4.19.2014

Washington, D.C. | Day 5

We started the next day at Arlington National Cemetery. We took the Metro right to the Arlington Cemetery stop. It was quite a sight. The grave markers just go on and on forever. It was a great reminder of how many people sacrifice for our country. We liked looking at all of the different religious symbols on the tombstones, and kept trying to spot an LDS symbol (Angel Moroni), but we didn't find one.



We went and saw the graves of John F. Kennedy, and Jackie Kennedy. We also went to see the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, and they just so happened to be changing the guards while we were there so we got to see that ceremony too, which was pretty neat.

After Arlington we went and had lunch at Shake Shack, because we had ticket to go to Ford's Theater, after lunch, which is one street away. We actually went to the Peterson House first, which is where Lincoln died, and then we went to Ford's Theater.



We weren't sure if we wanted to go to the museum at Ford's Theater, but I'm really glad we did. We got to see the gun that actually killed Abraham Lincoln, as well as the suit he was wearing that night, and the door to his box at the Theater, one of the pillows he laid on after he was shot... It was well worth it!



We hadn't gone over to the Tidal Basin yet this trip because I wanted to try to see everything else we could before the trees were in peak bloom. I wanted to wait and make sure that we really got to see the blossoms. I had been tracking the blossoms online before we came out here, and knew that they needed a few more days. I was really nervous that they were going to bloom right after we left, but we totally lucked out and were there RIGHT at the start of peak bloom. It couldn't have been anymore perfect.

So after Ford's Theater and a quick stop to peak at the back of the White House (we only saw the front before) we were out of things to do and decided to head over to the Tidal Basin to check it out. My expectations were really low, because I didn't want to get completely let down if we did miss the blossoms this trip (even though, they were the main reason why we were coming), but let me tell you, they completely exceeded my expectations. It was so wonderful. I couldn't even believe that I was there, and the blossoms were in bloom, and the weather was great, and I was with my cute little family, and we were having a great trip. It was complete perfection.

We walked around the entire Tidal Basin, with lots of stops for pictures.



We stopped at the Jefferson Memorial for a peak inside. We also fed Reagan on the steps.



And then kept walking around the Tidal Basin.



It took us almost 3 hours to walk around the whole thing, with all of the stops we made. I was thoroughly enjoying myself. These blossoms were one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen.

Even Reagan liked the blossoms a little bit. She really liked all of the people, and all of the people liked her. Seriously, like every person would comment on her or say something to her.




We really liked the FDR Memorial, I accidentally didn't take any pictures of it but right around that Memorial were my favorite blossom trees, we ended up going back to that spot 3 days in a row.



Also right around that spot is the MLK Memorial, which was way cooler looking than I remember it looking in some of the pictures I had seen.



I really loved when the blossoms were growing straight out of the tree trunk. I thought it looked really cool. Here are two examples:



For dinner that night we decided to go back up to Capitol Hill and eat at Medium Rare. This place was great!  There is a prefixed menu, with only one meal: bread and butter, a salad, and steak with fries. Their house steak sauce was SO yummy. After we finished our first plate of steak and fries, they brought out MORE steak and fries. By the end of that second plate, I was so stuffed, but man was it good! We were so glad we splurged a little bit and decided to eat there.

4.18.2014

Washington, D.C. | Days 3 & 4

Day 3 was our rainy day. Originally the weather reports said it was supposed to rain twice while we were there, but luckily, it only rained once. And this rainy day was the perfect excuse (not that we needed one) to spend the entire day at the American History and Air and Space Smithsonians. I didn't take any pictures with my big camera this whole day.



My favorite part of the American History Museum was definitely Julia Child's kitchen. I love Julia Child. A close second favorite, was Dorethy's ruby red slippers, pictured above. Also, please note the Nauvoo Sunstone in the background, also really neat, considering there are only 3 of these left from the original Nauvoo Temple.

After spending 4 hours in the morning at the American History Smithsonian, we were ready for lunch. We had sandwiches at The White Apron.

After lunch we wanted some kind of dessert, and just happened to be by a McCormick & Schmick's. When I went to Kansas City in 2009, my mom's friend Cheri took us to McCormick & Schmick's for Chocolate Bags. They are divine! I had been telling Jordan about them pretty much since we met, so we went and got one. It was just as magical as I had remembered. We went a little overboard on desserts (but that's allowed on vacation, right?) because we also got a slice of carmel walnut apple pie with some cinnamon ice cream.

When we were sufficiently stuffed, we walked over to the Air and Space Smithsonian, where we spent the rest of our day. Pictured above is Jordan with Felix Baumgartner's Space Suit. Felix is the man who, in October of 2012, jumped to earth from the edge of space, 24.2 miles high. If you haven't seen this video yet, please go watch his jump. It's miraculous. They had a special exhibit there with his suit and the Red Bull Stratos (which he rode in up to space). We really loved this exhibit. We also really loved seeing the 1904 Wright Brother's Flyer.

We spent about 4 hours at the Air and Space Smithsonian we went back to the Pentagon City Mall area, and went and got Pho for dinner.

The next day, we started at the Capitol. (Well, we actually tried to start at the National Archives, but the line looked really long, so we headed up to the Capitol, where incidentally, the line was much, much longer). We got in line for tickets and then did the tour.



^^The rotunda was very cool. Cooler than I thought it was going to be. And huge. Huge-er than I thought it was going to be too.^^



^^Tucked in a corner of the Statuary Hall we found this dude! Each state got to send in two statues, Utah send this here Brother Brigham, as well as a statue of Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of TVs.^^



After the Capitol tour, we walked through the tunnel to the Library of Congress, which also ended up being way cooler than I had expected. (I didn't know anything about the Library of Congress, so pretty much anything would have been surprising.)



^^This is the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building.^^



^^And here is the Reading Room.^^

After the Library of Congress we headed over to the Eastern Market. There we bought some treats: a peach danish, and a Russian tea cookie, some homemade lemonade, and some apple cider.



^^I have a newfound love of fresh apple cider and this stuff definitely measured up to my expectations.^^



We really should have taken the Metro back to the National Archives, but we didn't even think about it, and we walked the whole way. It wasn't a bad walk though, there was great weather, and I think I wouldn't mind living in Capitol Hill. I kind of loved it there.

We made it to the National Archives 26 minutes before they closed, which left us just enough time to see the big stuff: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and Bill of Rights, as well as the Emancipation Proclamation and the Magna Carta.

After Archives, we went back to the Natural History Museum, hoping to see the butterflies (it's free on Tuesdays), but we were too late, so we ended up finishing the parts of the museum we missed before, which was mainly the Skeletons.

We went swimming at the hotel, when we got back and Reagan loved it. She was so warn out by the time we were finished and cleaned up that she fell asleep in her crib with all of the lights on in the room, and the TV on.