Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lincoln's Cottage and the Unexpected

Today's vacation sightseeing plan was to go to President Lincoln's Cottage, also known as, The Soldier's Home in northwest D.C. We had wanted to go last year but ran out of sightseeing gas. This year we made sure to do it early, and bought actual tickets online in advance, thus, double securing our intentions. We were going to follow the Cottage up with a visit to Ford's Theatre and the Peterson House. This is the Lincoln vacation after all. Unfortunately, when I went online to do some basic research about Ford's Theatre (as the advance man) I discovered that the Theatre is closed down for five days this -week for facility cleaning etc. What bad luck. It just re-opened relatively recently after its big remodel! Quel domage!
Back to Lincoln's Cottage--Lincoln spent 25% of his presidency at this summer home. It has been recently restored to its state during the Lincoln Presidency. It is an nontraditional restoration because the interior is virtually empty of furniture. Instead of highlighting the furnishings, the tour uses multimedia and informative talks by tour guides to talk about how his time at the cottage impacted his presidency by shaping his experiences. The visitor's center attached to the cottage has a small but wonderful museum attached with more multimedia historical displays. There's also a gift shop and a very clean restroom (and we know how important that is right?!). We really enjoyed our time there. After the tour we got some wonderful pictures of the exterior of the house with its truly magnificent magnolia tree and a statue of Lincoln next to a horse.
So after having a great tour at Lincoln's Cottage, we were a little under-planned for what to do next. We couldn't just leave D.C--it was only mid-day. (Our timed entry had been 11:00 o'clock at L.C.) Karen has wanted to get some good photos of the front of the White House and to see Blair House ever since our White House tour last summer. They don't let you take anything in to the W.H. and there is no place to store your stuff so we don't have any good close ups of the W.H. exterior. We optimistically headed in that direction hoping to find parking. HAH! Some hope.

Eventually we ended up crossing the Potomac behind Lincoln's Memorial and passing behind Arlington Cemetery. That's when serendipity struck. We passed the Marine Corp War Memorial of the Iwo Jim Sculpture. I didn't even realize that was there! We stopped and spent some time at this stunning memorial honoring all the marines who have served our country in armed conflicts since 1775.

Since we were right beside the George Washington Parkway, we then decided to continue the theme and see if we could figure out how to get to the newish Air Force Memorial. We could (with the help of the nice man at the security gate who pointed out the obvious to everyone but us parking lot for visitors to the Air Force Memorial which was across the street. We then spent some time at that truly stunning memorial. The view over D.C. is great---even with the heavy foliage.

Since it turned out we were up the hill from the Pentagon Memorial (to the victims of the 9-11 attacks) we made that memorial our next stop. Or we tried to, anyway. Unfortunately after circling the largest parking lot known to man, we left because all the parking was restricted. The Pentagon Memorial is very tourist unfriendly as near as we could see. Or maybe it is not set up for those of us who are "where to go and park" challenged. Judy was pretty tired from battling the heavy traffic and we were all getting pretty hot by then so we resolved to visit the Pentagon Memorial on Friday after doing some research about where to park.

In the end, I consider it a good day of sightseeing when we go to new places and I have a magnet to put on the refrigerator's "Places We Have Been" display.

1 comment:

shirley said...

Cool picture of the Air Force memorial (the one with the clouds). If this is your Lincoln vacation, why aren't you heading back to good ole Illinois? Springfield? I know, I know - too far away.... sniff....