Friday, July 4, 2008

Field trips, the Fourth and uh, I don't know what else

Every week this summer, I plan on taking my kids on a field trip to places that are rich in history. Places where history is made daily. Places that I have been to a million times. Places that I haven't been to at all. Places that are destination spots for many of you. Places where I can be a tourist just a quick train/drive away. Yes, places that have been "in my backyard" for the last 31 years. So gang, here's the start of our summer adventure. Wanna come along? I'll try to liven it up. Ok, now get out your train money, because you need a metro fare card. I'm not driving into the city...uh uh... No way. No how. We'll try not to sit next to the smelly, loud guy on the train. And stop yer complaining! This will be good for you.

Our first field trip was this past Monday. We took a 360 degree tour from 500 feet over one of the most beautiful cities in the nation when went to the top of this:

The Washington Monument. The tallest building in the Nation's Capitol paying homage to the First President of the United States. My kids call it the "pencil tower." Ah, yeah, they learned alot. Let's just move on...


From the top of The Washington Monument, we were able to catch glimpses of and photograph as best we could:

"The Mall" leading up to "The Hill" where legisislation is introduced, fought over, changed, debated, filibustered, and eventually written as law.


The Jefferson Memorial, which is and always has been my favorite as it sits in the Tidal Basin, holding court among the spectacular bloom of cherry blossoms in the spring and whose architecture is breath taking. Not only can I say I have been there a million times, I can also say that it happens to be where The Man proposed to me 11 years ago this August. Yup, right on those steps...he knew it was my favorite place in the world....




The Lincoln Memorial, where you feel dwarfed both literally and figuratively while standing in awe of the majesty of this landmark and this man who ended the Civil War and abolished slavery in our country:


The Pentagon. Home to our nation's military leaders, the place my Dad called "The Office" for many years, and the target of satan's henchman the day they flew a plane into the side of it one clear blue September day. Yes, the same day, that my mother was on her way to work in DC and saw the low flying plane just about to descend into the Pentagon and then saw the ensuing fire it caused. Yes, her phone went dead. And yes, for about an hour, I was terrified as I watched the news unfold 20 miles from my house, knowing that my Mom was somewhere in the middle of that horror. But that's a story for another day.



And finally, the White House, which has housed every US President since John Adams. It was built after George Washington was President, so he never lived there. Do you know where George lived when he was President? Note to my local friends: zip it.

There you have it. Our first tour is over for now. Lets' get back on the train and head home. There are Fourth of July burgers and beers waiting for us.

Where do you want to go next?


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39 Comments:

Lula! said...

First things first--the reason we are BFFs is 'cause we both refuse to capitalize "satan." I give him no credit...nada...not even in punctuation. That's the first thing that jumped out of this post. Seriously!

Second...I've been to all these places (we are keen on the Jefferson Memorial, too--since Scott graduated med school at UVa, aka "Mr. Jefferson's University!) many times, yet it was SO FUN seeing it through your eyes. I don't care where you go on the next trip--I'll be right along with you. Virtually, of course.

p.s. I know where Washington lived. Are we allowed to unzip it?

Karen said...

We actually studied the American Civil War, George Washington, The Boston tea Party and other American history, when I was at high school in New Zealand. From memory, and we're talking about 40 or so years ago, I think that George Washington may have lived at Mt Vernon?

Berautiful photos by the way...and a great thing to be doing with your kids.

Karen said...

Sheeesh .. what the heck is 'Berautiful'!!!!

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful !!!!!

Trish said...

I was on my way over here tonight to tell you that I was missin you.......and here you were.

How cool to have that all right in your backyard!

Love that view.

GW lived at Mt Vernon w/ his sugar momma Martha. She was loaded.

next trip.......hows bout the National Zoo?

Gina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gina said...

And Mt Vernon is 8 miles south of Alexandria, Virginia. But I thought Philly was the capitol when George Washington was president.
I am buying plane tickets to come crash at your place and tag along with you. I mean that in the most non-stalker sort of way.

Heather said...

I've only ever been to Washington when I was really little and I don't remember any of it. I'd love to take my kids when they get a little older. I feel like there's so much history I'm missing out on!

veronica said...

Debbie,

Love the road trips! You know me I'm always up for adventure! The kids and I have done this every summer. Our big one this year is Gettysburg! Have fun keep me posted.

Bobbi said...

Nice photos. Our family visited Washington DC in 2000 - fun town. I live in Harrodsburg, KY - home of Daniel Boone and James Harrod - oh, and a small group of people called the Cherokee Indians.

Happy 4th!

Julie said...

Hey Debbie... do you know that they have free movies on the lawn at the base of the Washington Monument aka "pencil" during the summer. In college I went there every week to watch it and we had picnic dinners. It was so fun, maybe you and the family would like to do that.

Also another fun thing we like to do was go to the lawn right in front of Reagan National Airport and watch the planes fly over us as they were landing. I bet the kids would love it.

Just some fun ideas, enjoy!

Amy said...

I would love to live around such historical places. That must be awesome, thanks for sharing that.

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

I told my hubby last year that I really want to see "all" that this country has to offer.I have traveled more than he, but have flown over most of it...so our goal is to see as much of the country as we can...yesterday he mentioned how next hear we're doing the south west...Texas & Nevada...can't wait to start planning that.

Jennifer said...

I little fun trivia for you about the Lincoln Memorial... The sculpter supposedly had a son who was deaf. Look closely the next time and you will see that Lincoln's left and right hand's are in the shape of the ASL (American Sign Language) "A" and "L" (respectively) for Abe's initials. This is disputed in some circles as coincidence BUT Daniel Chester French did do a statue at Gallaudet College of Thomas Gallaudet and his first pupil, Alice Cogswell and the whole point of that statue is to show the teaching of ASL. So.... no matter what it gives you something to look for the next time (or for some of you, the first time...) you are there.

Jennifer

SKELLER said...

Perfect day for a little tour of DC. Thanks for taking us all along :-)
Happy Freedom Day!

Beth said...

Loved the pics! He lived on his farm with all of his many animals! If you haven't seen it we loved the recent HBO series John Adams. It almost made me cry after studying American History this year with my 2 little guys!

Kat said...

We have only been to DC three times - but I never realized you could go up into the Washington monument! I really want to go back with the girls now that they are older. Maybe we'll work it in when we venture up to Williamsburg in a few years when we get to that part of American History again.

All of my grandparents are buried at Arlington...and I have some amazing photos of my grandfather's funeral there in 03...

Swirl Girl said...

I miss that city! But how hot was it when you took the pictures? You can almost see the humidity in the air...

National Zoo yes, Smithsonian for sure - but stay away from the National Aquarium. It is the only musuem that charges to get in (#1) and it is lame-oh! (#2).

Watchin' the Capitol 4th tonight on PBS!

Have a great day!

Jennifer P. said...

This would be my dream vacation one day. I love, love, love American history and stories of the lives of the amazing men (and women!) who sacrificed so much to build this nation for us.

I'm sure I could find the answer in my "The Real George Washington" book---but I'll just wait for you to tell us ;).

Can't wait to see where we go next!

Emily said...

Q: which national monument had a piece of itself displayed at Tiffany's?

I will tell you if you don't know!


LOVE IT! We had a goooooood time in DC a few weeks ago. I have been 2 times in the last 3 years and still want to go back. Boston's freedom trail is fun too.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

You ARE SOOOOOOOO funny!!! I constantly read things wrong and have to go back and re-read!!! :)

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

I love DC... i can't wait to go back. I think we're going to go there on our honeymoon.

Piggy said...

My sister and I called the "pencil" the "crayon" when we were little. How thoughtful of your husband to propose to you on the steps of your favorite place! I'd like to hear your 9/11 story and your mom's experiences. I was on the 25th floor of 3 World Financial Center, which faces and connects to the first World Trade Center tower that was hit. It shook my entire building and I turned to see the firey debris falling past my window. I ran out and saw the second plane hit the second tower. I ran up the West Side Highway and saw both buildings collapse. Despite experiencing this firsthand, it still seemed so unreal like I was watching a movie. 9/11 is definitely one of my biggest life changing events along with my baptism, marriage, and childbirth.

Rhea said...

I'm very excited about taking these field trips with you! More, more, more!!

Love the Washington Monument and the views of all the hot spots. How romantic you were proposed to at the Jefferson Monument!

Great post, loved it. I want more!

Sniz said...

OK, this was seriously a great post. I loved this tour. I wish I lived in a place so full of history. Keep them coming!

Hope you had a GREAT Fourth of July!!!!

Sniz

Sheri said...

What a great "trip"! I love Northern VA - there's always something new to see and do.

I'm from Southwest VA, near Lexington. Thanks for stopping by!

Feathering My Nest said...

Thanks for the tour Debbie. I love your photos. We got to go to D.C. 2006. Loved it. God bless you, Kathi

Connie said...

what a great idea! How fortunate you are to have that "right in your own back yard".
Can't wait to see where we're goin' next!

Sarah Mae said...

Hawaii

Tracy P. said...

Wow, that is awesome. A place that is definitely on the "someday when the kids are old enough to take it all in" list! Never been to D.C. myself, but my first thought about G. Washington was also Mt. Vernon. (Once a school teacher...)

A Smithsonian series would probably take a whole summer, I know, but I'm curious to know anything you can show us about it. But anyplace will be new and exciting.

Thanks for coming by and saying hi! :-)

Elena said...

Lukcy duck you are! I've never been to D.C. The closest I've come is Boston (which is fascinating too), but someday I will get there for sure! It's on our to do list.

Gramma 2 Many said...

This was a breathtaking trip! You are so blessed to live in such a rich cultural area. I got goose bumps reading about 9/11 and your mother.
I always wanted to visit Washington when we lived in Georgia, but on a students income, it was impossible. Regret it to this day.

Christine said...

oh, my favorite place is the lincoln memorial - sorry - but we love to visit it when we get to town. Hmm, for next visits - well, how about williamsburg? :)

HeathahLee said...

I've only been to D.C. once when I was too little to appreciate it. I would love to go back and take the Kiddo and Husband (he's never been). I love American history and D.C. is full up!

I know that Mt. Vernon was his home (actually went there the same vacation I went to D.C.), but didn't think that he lived there while he was president. So, when are you gonna fill us in?

And Emily, a piece of which monument is @ Tiffany's? Inquiring minds want to know! :)

Megan said...

Thanks for the tour of the lovely downtown area. I have never been up in the monument and need to go there. I find it interesting that your mother saw the low flying plane and then the explosion at the Pentagon. Did you know that fully 1/3 of Americans believe that 9/11 was in some way planned or carried out by our own government? Seriously, what are people thinking? I don't know how many times I have read things where people do not think it was really a plane that hit the Pentagon because they claim there was not enough pieces left of it. Sigh. I'm sorry you had to be in terror waiting to hear from your mom, but I'll be sure to tell any wack-os that I know someone who was a first hand witness to an ACTUAL PLANE.

Tam said...

Just so noticed this post! I use to walk everyday across the mall to work on Constitution AVE! I use to take the VRE up from the "BURG"! I never drove because for one I did not have enough time and grade for a parking space at the Courthouse!!!!!! Man I so so so miss DC! I have not up there for 9 long years!!!!!!

Tam said...

Washingtons boyhood home is in Stafford VA Actually called FERRY FARMS. HIS mother moved to a home in FREDERICKSBURG. Which I love to visit when I am back HOME!

Tracey said...

How did you get all those great pictures, were you in the blimp for your tour? Looks like fun, we need to do those kind of things more often.

Brittany Iverson said...

What a great blog! Don't you just love DC?! I found you through the blog icon site via SITS. Have a good day!

Brit

Mrs. Jones said...

I have been wanting to take my kiddos on field trips to dc this summer, but I'm so frustrated about getting down there (and a bit scared cuz I get lost). I can never find parking at the metro, and then I get stuck driving down there, not finding a parking spot, freaking out, paying too much for valet parking, and walking 10 miles. Fun! Any advice?

~Heather