Sunday, March 29, 2015

Washington, D.C. - Jefferson Memorial and Mount Vernon

The 5 of us in front of Mount Vernon

Wow, these first few days in the great DC metro area have been fabulous,
to say the least. 

I'm excited to document and share our first 2 days of adventures with you!

Sister Barb and niece Lee touring us around for the day.

Despite it being a bit chilly on our first day, 
we still wanted to head out and do some sightseeing. 

Ryker, Jerry and the Great Falls.

It may have been a windchill in the 20s, 
but that didn't stop us. 

The sun was shining and we got to see quite a few deer 
as we drove to Great Falls, Maryland.  

Landon and Alayna, doing what they love...climbing!

And, there were rocks for the kids to climb on, 
so how could we go wrong, 
getting out, getting some fresh air and sunshine.  

My niece Lee and the 5 B's in front of the Jefferson Memorial.

Next stop, 
Jefferson Memorial. 

The 5 of us in front of Tommy. 
The view of the Washington Monument from the Jefferson Memorial.
Unfortunately, with such a cold winter, 
we are too early for the cherry blossoms. 

The kids with the bucket drummer. 
On our way to the Museum of Natural History
the kids wanted to give some money to a street performer. 

We watched for a while and then headed into the museum. 

Little did we know, that the performer
would be trying to get into our car the minute we walked away. 

Alayna, Landon and Ryker in front of Henry.
Henry is part of the greeting committee at 
the Museum of Natural History. 

Ryker went first.

Then Alayna.
Each of the kids taking turns holding a
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. 
I wouldn't do it!  

The next day, 
we took advantage of the access to a car and no rush-hour traffic
and headed off on our own. 

First stop was Arlington National Cemetery. 
This was my first time there and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. 

We got there right at the top of the hour, 
which worked out great! 

It was a 10 minute walk to the Kennedy grave site,

JFK and his wife with an eternal flame. 
and then another 10 minutes to the 
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

We got to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 
about 20 minutes before the 
Changing of the Guard
and that worked out great!

Gave us a chance to get a good view of the ceremony. 

This tomb is guarded 24-hours a day, 
changing guard every hour from October to March
and every half hour from April to Sept. 
Even every 2 hours overnight,
when the cemetery is closed. 

The changing of the guard is a very precise ceremony. 
Every move it calculated, 
every step and every second is counted. 

There were certainly lots of questions to be answered on our way out of there. 

While the kids did enjoy the significance of the cemetery,
there is no doubt that they were looking forward to letting loose a little at our next stop,
Mount Vernon.

Alayna is getting in on the groupies. 
I pre-ordered our Mount Vernon tickets that morning,
which worked out great

Crowds are generally bigger in the morning, 
so showing up at 1 pm was perfect...
no line whatsoever. 

But, you would hate to show up at 1 pm and not be able to go through the mansion! 
That would be terrible. 

In general, I'm not too big on ordering tickets in advance,
I like to be able to fly by the seat of our pants while on vacation, 
but in this instance, it worked out great! 

Everything in Washington seems to be under construction this year! 
We did the welcome video about Mount Vernon 
and George Washington
and headed straight to our tour. 

No pictures allowed inside the mansion, 
but this is what we were able to get out back. 

That, and a groupie of us with the Potomac in the background. 

There is lots of green space to explore on the plantation. 
We saw sheep, pigs, cows and 

these adorable babies on the grounds. 

We also saw the 
Washington Tomb. 

The slave quarters were still intriguing, 
even on my 4th visit here. 

Loved watching the blacksmith
 make nails that are used by the carpenters on Mount Vernon. 

Also, got to listen to Martha Washington
speak so fondly as to how she met George and a bit about their life together. 

One last Groupie and it was time for us to hit the road. 

Four hours to wander around Mount Vernon
was the perfect amount of time.  

Come back later this week for the second half of this 
Washington DC Adventure.