Friday, July 01, 2011

Ninth Day in Washington, D.C.

Today we were out early again and headed to the Metro.  What we found out about the parking garage is that they have some spaces on the 2nd floor that are reserved from 2 a.m. until 10 a.m.  After 10:00 anybody can park there so we made sure to get there at exactly that as I’m sure they probably get taken pretty fast.  How nice it is to not have to circle and circle and circle from the 6th floor!

We got off at our stop and headed for the Capitol.  I had ordered our tickets (free) online so I had a voucher that I needed to trade in for our tickets.  Our tour wasn’t until 12:40 but we were there before 11:00!  We knew we were going to be early but we wanted to check out the Visitor’s Center before our tour.  There are so many rules about visiting the Capitol.  No pictures, no backpacks, no liquid (even water!), no aerosol (huh?).




We asked a volunteer where to go and he noticed that we were really early and asked if we wanted tickets to the House of Representatives before our tour.  Sure!  They were not in Session but we could still see the room.  Again, no picture taking allowed.


I copied this picture from their website but you have to imagine the room completely empty of people.


We picked up our tickets for our tour and the girl asked us if we wanted to go on an earlier tour since we were so early.  Wow, everybody wanted to take care of us for being early.  LOL.  We declined because we had our own agenda of things to do before our tour.  One of those was to find something to eat so we used the restaurant they have there.  Really good food too!

I’ll let you read all about the Capitol here.  There’s way too much history about it and it would be way too long but it really is interesting.

The Rotunda where they also have State Funerals.


Directly beneath the Rotunda there is a room full of columns to support the Rotunda and an empty crypt under the floor.  It was put there for President Washington but he was already buried at Mt Vernon by the time the crypt was completed and legal complications prevented his body being moved so the crypt is actually empty.

Inside the Capitol dome


The National Statuary Hall is statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. The entire collection now consists of 100 statues contributed by 50 states. All 50 states have contributed two statues each.

This is South Dakota’s (our resident state), Harrison Beadle


I thought this one was interesting although it’s not actually in the Statuary Hall


The only woman in the Hall, Frances Willard, organized the Prohibition Party in 1882 and was very good friends with Susan B. Anthony


From there we found a tunnel that led to the Library of Congress so we thought we’d check that out on our way to the White House.



The building is actually divided into three sections that holds the collections of more than 147 million items including more than 33 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages; more than 63 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world's largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.  You can only see the rare collections if you have a library card.  Huh?  Can’t anybody get a library card?

The building itself was beautiful but again, no pictures of the collections allowed.  I can tell you, though, Thomas Jefferson’s collection of books was HUGE!!


From there we headed to the White House.  We weren’t taking a tour.  You have to contact your Congressman no less than 21 days before you arrive to get tickets.  Oh well.  We never know where and when we’ll be somewhere.  I’ve also been on the tour before.

There is a great Visitor’s Center for the White House though.  I was able to get a stamp for my National Parks Passport there.

They also had pictures of the rooms that you’re allowed to visit.  There are very few of them that you can actually go into.






Most of the collections we saw here we also saw in the American History Museum but it was still impressive.

We left there and headed up Pennsylvania Avenue to that famous address, 1600.

They forgot to leave me the key!


The White House garden.  They really use the food from this garden.  I wasn’t able to bring my big lens today because of all the security we had to go through so you can hardly see it.


There it is!  The White House


Police presence is everywhere, even on horseback and these guys were thirsty!


They are even watching from up top


Tomorrow we’re going to head away from the city and take a drive either up to Baltimore to see Ft McHenry (Hi Mac & Netters!) where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star Spangled Banner or to Mt Vernon where President George Washington resided and is buried.  We’ll know when we get on the road.


Bill and Karen said...

Very interesting and informative blog, we will be doing pretty much what you are doing when we arrive in Washington DC for a week in August. I am curious about the camera rules. When they say no pictures, are you told to leave your camera with security or do you get to keep your camera with you, and are on the honor system that you don't take any photos in the restricted areas. Thanks. Bill

Debbie and Rod said...

Bill - Thanks for the comment, it means a lot!! You're on the honor system as far as not taking photos. The only place they took our cameras was at the Capitol but only when we went into The House of Representatives.

Deb & Rod