Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mt. Vernon

The last stop on our visit to Washington DC was Mt. Vernon in Alexandria, VA.  It was on our way home so we thought we'd stop by & explore General George Washington's home.

The girls thought it was REALLY cool that we were going to see George Washington's house.  I have to admit, I was pretty excited too.

George Washington inherited this mansion when he was 23 years old.  The Washington's were extremely wealthy for their time period.  His house was beautiful.  We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside, but it was really neat to see how his home was decorated.  George chose the colors of all the guest areas & I was amazed at how BRIGHT the painted walls were.  The walls were yellows, blues, greens, & all sorts of bright colors.  Martha Washington got to decorate the private residence where she & George lived.  Everything was white.  It was very simple & not extravagant at all.  I find it funny that George was so colorful (which was a symbol of power & wealth at that time) & Martha was so clean & simple.  It was also neat to see the actual bed that George Washington died in.  It's still in the home & still has the same sheets/pillows/curtains that were there when he died.  It was also really cool to see the key to the prison in Bastille which was given to General Washington by Lafayette in 1790.  It hangs by the back door of the Washington Mansion.

The grounds where the Washington Mansion is are extensive.  He owned a LOT of property.  After visiting the mansion we walked down to where Washington was buried.  It was really neat to see it in person.

I also love the fact that Martha's body was placed in the same tomb next to him.  Husband & wife laid to rest together.

His grounds were beautiful.  It was a nice end to a wonderful vacation.  I'm glad we had the opportunity to visit Mt. Vernon.

Capital Building

On our way out of Washington DC, we stopped by the Capital Building for my Dad.  He was excited to peek inside & see what we could see.

They offered lots of free tours & other things, but we just didn't have any time for it.  Trek & I will take the kids back sometime in the future & do a full on tour for them, but we had to head back & get the rental car back to the airport.  We also planned to visit Mt. Vernon on our way home, so we only got to enjoy the Capital from the outskirts this time around.

The Library of Congress

On our last day in DC, my mom begged us to take her to the Library of Congress.  My mom was a librarian at BYU for years.  Libraries have a special place in her heart.  We obliged thinking about how BORING it was going to be to go to a big library.  Boy were we wrong.

The Library of Congress was AMAZING.

Walking in the front doors & into the front foyer, Trek looked at me & whispered
Yes, it was like visiting Europe all over again.  The homesickness I have of the majestic beauty of ancient Europe filled me as I looked at this beautiful building.  I don't know what year this library was built, but it was GORGEOUS.  If you ever go to DC, please promise me you'll go check this place out.  You won't regret it.

Of course the "reading room" was closed the one day we chose to visit, but they allowed us to stand by the front door & take pictures.  There is also a viewing area on the 2nd floor where you can look down into the room while people are reading/studying.

The reading room was phenomenal!  I couldn't believe my eyes.  It really was beautiful.  I'd love to curl up with a good book in that room.  I'll have to come back someday when it's open & do just that. 

We probably spent a good half hour there just admiring the architecture, tiles, books, & ORIGINAL BIBLES on display.  It was a great diamond in the rough on our trip.

Thank you Mom for convincing us to go here.  I'm SO glad we went & I'm so glad you got to live your dream by visiting one of the largest libraries in the world.  Love you.

The National Mall & The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

After getting up at the crack of dawn, riding the subway, Ford's Theater, National Archives, & 2 Smithsonian Museums. . . we were starting to get tired.  We had one more stop on our wish list for the day:  The Air & Space Museum.  It was in exactly the OPPOSITE place we were at  so we had to walk for quite a while.  My poor kids had blisters on their feet by the time the day was done.

On our way across the mall we stopped to take a few pictures of the Capitol building.  It was quite beautiful.

I was also fascinated with the Smithsonian Castle.  We'll definitely have to go back & see that one.

We spent about an hour in the Air & Space Museum.  My mom & I have always been space buffs so it was fun sharing that love of the universe with my kids.

Apollo 11 - I can't believe they fit 3 guys in there for an extended
period of time.  I'd go nuts!

The moon landing module

We walked around the space side of things. . . touched a real moon rock & explored telescopes, stars, planets, & other fun things.  Then we made our way upstairs to the Kitty Hawk area.  The kids enjoyed seeing the actual plane flown by Orville & Wilber Wright that made them famous.  I didn't realize it was the actual glider they used in 1903 on display.  I thought it was a replica, but nope.  It was the ACTUAL plane.  How exciting to say we've seen it in person!

Amelia Earhart & her plane

The kids loved ALL the airplanes in the museum.

My beautiful Mom in front of the Washington

We had a fabulous day.  We exhausted ourselves with all we were able to do in a few short hours.  We hopped the subway back to our hotel & wound up all taking naps at 3 in the afternoon.  What a bunch of lazy people, I know.  ha ha ha.

We took the kids swimming at the hotel pool that evening & just enjoyed some down time for the rest of the night.