Updated: Mar 23
A few months ago – actually, it was more than six months now! – we went away on a six-week trip around America for our honeymoon! Now that we’re back, I’m doing a pretty thorough job of documenting it on my blog. I wrote one BIG post about the trip already, but as I’m the sort of person who likes surprises, and because it was already pretty long, I decided to take one thing from each place we went to – except for Chicago and Canada because we weren’t there for long – and talk about it in detail for those that want to know bits about it before they go or are just interested in our experience.
If you’re like me in the sense that you like to be surprised and don
’t want “spoilers” about something before you visit a place, you can read about everything we did in less detail in the original blog, here! I will be going into a bit of detail – not too much – here, so just keep that in mind!
If you’re like me in the sense that you like to be surprised and don’t want “spoilers” about something before you visit a place, you can read about everything we did in less detail in the original blog, here! I will be going into a bit of detail – not too much – here, so just keep that in mind!
So far on the trip, we had traveled down from San Francisco to Los Angeles via Greyhound bus. We then left L.A on a big Amtrak train which took us to San Antonio, and from there it was short bus ride to Dallas! We Then flew from Love Field Airport to New Orleans, and after that, we got a long distance train – over 40 hours, with a 9 hour stop over in Chicago – to Washington, DC!
Although we were visiting DC, we didn’t actually stay there. We ended up staying with an awesome couple in Silver Springs, Maryland, another great Air BnB find! It was a bit cheaper than staying in DC, and only around 15 minutes away on the subway, plus it has a great selection of stores and restaurants!
DC is jam-packed with things to do and see, and what’s even better is that a great deal of it is free! We visited a few of the Smithsonian (The National Air and Space Museum and The Smithsonian Institution of Natural History) museums, Capitol Hill and the Library of Congress, to name a few and we didn’t pay for any of them!
Capitol Hill. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole
It was hard to pick my favorite thing to write about, a common problem I’ve come across whilst I’ve writing these blogs. However, I managed!
A great place to visit is National Mall, where you’ll find the above museums and landmarks, and much more! My favorite part of the National Mall is the Reflection Pool, and the landmarks at each end of it.
We headed west from the Capitol Building, until we reached the George Washington Monument. This – and the whole area – is such an iconic image, and it’s quite striking. We were particularly lucky on this day, because the weather was great, so it looked even better with a bright blue backdrop. When we were there, we had the option to go in it, but we had missed the last tour of the day. At 554 feet (depending on which measurements you go by), this is worlds largest obelisk. To learn more about the monument, follow this link.
The Washington Monument. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole
Walk a little further along and you come to the magnificent National World War II Memorial. It consists of a fountain surrounded by 56 pillars, two 43 foot arches (one for the Pacific, one for the Atlantic) and the Freedom Wall, which has 4048 gold stars, each one representing 100 American soldiers that died in the war. It’s a breathtaking memorial, and there is so much detail to it, you could spend so long studying it. For more information on the memorial, follow this link.
The Freedom Wall. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole
Once you’ve stopped to study the WWII Memorial, it’s a very short walk to the Reflecting Pool. For me, it is this pool of water that makes the area so peaceful. Although named for its reflective surface, it is also a brilliant place for reflection, I imagine for many things, but for visitors like us, for the monuments and memorial either side of it. I really enjoyed our stroll along it, and as we walked towards the final stop of this part of our trip, I watched those around it, some visiting like us and others who are lucky enough to live close by. Joggers, cyclists, those enjoying picnics, it was wonderful.
As we walked along side this beautiful pool, approaching the Lincoln Memorial, I felt more and more excited. For me, it was the highlight of the National Mall. President Lincoln is up there as one of my favorite Presidents, and having seen this image so many times in popular culture, it was amazing to finally see it in person.
The exterior of the building, done in the style of a Greek temple, features 38 columns, each 44 feet tall. 36 of them represent the states from the time of Lincolns death.
The interior of the building, along with the statue of President Lincoln, features two other areas, part of which holds a very small gift shop, separated by more columns. The statue itself (19 feet from head to foot) is of the President sitting in contemplation.
The whole memorial is breathtaking and so peaceful.The people visiting were very respectful – although I know that sadly, is isn’t always the case. As I looked up at President Lincoln’s carved, thoughtful face, I felt a sense of wonder and awe.
Curiously, there was a line of children waiting against the back wall, each trying to look at the back of Lincoln’s head. We never got a look, but I later learned that supposedly you can see Robert E Lee’s face in his hair.
The Lincoln Memorial. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole
I loved the whole experience, but the Lincoln Memorial was my favorite part.
Here is a quote from the diary I kept whilst we away –
“The Reflecting Pool, which is very beautiful, lead to the Lincoln Memorial. Walking up those iconic steps was quite an experience. The memorial itself is breathtaking and very beautiful.”
I remember thinking how wonderful it would have been to be there without any other tourists, to have a true moment of quiet reflection. I would have this thought many times throughout this trip, as so many of the places we visited were overcrowded with visitors. But then I would also think, at least in places like this, that we were probably part of that problem for other people! At least here, unlike some places we went to, everyone remained respectful and thoughtful, not just of the memorial but of those around them who wanted to pay their respects.
There is so much to do in DC, so much more than what we did in the few days we were there, but you have to visit the National Mall, and take the walk from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. It is a must see.