Washington DC

Washington D.C. Cherry Blossoms and More

On our last evening in DC we walked around the Tidal Basin where there is the highest concentration of Cherry Blossoms that were in full bloom. Cherry Blossoms are a big thing in DC, they even have a Cherry Blossom festival every spring.

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There are several memorials to check out as you make your way around the Tidal Basin. The first one we came to was the Jefferson Memorial.

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Jefferson Memorial

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Thomas Jefferson

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As we continued walking around the loop we noticed that in some areas there were so many cherry blossoms it looked like snow!

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Next we arrived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Eleanor Roosevelt

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More cherry blossoms

Continuing on we arrived at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

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Martin Luther King, Jr

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And more cherry blossoms

After making our way completely around the Tidal Basin and visiting all of those memorials we were back out at the Reflecting Pool where we had been a couple of days earlier. This time we were there in the evening when everything was lit up really pretty.

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Lincoln Memorial across the Reflecting Pool

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World War II Memorial at night

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Representing Florida!

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Washington Monument lit up at night

We ended our time in Washington D.C. on such a high note by spending this time viewing the cherry blossoms and seeing DC lit up at night. After 3 full days of exploring the city we were completely exhausted, but so grateful for all that we got to see and experience.

If you missed my first two posts on DC you can see them here: Washington D.C. Memorials and Arlington and Washington D.C. Capitol and Museums.

Also, another Fulltime Family blogged about their time in DC that I found extremely helpful in planning our time there. If you would like some tips on visiting, I would recommend reading her posts starting here: Barry Good Times.

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Washington D.C. Capitol and Museums

One of the highlights of our time in DC was visiting the Capitol building.

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A few months before our trip I contacted our congressman’s office to schedule some tours. They set up our own personalized tour of the Capitol building by an intern working for their office. While talking with the intern during our tour we realized that his parents live in the same area of Florida where we used to live and he was also homeschooled! Not only that but I recognized his mom’s name when he mentioned it. We have over 20 mutual friends on Facebook so I knew her name sounded familiar. It turns out she’s friends with lots of my other homeschool mom friends back in Fernandina. Small world!

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Anyway, we really enjoyed our tour! The rotunda which is the large room under the big dome you see on the outside of the building was really beautiful on the inside. There were famous paintings surrounding the room featuring our nation’s early history.

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Ceiling of the rotunda.

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Old Supreme Court Chamber used from 1810-1860.

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Memorial honoring the heroes of Flight 93 on 9/11/2001.

The absolute best part of our Capitol tour was getting the chance to sit in the House Gallery which is the room you see on TV where the state representatives argue about political stuff. Unfortunately we could not take any phones or cameras in the there, in fact the security to get in there was very extensive (including those full-body scanners they use at airports). It was worth it though to get to sit in and watch and listen to some representatives argue about a budget amendment. I can’t say the subject matter was all that interesting, and I honestly did not recognize any of the people in the room, but it was still really cool to sit in and watch that nonetheless.

In addition to the Capitol, we also visited Ford’s Theater where President Lincoln was assassinated. The museum was very well done and had many exhibits about Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and the Civil War.

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After touring the museum, we were able to sit in the theater to listen to a ranger talk about the events of the night of the assassination.

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Theater box where President Lincoln was sitting the night he was shot.

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Peterson House where he was taken after being shot where he later died the next morning.

We also visited the National Archives museum but unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures there either. We saw the original documents of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It was very cool to see those original documents, even though the writing was quite faded and difficult to read.

Lastly we visited the new Museum of the Bible. The children’s area was really fun!

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Jesse pretending he is Samson knocking over the pillars.

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Jake doing the same thing.

There were a lot of arcade style games with Biblical themes that the kids loved playing.

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While they played in there I wandered around some more of the museum. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there and I didn’t get to see much of the museum, but I did like the Amazing Grace exhibit featuring the history of the writer of the famous hymn, John Newton.

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The museum had 6 floors and I only had time to explore one. I guess that means we’ll have to go back again someday.

Also, we never had a chance to make it to any of the Smithsonian museums. I didn’t realize there was so much to see and do in DC and I clearly did not plan on enough time there. What my friends at Ditching Suburbia taught me is that we should not leave an area with regrets of what we did not see. It’s impossible to see it all, and it’s always nice to have a reason to return. We definitely left many reasons to return to see more of DC!

I will have one more post about our time in DC to share pictures of the cherry blossoms. We coincidentally timed our visit perfectly so that we were able to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom! Stay tuned for that post next.

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Washington D.C. Memorials and Arlington

We had an amazing time exploring Washington D.C. I will need to write about it in more than one post, otherwise this would be too long.

We stayed at Cherry Hill RV Park in College Park, Maryland. This was the perfect place for us to stay because we didn’t have to drive the truck anywhere! The campground offers daily sightseeing information sessions to help you learn how to get around DC. The Metro bus stops right at the campground and takes you to the Metro station where you can take the train right into DC. We got Metro cards from the campground and were able to re-load them at any station.

Our first day we took the Metro to Arlington National Cemetery. Before going there we did a lesson on the history of Arlington. I learned about this lesson from another Fulltime Family and you can download it for free here: Arlington Activities. This study was so helpful to us in preparing for our time visiting Arlington.

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Arlington National Cemetery is beautiful and sobering all at the same time. It is a sea of gravestones as far as you can see. It’s incredible to think that each one of these represents someone that sacrificed for our freedom. Someone that doesn’t even know me, yet I get to enjoy freedom thanks to each of these remarkable people. To say I’m grateful would be such an understatement.

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Freedom is definitely not free.

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If you look closely in the picture below on the left-hand side you can see horses pulling a casket to a funeral. Arlington averages over 20 funerals each weekday!

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We got to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We learned about this in the lesson we did, and I found it so interesting how much goes into ensuring that this tomb is properly guarded and respected by soldiers that must pass a very strict process to be able to participate in this.

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

We also visited John F. Kennedy’s gravesite where an eternal flame glows, although you can’t see the flame in the picture below (it really was there!)

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My favorite quote from John F. Kennedy.

After visiting the cemetery, we walked across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool and several other memorials.

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Korean War Memorial

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Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial

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Reflecting Pool looking back at the Lincoln Memorial

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World War II Memorial and Washington Monument

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World War II Memorial

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Lastly we walked over to see the White House. It was amazing how crowded this area was! I’m glad we got this picture with no one else in it, well except for that secret service agent behind us.

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Our first day in DC was so incredible and exhausting. We walked over 20,000 steps that day. We really appreciated the campground hot tub that night!

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