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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Travel Flashback: Washington, DC

With our Texas vacation fast approaching (now just a week away!), I thought I would look back a little bit on our last big vacation: our East Coast vacation in June of 2012. It was before I started blogging regularly here, so I never really got a chance to share our experience on this little blog of mine. Although I've mentioned parts of this vacation in posts of yore - like my vacation shadowbox project where I posted a little about Myrtle Beach, and my post about one of our favorite little towns from this trip, Southport, NC - I haven't really gone into detail about all of the awesome places we visited on that trip. So I'm going to start out by posting about our day in Washington, D.C., and I will also post this week about Virginia Beach, Wilmington, NC, the Outer Banks, and Myrtle Beach.

First of all, if I could sum up our day in Washington, D.C. in one word, it would be: surreal. Neither Trent or I had ever been to our nation's capital before, and being right in the city, in the center of all of the buildings that you see all the time on TV, in movies, and in history books, was pretty cool. It was hard to believe we were actually there.

We only spent one day in the city, but we were there the entire day. And I think we squeezed so much into that whole day, that we felt like that was enough to see the majority of what we wanted to see. We didn't drive at all, which ended up amounting to a lot of walking, but everything was so close anyway, it didn't bother us not having a car. We took the subway into the city from Arlington where we were staying, and walked pretty much the rest of the time, except late in the afternoon when we took the subway again to Georgetown. My cousin Mark actually ended up driving us back to the hotel that night, which was a nice little coincidence that he happened to be in D.C. that same day!

Probably the most surreal building to see in person was the White House, since it's obviously one of the most recognized buildings in the United States. And funnily enough, it was also the most difficult to find for us! I think we were lost for a good half-hour before we actually found it!

Both Trent and I thought it seemed a lot smaller in person, but it is still really cool. There were tourists everywhere taking pictures, many in large groups. But Trent and I somehow managed to each get a photo by ourselves in front of the White House.

The photo below is of the back of the building - talk about a nice backyard. There was a garden back there that Trent and I both thought was super nice. I just kinda pictured myself hanging out back here. No big deal.

Although we had a tough time finding the White House, the Washington Monument, on the other hand, was far from difficult to find. You can see it from almost all views in the city I think! It kind of stands out a little.

And like the rest of the buildings, we each had to get our respective photo with them. How else are you going to prove you were actually there? :)

Unfortunately the inside was closed for renovations, so we couldn't go in it, but up close it definitely seems crazy big. It reminded me a little of the Arch in St. Louis.

The reflecting pool was also empty, which was kind of a disappointment, since that would have been really cool to see. The photo below was taken in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

And here it is...

Mr. Lincoln himself below - again, super surreal to be standing inside of these buildings.

One thing I wasn't expecting, which was kind of a nice surprise, was how pretty Washington, D.C. actually is. When you think about this city, normally you just think about politics, and all of the historic and political buildings and monuments. But it's also right on the Potomac River. Trent and I took a walk by the river, and it was gorgeous. I love those trees. It was such a serene place to go in the midst of such a bustling, touristy city.

I remember walking along the bike path and watching the was almost like being back home in the Quad Cities! We even had time to take a selfie in front of the Potomac. Looking back, I totally wish I could have instagrammed this baby - #WashingtonDCSelfie, yo.

Right by the river was the Jefferson Memorial -

Which had one of the coolest ceilings I've ever seen.

We also stopped to check out the World War II Memorial, which was pretty neat.

After seeing all of the main buildings and monuments, we ate lunch in this big park area and rested for a while (can you say, tons and tons of walking?), and then we started on the museums. We kind of popped into as many as we could in the afternoon. We didn't want to spend too much time in each one, but we definitely wanted to check out some of the Smithsonian museums.

Here's the Smithsonian castle, which I thought was definitely the coolest looking one. It didn't have much inside that we really wanted to see, so we just briefly stopped by.

We ended up going into some Smithsonian art galleries, the Air and Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, and the American History museum. One big plus - they're all FREE. Awesome.

We ended the day in Georgetown. After taking the subway into that area of town, we walked on a bridge over the Potomac, and checked out all the shops and restaurants in that side of the city. Then we met up with my cousin Mark and had dinner and a few brews at the Bier Baron in Georgetown.

That was one place that Trent HAD to go while we were in D.C. :) It was a nice end to a long but fun day in the nation's capital. So crazy that we were finally able to see it all in person, and it was definitely an awesome start to our East Coast vacation. But only the beginning! I'm hoping to post more about our East Coast trip this week, so stay tuned!

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