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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

DC Trip: Mount Vernon

On our last day of sight-seeing we decided to head to Mount Vernon. It was a decision between Mount Vernon and Harper's Ferry. Mount Vernon won out due to its greater historic and educational value, but I think I will always be a little sad that we missed out on the beautiful hike at Harper's Ferry to the confluence of the two rivers that caused Thomas Jefferson to remark, "The passage of the Patomac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature" (Thomas Jefferson, 1783). Someday, perhaps?

Anyway, here are Joshua and I. As you can see the weather finally warmed up significantly on our last couple of days:

I love this shot:

In front of George and Martha's remains:

One of Washington's vehicles (I'm not sure why Joshua is so washed out in these pictures; sorry!):

A former slave cabin on the premises:

And some shots of the Potomoc. I'm sure it's even more beautiful when all the leaves are back a little later in the spring:

Smithsonian Natural History Museum

On our way down Pennsylvania Ave. in between the Capitol and the White House we actually stopped off at the Natural History Museum. It was pretty crowded since it was spring break and all, but we still had a great time. I'm so glad the kids got to be there with their cousins! If you look closely you may be able to see the dinosaur skeleton behind them:

A saber-toothed tiger. Check out those sabers!

Next we paid the Hope diamond a little visit. It was pretty fun to see it in person:

This topaz was unbelievably huge:

I just think sapphires are so pretty. I love that they're blue.

These earrings just may be the very definition of the word "sparkly":

DC Trip: Pennsylvania Ave.

Oh my poor, neglected blog. Let's see if I can just hammer out these last few posts from our DC trip.

We visited the Library of Congress and had a fine time. We got to see the Gutenberg Bible and explained to the kids what it was all about and why it is special. I'm not sure if they believed us, but we may have gotten through to Joshua.

Here is some of the stunning architecture:

And they have a room especially for children, which was a very nice touch. My favorite part was finding a copy of the book "Freight Train" by Donald Crews with his autograph on the inside cover.

From there, the capitol building is just across the way. We walked around the back and it was absolutely freezing. I don't think I will ever forget the relentless, frigid wind that blasted us as we fought our way around to the front.
Blasted from behind:

Turn around to snap a shot of the Supreme Court Building:

And emerge triumphant around the front:

From there we headed down Pennsylvania Ave. to the White House. We were able to snap a few pictures before police officers on horseback came and shooed everyone away. We waited across the street (since we needed to get back to the train station) and watched as a heavily guarded motorcade left the White House. We don't know who it was, but Jake thought that it may well have been President Obama as he was supposed to be addressing Congress that afternoon. It wasn't fun to be shooed away but it did make the experience feel more authentic, I guess. Afterward we got to see one of the officers take off on his horse across the lawn between the White House and the Washington Monument at a full gallop. It seemed strangely out of place in the middle of a city, but the kids thought it was neat.

What an adventure and I know I've already said it a million times but I'll say it again: the kids were such troopers! It was a ton of walking, it was really cold and windy, parts of it were probably pretty boring for them, but they held up and I'm proud of them all!