Surprise Summer Trip || Washington D.C. In A Day

Our first trip destination was
Washington D.C.

We set out from the hills of Maryland early in the am as the fog was lifting.
It really is a pretty state. And even this far out (probably 1hr 45min) from DC
there were park and ride parking lots for those that commuted in to work.
I cannot relate to that or imagine that in contrast to my 4 minute commute!
As we traveled East we picked and area to spend the night that would allow us 
to leave around 7am and head into the city to make the most of our day.
This stop was perfect (Holiday Inn Hagerstown MD for reference) for us, we 
had driven far enough and it left a little over 2 hours into city next morning (the traffic).
At this point the boys still did not know where we were headed...
they started getting an idea from the road signs as we got closer to the city!

And our view changed from mountains to crowded roadways as we drew closer to the city.
This was the norm.  There were no wrecks here, just everyone going the same way!
We saw this RED on our maps many times this week.  We are not used to this on our travels south!

Our very first view from the van, and the boys were pumped at this point
 They knew for sure we were going to see Our Nation's Capital!

DH did some fantastic maneuving thru the city.
To explain a bit: we had one day in the city...
and some would say why go?
But, DH said why not?
And he was right, we had not been before so what was there to lose?
But, planning one day was a bit overwhelming.
Park and Ride, Public Transit, Walk, Tour Guide, Bus Tour, Trolley Tour....oh my heavens!

So, we decided to drive in and walk (for the most part). 
We used an app called ParkWhiz and reserved a parking spot on our drive out
so that we could GPS to a specific spot and that worked great!
We parked near the White House and did our walking from there.
The back of the White House in first picture above was our 1st stop,
so neat and if you go I recommend the back of the White House,
we could see so much more people milling in and around inside the gates.
  The view from the front is grand, but so far from any activity. 
 President Trump was not there as he was out of town on vacation. 
 I mean otherwise, I am certain he would have let us in.
There were not secret service all the way around or anything.
So, I 'm just going to tell you that in my Southern Indiana mind where there is green everywhere,
I actually thought the White House was not right in the middle of the city.
I have no idea why - I assume because in pictures you see green everywhere
and they speak of the White House Lawn, etc.
DH would say that I shouldn't document that, but I was floored that it was surrounded on all sides by city streets, buildings etc!  Ha.

Eisenhower Office Building was next to the White House
and it was almost as grand. We walked the back, whole length of the side,
and saw the front and I really enjoyed the historic quality of this building.

Front of the Eisenhower building, I really liked the architecture in this one.
From the White House grassy area looking down at the Washington Monument.
This Monument really does have a sight-line from all around the city.
From many points as we walked around, this monument was visible.
Holding the monument in his hand!
Our family at the White House.
The boys proved to be perfect ages for this trip.
Other ages may work as well, but I had a small backpack with water
 (wish I had a small towel, it was HOT, like see my shiny forehead, that is not a reflection) 
and we all wore tennis shoes and were set for the day.
They were old enough to want to see everything and appreciate each site.

Sam - 11  Joe (almost 10)
We discovered that they loved D.C. - we did not see it all, and would love to go back someday.
Walking from  the White House towards Washington Monument 
My guys in the background.
The monument was closed for renovation on the inside, we enjoyed the view anyway!
And we very excited when the Lincoln Memorial was in view.
The reflecting pool was a favorite as well, they loved the ducks here.
We found Indiana at the World War II Memorial on our way up to Lincoln Memorial.
This Memorial was very Peaceful
We found a bench in the shade and drank some water, then headed on up to the Lincoln Memorial.
There are just SO many sights to take in.

A favorite picture of the trip.
Joe stayed close in the crowds, and wanted to hold hands all day!

Our first sight of Lincoln.
These monuments were very reverent, people were friendly and cordial.
There was not pushing etc, there were crowds but everyone was taking in the same sights together.
I loved the grandness of the Lincoln Memorial. 
 I loved just how close we could get to the Lincoln Statue,
the sounds inside that echoed.
Sam wondered if the floors were made of quartz.

We walked towards the Vietnam War Memorial

This one was a bit emotional for me, seeing each of those names and there was someone taking a charcoal rubbing of a name of a loved one nearby and the flowers left.  
It was just overwhelming the list of names of everyday heroes.

Our next stop was Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
It could not have come at a better time.
A/C and Lunch.
Perfect Combo for a much needed refresher!
And seriously, they had sweet and sour in the pumps, what?
Who does that - I had 3.
The Observatory was right outside where we ate
We could view the sun and they had info about the upcoming Solar Eclipse Aug 21
We added our dot to the map of where our sight line will be
and the girl working wished she lived closer to the eclipse like us!
MANY cool spaceships and airplanes were inside these walls.
Perfect for a couple of boys!
We loved seeing the Wright Bros. Plane.
Sam would rather read about the plane than take pictures.
He cracked me up, we would just get to where he could read and I would ask for a picture and he would get so annoyed, ha!

A plane Amelia Earhart flew
And just before their flight simulator in 07.
They came out wide eyed after it went fully upside down, but they loved it!

Joe picked and early birthday gift from the Smithsonian and we headed to our last must make stop the National Archives.
The Capital building was down this mall and we enjoyed the view from afar!
The National Archives
this was my favorite and since I am writing, I get to tell you all about it!
It's entrance was almost hidden to the left of these stairs, no way in at the top.
One might assume it had a grand entrance, but it was much more secure.
It felt like it was portrayed in the movies.
Fairly sterile, historic and very COLD after a long day walking.
There were no pictures allowed inside.
But, we took an elevator to the Rotunda and received specific instruction
before we entered the floor where the Declaration of Independence , The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights were displayed.  One of the guards were very comical and told us many facts, fascinating. 
It was a perfect ending to our day in D.C.
We were about 14 block uphill walk from our van at this point so we hailed a cab
and called it part of our D. C. experience!
We loaded in the car and saw the Pentagon and Entrance to Arlington National Cemetery on our way out of town to surprise stop #2 of the trip.  
We would LOVE to go back.  We want to see much more especially the changing of the guards.
But, we are so much more enriched with what we have seen and are thankful for that!