Late on Saturday afternoon we packed up the car and made the short drive from Winchester into Washington DC. One of our neighbours had suggested that we might enjoy spending a night at Washington’s famous Willard Hotel, the hotel where every US President has either slept or attended an event. It is also the place where Martin Luther King, Jr wrote his famous “I have a dream” speech. Visiting so close to Christmas meant we would get to experience the hotel all decked out in its festive attire, and as it is right in the heart of DC, we could explore many of the nearby attractions on foot.
After we’d checked in and done lots of oohing and aahing about how beautiful everything was, we headed out to grab a quick bite and have a look at the National Christmas Tree. There were crowds of people admiring the tree which is located very close to the White House – or as Olive and Edie like to call it, “look! Barack Obama’s house”.
The next stop on our nighttime exploration was the Lincoln Memorial. This classic Greek temple style building houses a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, and inscriptions from two of his most famous speeches. It would have been a stunning site by day, but by night it was incandescent, seeming to bathe the surrounding area in a warm glow.
By this time we had a couple of pairs of tiring legs so we headed back to our beautiful room at the Willard. Throughout our walk that evening we were treated to many views of the Washington Monument, which is both the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk. The base of the monument is circled by a ring of American flags which, after the tragic events of Friday, were gently fluttering at half mast.
Our goal for Sunday was a visit to the United States Botanic Garden. I’d read about their amazing holiday exhibit Season’s Greenings, on this blog and so after a fabulous breakfast Willard hotel style we began to walk towards the garden.
On the way to the Garden we discovered the US Navy Memorial, which consists of a statue known as The Lone Sailor overlooking the Granite Sea – an exact replica of the world’s oceans. The girls had lots of fun identifying different countries and oceans etched into the ground.
The Botanic Garden is located on the grounds of the US Capitol, so we were able to tick another landmark off our list.
After a quick look at the Capitol’s exterior we joined the queue outside the Botanic Gardens. Fortunately we’d arrived early and it wasn’t long before we were inside enjoying the wreaths, garlands, living Christmas ornaments, model trains, buildings made entirely from plant materials and a huge display of poinsettias.
As well as enjoying all the Season’s Greenings exhibits, we wandered through the conservatory where we were able to see so many varied and eye catching plants.
After leaving the gardens we wandered the streets for a bit longer, checked out a downtown Christmas market and stumbled across the Petersen House, which is where Abraham Lincoln died, a day after being shot at Ford’s Theatre.
Despite the shock and anxiety I was feeling after the senseless loss of life on Friday, we were able to enjoy our weekend – it felt important to be doing something positive with those I love the most. I shall add only one word to the thousands that have already been said or written about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary…