Thursday, October 25, 2012

Touring Washington, D.C.

I went on an overnighter to Washington, D.C., last week to take part in the White House kitchen garden tour.  I took the direct flight from Des Moines to D.C., which left at 6 a.m.  I arrived in D.C. before 10 a.m., which gave me plenty of time to check out a few museums.

I wasn't allowed to take photos at a lot of places, but I did visit the National Archives to see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  I especially enjoyed the temporary exhibit on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's Cuban Missile Crisis showdown.  The exhibit included his hand-written notes and recordings from the events.

My next stop was the Newseum, a museum celebrating the history of the U.S. press.  I loved this place!  I learned so much about milestones in American history, as told through the news.  The top floor featured an archive of newspapers dating back to the 1600s!  I also spent a full hour just watching old TV clips of important news moments, including the Challenger disaster, Hurricane Katrina, D-Day, and on and on.  I could have spent another afternoon there and not seen everything. It was amazing.

And the Newseum had a balcony for taking photos of the D.C. skyline.

Rain clouds were moving in, and the museums closed at 5 p.m., so I walked around the National Mall and took in the sights.  My feet were too sore to walk all the way to the Lincoln Memorial, but I did stop in the Smithsonian sculpture garden and got a closer look at the Washington monument.

The next day, after the White House garden tour, I walked more than 2 miles just so I could eat lunch at the Smithsonian American Indian Museum. I heard great things about the cafeteria there, and it did not disappoint. I ordered the orange-glazed salmon, the wild rice salad with dried cranberries (amazing!) and roasted parsnips.  It was a welcome change from the diet of fast-food I'd been eating while on the road.

Have you ever visited Washington, D.C.?  What's your favorite D.C. spot to visit?  If I had a little more time, I would have liked to tour the International Spy Museum and the National Holocaust Museum.


  1. We used to live in that area and one of our favorite places was a huge statue called "The Awakening", a giant rising up out of the ground. It's in a park south of the mall along the Potomac. Washington DC is a great place to visit, so much history and great museums.

  2. I visited the D.C. area for a week during high school on a 4-H citizenship trip. We had a jam-packed week of learning and tours, some of it including the capitol building, senate offices in the Hart building, Ford Theater where Lincoln was shot, a trip to Mount Vernon (which I absolutely loved), the OSHA Review Commission (as part of the project my group was involved in), all the monuments and memorials, and so much more.

    But I think my favorite spot was the National Zoo. At that time, we were able to see the pandas Ling Ling and Psing Psing (if I spelled correctly). I also accidentally dropped a little sack of postcards and film down into the kangaroo enclosure while leaning over the rail. The kangaroos became curious and started tearing apart my things, until a zookeeper went in to retrieve my belongings.

    We took a chartered bus to D.C. and stayed overnight in Gettysburg, PA. I would say of the entire trip, that was definitely one of my favorites, visiting a Civil War battlefield. When my kids are a little older, I'm planning for our family to take a trip to D.C. and will put Gettsyburg on our list of stops.

    Definitely one of the most educational trips one could possibly ever make. Thanks for sharing your highlights, it brought back some great memories!


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