Approaching Washington DC, you can see the Washington Monument from a long way away since it is the highest structure in the area. Numerous planes and helicopters flew over as we approached the city. Busy Reagan International Airport is next to the river. Many helicopters fly along the river and we continue to sight an abundance of aircraft all around us. Neither Teresa or Steve have ever traveled to the Washington DC area, so we saw everything with fresh and amazed eyes.
Once we arrived at Gangplank Marina in Washington. we met our looper friends Charlie and Robin McVey from the motor vessel The Lower Place. They arrived a few days before us and scouted out the lay of the land. It was wonderful to re-connect with them again in a different setting. We toured many of the Washington DC sites with them. We saw the Capitol at sunset, the White house, Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery (such a moving, humbling place), Trump Hotel (refurbished home of the Oldest Post Office), and the Thomas Jefferson Library of Congress. Books lined shelves and alcoves–many old volumes protected within a temperature-controlled environment. Of particular interest to Teresa was the quote: “I cannot live without books!” We had the privilege of indulging in appetizers and drinks at BLT Prime inside the Trump Hotel. Warm popovers graced our table at the start, followed by an appetizer, Clothesline Candied Maple Bacon featuring four slices of thick bacon suspended from a mini copper wire held on by wooden clothespins, and a dill pickle. How bad can it be–it’s BACON?! The presentation was worth it all as our server torched the bacon and a spring of herbs prior to serving. The food was absolutely remarkable!
We were thankful our wait for the US Capitol tour tickets was minimal. Normally, huge busloads of school children and adults filled the lines to the max. We just made it through before that happened. Experienced a good tour through the Capitol lingering in The Rotunda—heart and center of the Capitol. Paintings depict various events associated with the exploration and settlement of the United states such as “Embarkation of the Pilgrims” and “Baptism of Pocahontas.” Many of the larger buildings have gift shops with postcards and most any memorabilia you might desire.
The changing of the guard at Arlington is an amazing sight in precision and reverence. The steps, uniform, and each detail are exact in every aspect. We watched a changing of a ceremonial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and heard a soldier play taps as part of that process.
On Sunday, we worshiped with Christ Church Episcopal Washington Parrish where we understand Thomas Jefferson attended back in the day. A plaque on the outside church wall states the Christ Church was founded in 1795 and was the first church in the city of Washington. Friendly church people. We met Rev. Cara Spaccarelli who now owns a copy of Teresa’s book. Afterwards, we toured the neighborhood with a recommendation from Charles (gentleman we met in the front foyer of the church), walked past the barracks and commandant’s home. Walking on the sidewalks in front of such varied colors and architectural design proved a treat all by itself. Homes created from various materials stacked next to each other, house next to house, without space in between; only rod iron fences separate families. Their mini yards often bore bricks or small vegetable plantings and flowers. I’m told families exercise and play together in numerous community parks sprinkled throughout the town. This particular section of town reminded me of back home, a place called Eastown in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The first restaurant we stopped at said they had a 2-hour, 15 minute wait—we declined and moved on. Walking a few more blocks we came upon various diners and chose to satisfy our hungry tummies at Ophelia’s Fish House. Urban living to the fullest degree.
We walked between 5-8 miles daily while in DC. We also took advantage of Uber, and rode the Metro train for the first time. Hop on and hop off buses are popular. Also, our friends Charlie & Robin from The Lower Place highly recommend the Segway narrated tours which can be seen rolling here and there among the streets and popular buildings.
Thoughts while sitting on the Amphitheater steps of the Unknown Soldier:
Oh, the tears, the blood shed
Represented here in this place.
Row after Row after Row
Representing sons, fathers, uncles.
Real live people.
Real live losses.
Days gone by.
Ancestors, family, friends.
All to secure my freedom and yours.
Words cannot describe
The debt we owe
To the many who’ve gone on before.
I am humbled, speechless
Driven to my knees.
My only response
Is Thank You.
And then the tears flow.
I doubt that many other Loopers can claim they saw the sixth annual Running of The Chihuahuas. Dog lovers actually race chihuahuas in Washington DC. There were 16 rounds leading up to the race to determine the overall winner. The top three winners receive cash prizes. There is so much to see and do here it is overwhelming, and we only sampled a small portion. We are thankful to be here and experience a taste of big city life and urban living.
Arlington National Cemetery
Library of Congress
Washington Train Ride
Running of the Chihuahuas
More about Washington DC to follow…………