Brief Visit to D.C.

Washington, DC

After Jessica participated in the urbanathlon on Saturday, we had no need to stay in York any longer, but we had a week before we have to be in South Carolina.  So we decided to move south a bit and spend a few days in Washington, D.C.  We left York on Tuesday and drove to Cherry Hill RV Park just north of D.C. along the I-495 beltway.

On our first day here we met up with motorhome friends, Larry and Mary Anne Weinberg, who live south of D.C. in Fredericksburg, VA.   They drove north from there and we drove south from Cherry Hill.   We met in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

We enjoyed a nice lunch at The Fish Market, a local restaurant and spent some time wandering around Old Town.

The next morning we headed into the Capital area for some touring.  The colorful fall leaves provided some great scenery along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway even with the cloudy sky.

A bicycle is the ideal way to visit Washington, something we did many times when our children were young and we lived an hour and a half drive to the north.  We found a parking lot just south of the Jefferson Monument that is away from the main tourist sites and  bit too far to walk from, so we always found it nearly empty.  This trip was no exception, so we parked there and unloaded the bikes for a quick tour of the major sites of the Capital area.

The Jefferson Monument

The Washington Monument

Riding the  National Mall toward the Capitol Building

The Air and Space Museum

Normally we visited Washington in the summer and the area would be packed with tourists.  But this is not exactly the high tourism season, so the area was fairly empty.  We had no plans to visit any of the museums during this visit, but since the Air and Space Museum had no line (visitors are usually lined up out into the street), we made a quick stop there to make sure the Spirit of St. Louis was still hanging from the ceiling (it was).

Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis

We continued our tour along the mall, stopping along the Capitol Reflecting Pool to view the statue of U.S. Grant across the water.

Close up of Grant

As we rode around the Capitol, we came upon a statue that we had not noticed on previous visits,  depicting James A. Garfield.  Garfield is one of our least recognized presidents, as he was struck down by an assassin’s bullet after only four months in office and died a painful death two months later from infections and poor medical care.  Many historians believe that, had he served longer, Garfield would be remembered as one of our greatest chief executives.

James A. Garfield

We then circled around to the main entrance of the Capitol.  Police had the area blocked off and numerous policemen were in the area.  We asked one of the officers what was going on and found that VP Biden was in the building swearing in our newest senator, Cory Booker of New Jersey.  The officer said he didn’t know how long the area would be off limits as the ceremony should be over, but the VP “likes to talk” so they didn’t know when he would leave.

As we continued back around the Capitol we again passed the Reflecting Pool.  There were a number of ducks in the water bobbing down for food.  We noticed the guy pictured below because he was making quite a splash trying to catch lunch.  We guessed he was a Democrat as he made a big splash but really didn’t accomplish much!

After all that bike riding, it was time for a snack, so we headed for one of our favorite spots to eat with the kids, the Old Post Office Building.  The lower floor of the building is a food court that was always filled with tourist when we would visit.  But as with the rest of the tourist spots, the place was almost empty.  A tasty dish from the Ben and Jerry’s stand hit the spot!

The Old Post Office

After our snack, we continued our tour.  There are no pictures of the White House as the police had the building completely blocked off, even the walking mall on Pennsylvania Avenue.  We couldn’t find out why, but something must have been going on.

The World War Two Monument

A normally crowded path along the Reflecting Pool

The Lincoln Monument

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Monument

The Marine Corps War Memorial

The JFK Grave Site recently underwent some renovations to the eternal flame’s burner.  The flame had been moved to a nearby location during renovations and just last week it was returned to the grave site.  The site also contains the remains of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, a daughter who was stillborn in 1958, and a son who died two days after birth in 1962.

JFK Grave Site

Kennedy’s two younger brothers, Robert (1968) and Ted (2009) are buried nearby in sites marked only with a plain cross and small plaque.

Grave of Robert Kennedy

Grave of Edward (Ted) Kennedy

Our last stop was at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where we hoped to catch the changing of the guard ceremony.

Tomb of the Unknowns

We didn’t catch the changing of the guard (every half hour in the summer and every hour in the winter) but we did observe a wreath laying ceremony by two middle school students.

Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns

On our final day in Washington we made a visit to the National Museum of Health and Medicine, which is only a few miles from Cherry Hill RV Park.  We hadn’t heard of this museum until RV friends The Lowes wrote about it in their blog.

This museum has several collections of morbid anatomy on display.  The collection has real human remains and a display on facial reconstruction.  There are also exhibits that display injuries from several wars and descriptions of the medical techniques used  at the time.  The emphasis here is on military medicine, documenting the effects of war wounds and disease on the human body, and the tremendous changes in American medicine over the past 150 years.

There was a display that marked Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birth anniversary, including items associated with his last hours.  Various items associated with the assassination, including the bullet that killed him, were on display.

In the center of the picture above is part of the sleeve of the shirt worn by the physician who treated Lincoln after he was shot.  The stains are from Lincoln’s blood!

A section of President Garfield’s spine showing the gunshot wound

We don’t know who donated the display below of a brain and spinal cord but it made for a nice picture!  If you’re into morbid displays of bones and brains, this is the museum for you!

That’s it for our brief visit to Washington.  We would have left this morning (Friday) but the weather forecast was for rain and high winds, so we delayed until tomorrow.  We’re headed for the small town of Gaffney, SC to have the motorhome serviced at the Freightliner facility located there.  After that it’s off to North Myrtle Beach for a little beach time!

More on that later . . .

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19 Responses to Brief Visit to D.C.

  1. Janna says:

    Thank you so much for the great tour–now even I could ride a bicycle there–what a perfect time to visit Washington DC, I will have to remember that–I’ve been twice but Michael has never been.

  2. Ingrid says:

    Beautiful fall colors…..love your sense of humor :lol:

  3. I agree with you, this time of the year is the best time to visit the capital, less people beautiful fall colors. If we had time there we probably would have biked too as you suggested but…
    Glad you made it to the Health and Science and eager to hear what you think of it.

  4. Gayle says:

    Hadn’t heard about the Health and Medicine Museum, and we’ve been to DC a few times. Looks really interesting!

  5. rommel says:

    It’s the third time now who I knew that recently went there. A friend of mine, you and Mona. It really is telling me to go there. Washington is one of the five cities I long to visit. I would sure love the memorial and historical exhibits. Thank you SO much for the tour.

  6. Lisa says:

    Bikes sure looks like a good way to explore the area…and this the perfect time of year! I think I would have enjoyed the medical museum, that’s the kind of stuff you just don’t see too often!

  7. Lovely header.

    Garfield was from Ohio too. Most Ohioans are brilliant….lol

    We have talked to a ton of people who have visited DC and know nothing about the Old Post Office Building. I loved that building, and the view from the top is awesome.

    The Korean War Veterans Monument is my all time favorite in DC. To see it at night is so moving.

    I LOVE anything related to biology/antonym. If we get back there, I am going there. Paul can sit on the bench outside…lol

    You two sure did make the loop. A bike is a great way to get around that huge area. The photo of the Lincoln Monument with plane flying over is so cool. Great post. I love that place!

  8. nan says:

    Great tour! So happy that you showed the photo of the Democrat! The Natl Museum of Health and Medicine is new to me and is on our list! Thanks for the great photos.

  9. Amanda says:

    I love it that you biked around the city. What a fantastic way to explore! Will we definitely be stealing that idea when we finally make it back east.

  10. Great tour! Hope to make it there one day.

  11. Gay Taylor says:

    I did notice you guys were the smart ones…didn’t see any other bikes in your pictures! And aren’t blogs wonderful. I also follow Mona Liza and Steve’s blog and thought what an interesting museum to see next time! Your choice of pictures were perfect…but I especially liked the splashing duck…lol!

  12. LuAnn says:

    Thanks for the tour and the great photos of all the monuments. We will definitely be making a stop at the Nat’l Museum of Health and Medicine next year as I find all things related to anatomy fascinating.

  13. Bea says:

    Thanks for sharing, I have never been there. Nice to be able to see all these photos. Maybe I will get there once in the future…

  14. Bob and Jo says:

    We will add the National Museum of Health and Medicine to our list.

  15. How great that you could get around by bicycle! I will never forget the miles and miles of walking I did the last time I was there with my daughter a few years ago. Enjoyed your post very much!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks so much:) A visit to D.C. can be very exhausting. We’ve always found biking to be the way to go. It so easy to ride around, the traffic is light and there are wide sidewalks. Very bike friendly!

  16. colibabas says:

    Thanks for the tour. Glad to see you’re on the move again. We are looking forward to tagging along on you’re adventures.

    Meade travels!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks again for joining us:) This winter will much quieter than last year out west. Florida certainly doesn’t have the excitement and adventure that the west has. We’ll be headed back there in the spring.

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