Monday, June 15, 2009

Our D.C. Vacation

All of my kids and my husband had all been to D.C. But I hadn't! Bud kept telling me we would go "next year". So, this year was it! We left the Moline airport Friday, June 5th bound for D.C. I was so excited for this vacation. First to see D.C. and secondly because Bud and I have never really had much of a vacation for just the two of us--even after 34 years! We flew into Baltimore as the rates were much better. After a Super Shuttle trip through D.C. traffic we finally arrived at our motel. We stayed at Embassy Suites about 1.5 miles from the mall(where the monuments are.....not shopping!). We had a wonderful suite, hot breakfast, and snacks and drinks in the evening. We checked in, talked to the concierge and headed off to see the monuments in the drizzle and to eat at Union Station!

Saturday we again headed out for the mall only to find out that there were about 45,000 walkers/runner in the mall area, so the buses weren't running. So on foot we headed to the Washington Memorial to get our tickets for the evening trip to the top, saw the Jefferson Memorial, the Holocaust Museum, the Wall, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Korean Memorial, the Smithsonian Castle, and the Air and Space Museum. We then went up into the Washington Memorial at dusk, and then went back to the Korean Memorial to view it in the dark. We opted for a taxi to get back to the hotel. WHEW!! We estimated that we walked about 15 miles that day!

Sunday we took off on a bus tour headed for Mt. Vernon in beautiful weather. We spent about three hours there and could have spent more time, but we had to board the bus again. We viewed several places in Alexandria, VA then the Iwo Jima Memorial on the way to Arlington Cemetery. At Arlington Cemetery we boarded a tram which toured us around the cemetery and we watched the changing of the guards. Next was the Air Force Memorial we were then on to the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon. We ended our day with supper at Union Station.

Monday we boarded a tram which toured us around the U.S. Capital, the White House, Ford Theatre, and some of the office buildings. We then disembarked at the Smithsonian Castle. We headed for the Museum of Natural History. We saw the Hope Diamond and I took a lot of photos of rocks and minerals to use in an imovie for science. Then we headed for the Museum of American History. There we saw the ruby slippers, First Ladies' Dresses, a Lincoln Display, and more than I could possibly tell you. We then embarked on a new experience as we changed hotels and needed to take the train to the Baltimore Airport area.

Tuesday we again boarded the train (the MARC) to head into D.C. First we went to ChinaTown. (Don't go there!) We had both seen ChinaTown in New York and I had also in San Francisco, and thought we'd enjoy this one, but it isn't much. Then, we visited the Smithsonian Photo Gallery. This is where the presidential portraits are displayed. I loved the photos. It is so hard to imagine how old some of these paintings are and how well preserved they are. We then went down to the fish market. It was interesting to see the fresh fish and how BIG the shrimp are. We had a wonderful lunch of crabcakes. YUM! After that we were off to the IMAX at the Air and Space Museum. There we watched Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. We walked out the door to a downpour! After catching a bus back to Union Station and eating supper we said good-bye to D.C. and boarded the MARC.

Wednesday we took "light rail" to Baltimore where we visited the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We had a tour of the Basilica which was very interesting. We then took off for Inner Harbor. There Bud toured the USS Constellation, the last all sail warship built by the US Navy and also a submarine. I relaxed at the Cheesecake Factory with my book. Then our fun was over! We checked out of the hotel and headed home.

This was definitely not a restful vacation! We WALKED and we WALKED! But we saw many wonderful things. I am so happy to have visited all of these memorials and museums. A bonus is that now when I discuss some of these things with my students I have first person experience in being there.

I hope you have enjoyed a few of our photos. If you haven't been to D.C. you must put it on your list.


bradroos said...

What a wonderful vacation you had! Sounds like you packed a lot of sites in- you must be a good "planner". Isn't the Holocaust Museum moving? Were you there around the time of the shooting?

Thanks for sharing the great pictures! Patty

Laurie said...

You brought back so many memories Kim, I was in D.C. in 1968, I was 14. All the memorials were stunning and awesome to be in the precense of. We toured the White House, saw Pres. Johnson's beagles chasing squirrels, the Smithsonian, Arlington where we also saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, President Kennedy's grave, and so much more. Thanks for the memories!