Written by Todd Thrun.
It has always been a dream of mine to take my son to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Well, this summer we took a long weekend and spent 3 nights in this history rich city. We flew from Lansing and when we approached Washington we were amazed at how close we were to the Lincoln Memorial and the Mall. Regan National Airport is literally a stones throw from the city.
After deplaning, we decided to take the “Metro” from the airport to downtown. It left right from the airport and dropped us of a half block from our hotel. For the rest of the trip, we either walked or took the Metro, which is safe, inexpensive, and actually fun.
We stayed at the Marriott Metro Center. It is a beautiful hotel located right in the middle of all the sights. It is only about three blocks from Ford’s Theatre, which was our first stop. My son Scott is a big history buff, and the theatre was one of his favorite sights. Upon entering, you are given about a twenty-minute presentation by experts from the U.S. Park Services. After that, you can look around the theatre, and there is a small museum in the basement that has many fascinating exhibits, such as the gun that Booth used and the actual clothes worn by Lincoln on that fateful night. Across the street you can visit the Peterson House, where Lincoln was taken after being shot, and where he eventually died.
The next day was going to be our big sightseeing day. We took the Metro down to the State Department Building. About 2 blocks away is the mall. Our first stop was the Lincoln Memorial. This awe-inspiring sight nearly brought us to tears. Just a short walk away is the Vietnam War Memorial. We read some of the names on the wall, looked at the two statues of soldiers and nurses, and watched people as they traced the names of soldiers killer in the war. We continued down the Mall until we got to the Washington Monument. The top of the monument was still closed, but from the hill you got a great view of the White House. We tried to get into the White House, but the tickets were all sold out. We then went to the Old Post Office tower. It is the next highest view of the city that you can have, besides the Washington Monument. It was well worth it.
The next day the weather turned cold and rainy. I really wanted to visit Arlington Cemetery, so we went even with the bad weather. We visited the Kennedy grave sites, the memorial to the Challenger crew, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The rest of the day we stayed indoors visiting the Smithsonian Museums. Our favorite was the Air and Space Museum, thought they all were very interesting.
We packed in as much as we could during our short stay. When we got home we were exhausted, but loved every minute in our nations capitol. Whether you are a history fan or not, you will love this great city.