Tour de USA :: The Monuments

I’m backkkkkk! For a few days anyways ;-) I’ve decided to title my series to DC as Tour de USA, because it seems fitting. On Friday I started out in New York then traveled through New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and ended up in Washington DC. Which, isn’t actually located in a state if you didn’t know. I realize it is called a district, but I thought it was catchy to call it a non-state during the weekend, because you know, I’m awesome like that! I’m going to break this trip into different posts over the week because we covered quite a bit of ground.

I reached DC late on Friday evening, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a little time left to explore! We caught a cab from Union Station and asked the cab driver if he wouldn’t mind driving us around to see some of the main monuments. He was awesome (much better than any of my NY cabbies) and was happy to take on not only cab driver duties but also part tour guide. It was so awesome to get off the bus and already start to see some of the famous landmarks including the Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, and The Jefferson Memorial. We also drove by the White House, but we literally drove right by it and missed it because we learned that the White House shuts its lights off at 11 p.m. Early bedtime Mr. President, especially for a Friday night!

After getting a little taste of the city we caught a few hours of sleep before an early an early wake-up call. The next morning, we hopped out of bed and onto our trolley! When I visited Boston last summer we used this trolley service and after a good experience we decided to try them again out in DC. They’re a really great way to get around the city and they have some awesome facts so you’re able to learn as you ride. We made a quick stop at the welcome center and something caught my eye in the window of the gift store. Yep, that would be this hat…

Oh yes I did. It gives me a little character to playing tourist right?! Ha! Now. now, I was ready to explore. Our first destination was… you guessed it. The White House!

THE White House! We’ve all read about it, seen pictures, but to be right next to it? Now, that is a surreal experience! I mean the president was a mere few yards from us! Not only that, but think of all of the men and women who have lived in this very house. Incredible. I was pretty surprised by how close you can get to it too. There was a gate that I stuck my phone through to get this picture, but you can still get pretty close! You could get much closer on this side than the other one though. Here’s a view of the other side.

As you can see, it’s much further away on the back side (or front?) If you look closely, those two black outlines on the roof towards the center were sharp shooters that were walking back and forth. Don’t even think about messing with the president of the United States.. they’ll get you. This side was pretty cool too because you got a glimpse at the White House garden and Michelle’s bee hives. The only thing missing was the first dog running around.. I guess he doesn’t get free range of the yard!

If you pretend you are me in this picture, and look straight forward you will see…

The Washington Monument! Not a bad view to have from your house huh? The Washington Monument is one of the most iconic views in DC, not only because its history but also because it is the tallest landmark in the city and you can see it from just about everywhere. There actually aren’t any buildings taller than 130 feet inside the city because of the Height of Buildings Act. It’s interesting because while the city doesn’t have any skyscrapers, the buildings are still massive! Not as much in height, but rather in their structure which is something you just don’t see anymore. 

Beyond the Washington Monument lies the Jefferson Memorial. We didn’t go inside this one, but it was still a beautiful site from our trolley. A memorial we did go in though was the Lincoln Memorial. Looking out from the steps of the memorial, lies the other side of the Washington Monument that I showed you earlier. The really cool thing about DC is nothing was created without being well thought out. There is meaning for everything from the way monuments and statues face, to the layout of the streets. Really impressive. The reflection fountain of the monument was under construction (as everything on the east coast seems to be), but it was still a nice view.

The Lincoln Memorial was hands down my favorite memorial. It’s really neat because from the street you can’t see Lincoln. Instead you can only see the outside and the pillars, so you really have to actually come to the memorial to see inside.

Once inside, you’re faced with this guy!

Honest Abe! You can’t tell by the photos (you never can) but he is HUGE! And When I say huge, I really mean it. They told us on the trolley that he would be 28 feet tall if he were to have been standing up.

And here’s the view that Abe has! I would love to come back here and just hang out at this memorial. It truly was even more majestic than I could have ever imagined. 

Well, that’s all I have for you on the memorial side. Stay tuned tomorrow for a look at some of the other historic sites we visited!