Washington D.C.

T R A V E L

The Story Behind D.C.

This blog started as more of a diary piece. I wanted to keep track of all of the amazing things I was able to experience as well as share it online! I also share these photos over on my Instagram as well. This trip was organized with EF Explore America and they did an amazing job with the itinerary setup and guides. I learned so much as I explored DC for the second time in my life. This trip was definitely a lot more memorable because it was for Trump’s inauguration. I may not be the biggest fan of him, but he is still the President of the United States, so it was still incredible to live through.

Photo taken at the Newseum

This blog is pulled from an old website, that is why formatting may be off.

January 18th, 2017

Itinerary:
– Arrive in Washington DC
– National Museum of American History
– Lincoln Memorial
– WWII Memorial

Captured at the National Museum of American History

The bus ride was a long eight hours, but it was enjoyable. I was accompanied by three of my very close friends, Nolan, Grace, and Maddi. We had a lot of laughs, but the fun part was just getting started. Once we arrived and settled into our hotels, we had a choice of the different Smithsonian Museums to visit. I had already been to the National Air and Space Museum a few years back, so my next choice was the National Museum of American History. We were able to explore that for a few hours and we almost got through it all. My photographer self was in love with all the things to capture. While the logical part of me never fully absorbed everything I was seeing. One kid made a big mistake. He left his backpack on the ground and walked away from it for a short while. It’s safe to say that security was extremely careful with this situation as there have been backpack bombings recently. He was just a student, but he was treated as a possible terrorist. He got some heavy scolding and was publicly embarrassed because of this mistake, which I believe is quite understandable.

Captured at the National Museum of American History

Later on in the day, we took a late afternoon to night tour of the Lincoln Memorial and WWII Memorial. Both of them were exquisite. Lincoln stood so tall and they place was packed in. There was small news channels recording scenes on the steps, which we of course jumped in the background of. Since the inside was so filled, we ended up hanging on the steps anyways. I got some great shots of Grace and the incredible view. The WWII memorial was a different story. Everyone was a lot more respectful and intrigued it seemed like. We slowly made our way around it and paid our respects to those who had fought for our freedom. Some families had left bouquets of flowers while others had letters for them. There were also pictures of them leaning up against the walls. It was all very touching and reality hit that this was all so real. Thinking deep down about these strong, brave men and women who fought for their next generations freedom, it was incredible. The statues nearby were lit beautifully, except it was still too dark to capture their beauty. As the night winds down, we got dinner at a sub shop, and returned to our hotel rooms.

January 19th, 2017

Itinerary:
– Photo Stop at the Marine Corps War Memorial
– Visit Arlington National Cemetery
– Changing Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
– Kennedy Grave Sites
– Explore Alexandria

Captured at the Arlington National Cemetery

We diverted from Washington D.C. and made our way down to Virginia. We started our day off taking a look at the Marine Corps War Memorial. It is quite a remarkable statue and representation of these soldiers. I thought I had seen something similar to this before, but then I learned that it was actually a recreation from 1945 when marines raised the flag atop Mount Suribachi. We then took a short trip to the Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to those who we have lost. Watching the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier was quite an experience. The ceremony is spectacular and done so graciously. The Kennedy grave sites were a very humble sight. They don’t have some large magnificent tombs, they just have simple gravestones. It really speaks to who they were.

Captured at Pop’s Ice Cream in Alberta, Virginia

In our initial itinerary we were supposed to visit Mount Vernon. Although it seems like we missed out on a great experience of exploring the grounds and seeing the tomb, we got to explore Alexandria at night. I got some great pictures as well. It was so nice just to go to a little town and see how well preserved it is from the late 18th century. My group took a stop at Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Company. The place on the outside resembled all of its surroundings. But on the inside it was modern and updated to a 21st century style. Never mind the interior design, the ice cream was great too! It’s not like this town is for show, it is fully functioning and beautiful. The streets were lit up and it was all so lively. Alexandria may be one of the most elegant towns I have ever visited. Everything just felt so well preserved and perfect. I would recommend to anyone in the Washington D.C. area to drive south a bit to Alexandria and see what they have to offer.

January 20th, 2017

Itinerary:
– Experience the Events of Inauguration Day
– Oath of Office
– Presidential Inaugural Address
– Inaugural Parade
– Inaugural Ball

Captured at the Inaugural Address  [/caption]

We had to walk. A lot. From our hotel to the Washington Monument. It was crazy. The streets were all blocked off and it was almost entirely just foot traffic everywhere. There were already protesters out before the inauguration even started. Trump is very popular… and not entirely in a good way. A lot of people seem to hate him, and I usually try to avoid politics, so I have only ever heard of him as a weird guy with a lot of money. I believe the walk took over an hour and when we got there, there was a lot of security, and thousands of people. We ended up all gathering in a spot about five hundred feet from the huge screen. The Washington Monument was directly to my right and the White House to my left. It was quite a long process and was interesting to see.

Captured at the Inaugural Address

But what I found most interesting was when it was all over, and Trump was leaving, he flew over. We actually all witnessed him in his helicopter going back to the White House. It was quite surreal. Once we left we walked over to the White House, and that was the closest I imagine any of us will ever get to it. Able to touch that black fence and all. Our trek back lead us to part of the Women’s March. They were all so very empowered. Along with these empowering women, there were a lot of protesters… Even more than when we had left in the morning. And we had to make our way past the police that were holding these protesters together. Their signs were very questionable, there was a lot about race and assuming things about Trump that were not fact. But, freedom of speech I guess. These people can write anything they want or believe as long as they were not disturbing the peace.

January 21st, 2017

Itinerary:
– Take a Guided Tour Through Washington D.C.
– Washington Monument
– FDR Memorial
– MLK Jr. National Memorial
– Jefferson Memorial
– Take a Walking Tour of Capitol Hill
– Depart for Home

Captured at the Inaugural Address

We had already visited the Washington Monument, but now we got some information about it. Apparently people used to be able to climb it too. And the guide was telling us how there was an earthquake that put some cracks in it. So no one has been able to climb it for quite a while. The FDR Memorial was our next stop on our tour. The entire area was like a Garden of Eden. It was all beautiful stone work with very clear etchings. Now the MLK Jr. Memorial just adds on to this beauty. He stands 30 something feet tall and watches over the entire area. We didn’t end up having time to go to the Jefferson Memorial but we could see it from afar, and it was huge.

Captured at the Holocaust Museum

We all then made our way to Capitol Hill. The guide took us on a bit of a tour even though there was some construction going on at the time. We only walked through some of the corridors, but it still felt like an art tour. As the day slowed to an end, we headed back to the hotel and gathered all of our things. We packed up the buses and began our descent home. The drive back always seems faster than the drive there, so it went by in nearly a blink of the eye. We arrived back in Massachusetts at about 3 A.M.. Getting back to my car and starting the drive home was great. I put my windows down and enjoyed the cool air as I listened to my playlist. That was a great trip.