Monday, October 05, 2009

Vacation Post #2: One Day in Washington DC

The memorial to Thomas Jefferson, the much-admired 3rd US president and principal writer of the Declaration of Independence.  He founded the University of Virginia and was a profoundly-talented political thinker, lawyer, scholar, architect, plantation owner, inventor and philosopher.  He was also a horticulturalist, astronomer, voracious reader, and he loved French food.  Quel homme!  Apparently he could also do a surgery if required. 

David and I recently returned home from a 2-week trip to Washington DC and Virginia.  I was surprised to find that I was positively smitten with Washington DC!  I did not have huge expectations for this city, other than excitement at seeing all the famous monuments that I've seen in films and documentaries over the years.  But I was deeply touched by the capitol's rich cultural and political history.  I think the experience was deepened by all the reading and research I did before I went, which gave this amazing town so much context and depth.  I found the city and its museums and monuments utterly captivating.  I loved every minute of our 3-day visit and could have stayed another week just to visit museums!

Here are some photographic highlights of our first day's exploration.

My favorite monument of all, the Jefferson Memorial:  
I am oddly fond of Jefferson after reading so much about him and learning what a scholar and liberal thinker he was for his time.  But Jefferson was also a slaveowner, which tempers my adoration of him.  It is said that he treated his slaves well, if that is any consolation, and one must consider the times, I suppose.
Here is his memorial, on the tidal basin, surrounded by hundreds of cherry trees, a gift from Japan:
We had the Jefferson Memorial almost entirely to ourselves (Advice to travellers: visit DC in September and hope for a rain!):
The monument is an open-air design, which is perfect on a cool, breezy, slightly rainy Fall day:Classical architecture abounds in Washington DC:
I love this view:  the Washington Monument from the Jefferson Memorial, across the lake-like Tidal Basin (which is an actual tidal catch basin for the Potomac, which does flood!):
A fun glimpse into current US politics.  Say "no" to socialized health care:
The Eternal Flame at the John F. Kennedy burial site at Arlington National Cemetery (across the river from DC).  Jackie Kennedy Onassis is buried here also, along with two of their children who died (Patrick and an unnamed Infant Daughter):
The recent burial site of Ted Kennedy, with Robert E. Lee's Arlington House in the background (the house was occupied by Lee but abandoned during the Civil War and the site used as a Civil War burial ground, which began the area's use in this capacity):
Note the simple wooden cross, which is the same as found on Bobby Kennedy's nearby grave.   These are the permanent markers, which are surprisingly humble.  Both graves are just down the hill from JFK's, which was the busiest spot in the cemetery.

A scene from Arlington National Cemetery, a military cemetery where servicemen and women who have lost their lives in service or post-service may be buried.  The cemetery is actively used and there are several funerals weekly.  The site may also be used for burial of individuals who have given their lives in political service of their country, including presidents, senators, and so on:
Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery:
The memorial to another amazing president, Abraham Lincoln (who happens to appear in my family tree...sadly, not as a direct ancestor!):  
Lincoln was America's 16th president and was president during the American Civil War (1861-65).  He was an opponent of slavery:The Washington Monument across the reflecting pond, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:
An amazingly humble memorial is shown below.  This is where Martin Luther King stood when he gave his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech to a huge assembled crowd of civil rights protestors.  The demonstration was held at the Lincoln Memorial because Abraham Lincoln was a proponent for civil rights and lead the Union to victory in the Civil War:
Lincoln Memorial from afar.  Imagine the thousands of people gathered here for Martin Luther King's speech:
The Korean War Memorial, consisting of numerous ghostly statues (below).  This memorial was very touching:
After visiting the Vietnam War memorial (not shown), we walked the length of the Reflecting Pond, towards the Washington Monument:
The Jefferson Memorial from the Reflecting Pond:
The back of the White House (below)!  We were exhausted by this point and didn't bother going around front since there was too much construction blocking the views:
That was our first exhausting day in Washington.  I took a TON of photos but won't bore you with more details.  I will post a few more highlights of our trip soon!


  1. Gorgeous photos - I love the mix of sepia, black and white and color - and your post made me very homesick. Can't wait to read about the rest of your travels.

  2. DC is gorgeous. I love visiting, and loved even more seeing it fresh through your lens - you have such an amazing eye.
    xo Isa

  3. You seem to have had an interesting time. I have always thought that I would like Washingtown.
    xo Poppins

  4. Wonderful post you did! And those pictures! Did you take mostly of them! Well very beautiful!


  5. Hi Terri!
    Thanks so much, I love to take photos, it is my passion,,,nice pics from the big land over there. I would so love to go there sometime, I have relatives over there I never met.


  6. What wonderful photos you've shared. I'm so glad that you enjoyed your visit to Washington. It really is a beautiful city and I hope to return there myself someday. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

  7. Sounds like you had a really great time and your photos are great. Please show more-you're not boring me at all!! :-) I loved Washington. We went for a week 3 summers ago when my niece worked at the Canadian Embassy. A week was not enough time and like you, I could've stayed longer to see All the museums and sites, not to mention the fabulous U.S. shopping.

  8. Beautiful pictures. I love D.C., and am glad you enjoyed it as well. I also hope you show more, because I, for one, would enjoy them.

  9. Wow. You saw all that in one day?! I've never been but look forward to seeing DC myself one day soon. Glad you had such a good time! (loved the blogger party post too btw!-what a happy coincidence that you could be there)

  10. haha you won't believe this but Lincoln is in Dave's family tree too haha!!! (from the Canadian side!!) Maybe you're distant cousins!!

    loved seeing these pics & hearing your experience... makes me realize that it's been far too long since I've enjoyed what's right around me here!!

    Since y ou loved it so much you have to some back (and stay with us!!)


  11. Hi Terri!

    Wow what a lovely trip! The Memorial sure is impressive! And I loved the photo that you took along the Reflecting Pond! Absolutely beautiful photos!

    Have a great weekend!

    Hugs, Susanne

  12. Great pictures of the monuments. One of the best things I've done in DC is had a night-time tour of the monuments. They glow at night because of the white marble.

    Can't wait for more pix.

  13. Thank you for the tour and the beautiful places you stayed!

  14. great photos of DC -(but thats the FRONT of the white house) facing Pennsylvania avenue! the back faces the national mall and isn't always clearly visible.

  15. Just found your blog and love it! D.C. will always feel like home to me as it is where I grew up. We have a picture of our three year old son holding hands with one of the Korean War Memorial statues. It is one of those amazing pictures we took on the fly that we now treasure.