His name is David H. Whittier and I miss him dearly! The memorial is quite impressive – it is a horseshoe shaped wall with the names etched in panels all along it and lions at each of the two entrances. We had a hard time finding it…..we walked all over the city in the pouring rain trying to find it…..but, I was determine and I am so grateful that my friends stuck with me and didn’t give up!!! We finally found it and I was able to take a photo of David’s name on the wall!

The Smithsonian American Art Museum – after walking for hours in the pouring rain, we decided to get inside and see at least one Smithsonian on this visit – we plan to devote a future trip to other Smithsonians, but this one was the one that was there when we finally found the Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and needed a place to get in out of the rain, sit down, get a drink, and take in the exhibits!

The Smithsonian American Art Museum

I’ll leave you with this last photo……the flag at half staff at Arlington National Cemetery – it is always at half staff for two reasons: 1) it over looks JFK’s grave site, and 2) on any given day, there are several burials being performed, so it is flown at half staff in honor of those being interred. We were able to witness a funeral procession from afar the day we were there – the tour trolley stopped in respect of the service and we were asked to remain quiet and refrain from taking any photos. It was extremely emotional — the casket was carried by a horse drawn carriage and the processional consisted of many uniformed military men and women – this particular burial was of a Naval veteran and his family opted for one of the more elaborate funerals, hence the horse drawn carriage. There are many types of funerals available for families to choose from. I felt honored to be able to witness it.

I can not wait to start thinking about our next trip to DC – what will we choose to see the next time and when will we go…….time will tell, but it will definitely be during 2018 and will be our second annual trip!

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