Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone, aka not Mexican Independence Day! Here In Texas we’ll be celebrating with lots of Mexican food and margaritas. I actually celebrated with my sister last night, but I will definitely be eating some more chips and salsa tonight. Any excuse to eat chips and salsa is a good excuse in my book.
Anyways, back to the blog post. In case y’all couldn’t tell, my favorite part of our Washington DC trip was seeing all of the beautiful cherry blossoms (I know, it’s a little hard to believe). I included a lot of the pictures of the cherry blossoms in my Weekend Wanderings posts, but I still have a few more pictures that I wanted to share. So here’s a post dedicated to the cherry blossoms of Washigton DC (and some magnolia blossoms as well) because they’re just too beautiful to not share!
Well, I hope that you’ve enjoyed the cherry blossom and magnolia blossom pictures as much as me, and this post officially wraps up our trip to DC! I think that I might be just a tad obsessed with taking pictures of flowers, but I don’t think that’s a problem at all. Until next time!
After a whirlwind of a Saturday (read about it here and here), we were ready to conquer our last day in DC. Sleeping on vacation is completely under-rated in my opinion, especially if it’s a “doing” vacation, and DC is definitely a doing vacation.
Sunday morning we woke up bright and early and grabbed a quick coffee and breakfast at Starbucks before catching an uber over to the White House. I guess that one of the last activities for the Cherry Blossom Festival was a race that takes place along the Mall, and just our luck, the race was happening the Sunday that we were visiting. So traffic was pretty terrible again when we were headed to the White House. Good thing our hotel was so close!
The White House
One of the things that you can do when you visit DC is call your congressman and make an appointment to tour the White House. I didn’t think that far in advance, and when my mom and I had visited we did the tour and there really wasn’t that much to see. So instead of touring the White House, we opted for walking around the outside instead to take a few pictures.
One of the things that really surprised me was the lack of protesters outside of the White House. When I originally visited, George W was in office, and I specifically remember the tons of protesters that were outside the White House. Maybe it was because we were visiting on a Sunday morning, or because of the recent security breaches, or maybe there’s just different rules in place now, but I thought that it was weird that there weren’t more people protesting. I mean, I don’t think that there’s one president that everybody in the United States has agreed with on everything.
The White House is still as pretty as ever, and always smaller than I remember it being. Of course, the thing that I really loved about it this time around, was seeing all of the beautiful cherry blossoms and magnolias in bloom, along with some tulips.
Arlington National Cemetery
Once we had finished our walk around the White House, we grabbed a cab and headed over to Arlington National Cemetery. When we arrived it was around 10:30 in the morning, and even though there were a lot of people there (like everywhere else that whole weekend), I thought that we would still be able to get a tour. And I was wrong. They weren’t even selling tickets for tours for an hour, and then it might be another hour before we could get on a tour bus. So, Chris and I decided to take a map and explore on our own.
We saw all of the major sites during our visit. The Kennedy grave site, the Robert E Lee home, and of course the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
When I visited with my mom, we didn’t see the Robert E Lee home, and while we were on the tour during this visit, I learned that George Washington was actually the great step-grandfather (or something like that) of Robert E Lee, and that there is a clear path between the Robert E Lee house and the Lincoln Memorial to show that the North and South are united. Pretty cool!
Visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and seeing a changing of the guard is something that everybody should do while visiting Arlington. It’s so hard to put into words how that whole experience made me feel, and I think the only thing I could say about it is that it’s awe-inspiring. And it’s not just the changing of the guard, but the whole guarding of the tomb that is really emotional as well.
Our whole visit to Arlington National Cemetery was truly a sobering experience. I don’t think any of us quite realize the sacrifice that the men and women of the armed forces make each and every day to keep us safe. And it’s not only them, but their families as well. Maybe it’s because we have so many friends and some family members that have served or are serving right now, but I know that all of these men and women deserve the highest amount of respect we can give them. Because I don’t think there will ever be anything we can say or do that will ever come close to thanks enough.
After we saw the changing of the guard, we headed out of Arlington, towards the Marine Corps War Memorial, or the Iwo Jima Memorial as it’s sometimes referred to. Chris had never seen it, so we knew we had to take a quick peak before meeting up with a family friend for a late brunch.
Our family friend picked us up for brunch at the Marine Corps War Memorial, and we headed to brunch at The Liberty Tavern in Arlington. They are known for their brunch buffet, but we all opted for our own entrees instead. I got the grilled cheese and added bacon, and it was very good. Definitely what I needed after a long day of walking around Arlington.
After brunch it was time to head back to the airport to get home. Remember how I said in the last post that traffic was horrendous trying to see all of the cherry blossoms. Well, we got stuck in that awful traffic trying to get from Virginia to our hotel in the DC. It probably took us 40 minutes to drive 5 miles! It was terrible! But luckily, we were able to get to our hotel and grab our bags (and our DC Starbucks mug, of course) and then make it to the airport on time.
All in all, we had such a blast on our DC mini-vacation, and it was so amazing to be able to check seeing the cherry blossoms in bloom off my imaginary bucket list! I definitely want to go back to see some more of the museums, but I think that we accomplished quite a lot during the 2 days we were there!
Warning: This blog post contains an obscene amount of pictures of the cherry blossoms from our Washington DC trip!
After a whirlwind morning and early afternoon in DC (read about the first half of our day here), I was practically dying to make it over to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms in all of their glory. So, from the Korean War Memorial we started walking towards the Tidal Basin and the FDR, Martin Luther King Jr, and Jefferson Memorials.
As soon as we started walking towards the Tidal Basin, we could definitely tell that we were going the right direction because the masses of people that were all heading in the same general direction. At least we were walking though, everybody that was in a car was pretty much just stopped on the street because there was so much traffic. My recommendation is to avoid driving whenever possible during Cherry Blossom season.
Along the way, we stopped and took some pictures of these beautiful cherry blossom trees that were in a park, but everything that we had seen before hand paled in comparison to all of the blossoms that are at the Tidal Basin. The Tidal Basin was pretty much white because of the number of cherry blossoms that were blooming.
We were in so much awe of the these beautiful flowers that we might have spent more time taking pictures and looking at the cherry blossoms than at the other monuments and memorials that we had seen earlier in the day.
Jefferson Memorial & FDR Memorial
While we were walking along the Tidal Basin, we also stopped at the FDR and Jefferson Memorials because they were on the way. I had actually never seen the FDR Memorial, so it was really fun to see it, especially after I saw it during this season of House of Cards.
After the FDR Memorial we made our way over the Jefferson Memorial. Once we got there, we realized that it was absolute chaos. There was some sort of competition going on with different branches of the military and there were tons of people watching the competition.
We had plans to meet up with one of my friends from high school that currently lives near DC at the Jefferson Memorial, so after we’d seen him, we decided to sit under one of the cherry blossoms and wait for them.
Once we found my friend and her husband, we headed back towards the Mall area to see a couple of the museums before calling it a day. The first time I had visited DC my mom and I saw the Museum of Natural Science and the Air & Space Museum. Unfortunately, the Museum of American History wasn’t open while we were visiting, so that was the first museum on my list to see.
Museum of American History
I was mostly interested in the pop culture aspect of the museum, like seeing Dorothy’s red slippers from The Wizard of Oz and all of the First Ladies’ dresses and china settings (most of these were pretty masculine, but I guess it’s hard to make a Presidential seal look pretty). But there were several other exhibits that we enjoyed that I didn’t know that they had.
There was an exhibit about the Star Spangled Banner that detailed out how the song was written and when it became our National Anthem (not until 1931, WHAT?!?!), and they even had the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key’s song. There was also an exhibit about all of the wars that the United States has fought in, and it really hit home how much all of our service men and women have sacrificed to keep us safe.
Air & Space Museum
After the Museum of American History we headed over to the Air & Space Museum for a little bit because this was the museum that Chris wanted to see the most. We poked our head into a couple of the exhibits, like the Moon Landing exhibit, before heading out.
By this time, we were all pretty much starved and our legs were starting to hurt a bit so we decided to grab some dinner. My friend and her husband had heard of a good ramen place in Chinatown that we decided to try out, but unfortunately, it was a 2 hour wait by the time that we got there (it was a small restaurant, but a 2 hour wait is crazy)!
So we headed to a dim sum place called Ping Pong Dim Sum that Chris had been to when he was in DC for work. The food was very good, and we ate our fill of dumplings, and I think that we would all agree that our favorite was the char sui bun, BBQ pork in a fluffy bun.
After dinner, we weren’t quite ready to head back to our hotel, so we went and grabbed a couple of beers at RFD (Regional Food & Drink). Although we didn’t eat here, the food looked pretty good, and they had a great selection of craft beers from the area. It was so much fun to try new beers out, but I wish that I could just say that I wanted something similar to a St. Arnold Lawnmower, and they would know what I’m talking about. #HoustonCraftBeerProblems
We seriously had the best time just hanging out that night, and it was nice to relax and get caught up with old friends, especially after the whirlwind of a day that we had.
Check back next time to hear about our Sunday visit to the Whote House and Arlington National Cemetery.