I Went to Washington DC! {part 1}

I don't live the kind of life where I envision this sort of thing happening, which is why I was *SO* overwhelmed (later excited!) by the whole thing.  Let's back up a bit...a group of folks from our school district was headed to Washington DC last Tuesday AM to participate in a group of folks working to re-imagine education in United States.  We had been invited because we do a lot of things that are 'outside of the box' of traditional public education in the United States.  The team consisted of our Superintendent, our Principal, a teacher, and a high school student from Whittier.  The weather was totally crummy last Monday though, and the teacher who was supposed to go was weathered in in the village.  Somehow my name came up as someone who might be able to go at the last minute.  So at noon on Monday I agreed to leave at 2am on Tuesday to be the female chaperone for the student and school board member fill-in for the teacher.  I'm so glad I said yes!  It was a very busy afternoon, packing, arranging childcare, doing last minute chores, etc., but I am so glad I said yes!

I had never been to DC before...such a lot a of flying for someone who likes to move around like me!  I survived the flight (via Seattle on the way there) and even managed to sleep a bit on the plane...something that usually evades me.  We went to a group dinner shortly after arriving and then our Superintendent and Principal took us for a little 'get acquainted' walk so we'd learn how to ride the Metro and figure out what we wanted to see.

view from our hotel room
It's no secret that big cities are a foreign language to me, and the metro system...well, it's a good thing we had that little orientation!  We would have figured it out, but it was sure nice to have someone who knew the ropes!  Our Superintendent worked in DC a number of years ago, and our Principal has been there numerous times.  Our first stop was the mall, and we headed toward the Washington Monument.  It was pretty windy that night, as you can tell from the flags!

The capital has scaffolding all around it, which looked cool all lit up!  From here we hopped back on the metro to see union station.  It was so pretty inside!  You'd never know what a scary place it was 20 years ago.

By this time we were all exhausted from flying half the night and most of the day, so we headed back to our hotel and crashed.  I don't know about anyone else, but I am pretty sure I was asleep in less than five minutes and slept like a rock all night long.  It felt good!  The next morning we attended some gatherings, then in the afternoon we visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and made a brief stop at the Smithsonian Museium of American History.  I could go on and on about each museum, but it would probably bore most folks.  Instead I'll go with my favorite part of each.  At the Museum of Natural History my favorite part was the minerals display.  I wouldn't have guessed that it would be, but minerals come in so many cool shapes and sizes in nature!

A rainbow of minerals and precious stones...so pretty!!

At the Museum of American History the Greensboro lunch counter was my favorite.  There was much of this museum that we didn't have time to explore...I would love to spend a whole day in each Smithsonian!

image source

We also trekked down to see the Washington Memorial in the daylight before meeting up with our group for dinner. 

After dinner we headed out to see some memorials after dark.  We saw the Lincoln Memorial...

The Vietnam Memorial (we visited again the next day in the light to better see the wall)...

The Vietnam Women's Memorial...

And the WWII Memorial...

We walked around the blocks near the White House and saw all kinds of cool architecture.  There are so many cool buildings!  This one was one of my favorites, though I can't recall what its purpose is...

And no visit to DC is complete without a photo of the White House, right?

Then we headed back to DuPont Circle to our hotel where we fell into bed...and I lay awake until 1am thanks to my strong internal clock! ;-)  I'll stop here, and tell you about the next two days in a separate post...kudos if you've hung in through this l-o-n-g post!

More photos here if you're interested...I took a *whole bunch* which probably comes as no surprise!


  1. What a whirlwind tour! Having grown up in the DC area, I'm amazed so far that you could find your way around the Mall and the subway system in one day. Dupont Circle isn't that close to the Mall! Looking forward to your next posts.

    1. Frances, we had maps in our pockets that we constantly referenced and were offered help by several kind strangers as well. Everyone we met in Washington DC was very kind!

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