Our trip to Washington DC
While we were discussing where we wanted to travel to in 2018, we named several countries that are on our bucket list. Then I mentioned that there were several states in the U.S. that we haven’t been to yet, so we decided to pick a new state each year to visit. We chose Washington DC for our first trip.
When I homeschooled our youngest daughter, history was one of our favorite subjects and I thought it would be fun to see some of the historical sites there.
We stayed at the Westin Alexandria in Virginia so we actually went to two new states on this trip. Alexandria was voted as one of the top places to visit in the U.S. I loved the cobblestone streets, historical old buildings and the waterfront. It’s a quiet, fun and charming place to visit. They have a free trolley that runs along King Street which is the center of all the activity there.
We had several places we wanted to visit during our trip and only four full days there, so our days were packed. On Tuesday we took a Potomac Riverboat Cruise to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s childhood home that he acquired in 1754. We were blessed with great weather thank goodness. The forecast had predicted rain and thunder storms the whole time we were there, but we ended up with great weather and it only stormed one day.
The Riverboat cruise was informative and relaxing. It was fun to think of all the people in history that floated down The Potomac River. We really enjoyed walking around George Washington’s estate and touring his home. I love old homes. They have a lot of the original furniture and things in his home. There’s so much to see there and it takes a full day to do so.
We had three tours set for Wednesday, so it was a very full and fast paced day. Our first tour of the day was The White House at 8 am and we had to arrive by 7:30. We were grateful to get passes to go inside and tour the East Wing. This was the tour we were all most excited about. It was awe inspiring to walk the halls and think of all the people and past presidents who’ve been there.
George Washington selected the site for the White House in 1791. After eight years of construction, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved into the unfinished house in 1800.
While we were there someone left a package outside the grounds and it was very interesting to see how quickly and efficiently the Secret Service responded to the security breach.
Our 2nd tour of the day was the FBI building. It was very informative and interesting. We learned about the organization and all that they do. They do a lot to keep us safe and prevent crime when they can. It’s all very secretive though so I can’t tell you much. haha!
At 3 pm we had a tour of the Capitol building which turned out to be a highlight of our trip thanks to our new friend George who gave us a personal, behind the scenes tour.
We had taken the group tour and we were waiting with our gallery passes to see the Senate and House galleries. You get to sit in the galleries and listen if they are in session. While we were waiting George stopped and asked me if we were going to see the galleries and was telling me how incredible it is and a must see. The tour guide had said it wasn’t a big deal to see the House Gallery since they weren’t currently in session. George said it was still incredible to see so I said we’d check it out. I thanked him for the suggestion, and he walked away.
Then he came back a few minutes later and told us to follow him and he would take us to the Galleries. We thought he was just taking us to the line where you check in. He did take us there but then he had us continue to follow him and he took us on a private tour. We got to go to places the public isn’t allowed. It was amazing! He spent the next four hours showing us around. It was great because the Capitol closed to the public and he took us back to some of the places we’d seen in the tour that were filled with people at the time and were empty now.
George went above and beyond, and we were all so excited and grateful. Instead of just seeing the House of Representatives from the gallery he took us to the floor. We were standing where the President of the U.S. gives the state of the union speech. He told us the history of the desks, which are the original ones and we even saw the bullet hole in one of the desks from the shooting that happened in there years ago when they allowed media in the room. He took us to places visitors don’t get to see. We saw the underground transit (train) the Representatives use to go back and forth between their offices and the Capitol and much more.
He also took us to the Senate Gallery, and we watched for a bit since they were in session. He explained how it worked because the room was pretty empty and when a Senator was speaking no one really seemed to be paying attention. He said if the Senators aren’t present their aids watch the video and tell them the details they need to know.
Our time with George was incredible and we felt so blessed to have met him and for his kindness and generosity.
After the tour we went to eat at Fare Well which is a vegan restaurant in D.C. The atmosphere and food were both great. We highly recommend it if you’re in the area.
We had one free day with no tours set up so went to a few of the Smithsonian museums. We saw the space museum, native American, and an exhibit of the dresses of the First Ladies of the U.S.
We also walked to the Lincoln Memorial which was wonderful. It’s so nice seeing it in person and honoring Lincoln in such a great way. We walked over 36 miles during our stay because we chose to walk as often as possible.
On our last day we went to the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court which also ended up being one of our favorite tours. It was very interesting. During the Supreme Court tour our guide said there’s a basketball court about the courtroom which makes it the “highest” court in the land.
All the tours were informative and gave us a whole new appreciation and understanding of our government system, how it works and the history of our country. We had a wonderful time and created some precious memories together.
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