We figured the kids were old enough to get something out of our nation's
capitol. So we spent a week in Washington, D.C. I used to live there
(in the mid-1980's) and was really interested to see what had changed.
the way we stopped at
Swallow Falls State Park in
M.D. Maria and I visited there just after we started dating so
it was a nice repeat visit. This picture shows the Muddy Creek
Falls which are the highest falls in Maryland.
next day we arrived in
Springfield, VA. The plan was to stay near some friends in the
area and take the Metro into Washington. The
Metro is the ONLY
sane way to get around D.C. 4 week-long unlimited passes cost
about $130. I ordered them online and they arrived within a couple
We arrived in town and immediately headed downtown. Our
hotel was a mile or so from the
Franconia-Springfield Metro Station but the hotel had a
shuttle service that got us there and back very well.
It was a little late to do much but we did hit a couple of memorials
and monuments. Guess which one is pictured here...
next day was mostly devoted to
National Cemetery. The kids had seen a documentary on it so
they had a very good appreciation for what this place means. We
hit all the normal tourist spots and also got off the beaten path a
little to see some of the less-visited spots. One huge
surprise was the
of the Fallen" exhibit just inside the main entrance.
Artists created portraits of over 1300 men and women who have died in
Iraq and Afghanistan. Parents, friends, loved ones, and
sometimes complete strangers have left notes and gifts on the portraits.
also hit several monuments on the Mall. The only new one for me
was the W.W. II
memorial. It is very well done and was too long in coming.
At left is the "Price Of Victory" wall. Each gold star represents
100 American dead in the war. Of course the Russian wall would be
40 times larger...
came the National
Museum of Natural History and
the Air and Space
Museum. Both could have filled a whole day but when you only
have a week you need to budget your time. Both are hard to
take pictures in due to dim lighting... By the way the strange
picture below is the business end of a Saturn V F1 rocket engine.
we got up bright and early to stand in line for tickets to tour the
Capitol. We had tried this the day before but the day's
tickets were gone by around 10:00 a.m. Get there early!
The tour was well done but quite short. For a better tour
contact your local member of Congress and ask for gallery passes.
The picture at left shows the ceiling of the old House chamber.
This room suffered from bad acoustics and became way too small as the
number of states increased so it is now used to display statues of
waiting for our tour we ducked into the
U.S. Botanic Gardens.
We could not get over the hundreds of orchids like this one.
is Maria's favorite picture from the entire trip. The gardens
around the National
Museum of the American Indian are planted in various native crops.
This particular small field is growing tobacco. Notice the
afternoon was spent at the
of American History. There is a lot of incredible stuff
here (I really liked the fallout shelter exhibit). The building
has seen better days and will be closed for a couple years for
renovations soon. In fact the week after our visit the museum had
to close when heavy rains flooded the basement. At left is the
Jupiter 4-4-0 engine.
that evening was in Chinatown. For our nation's capitol it is
awfully hard to find a good restaurant.
was a short day (we were TIRED). In the morning we visited the
War Memorial. In the afternoon we made a quick trip to the
Zoo before retiring to the hotel in exhaustion.
the way back to Ohio we made a side trip to the battlefield of
This quiet few acres of Maryland farmland was the scene of the bloodiest
day in American history. 23,000 soldiers were killed or wounded
that day. We took the driving tour and also scurried off the
beaten path in a couple places to see the monuments and memorials spread
all over the battlefield.
At right is a shot down the Sunken Road. This road and fence
served as a natural trench for the Confederates near the center of the
battle. The Union attack to take this road took four hours and
left the road filled with bodies.
second picture was taken a couple days after the battle when most of the
dead had been removed.