Monday, August 3, 2015

Touring Washington DC...Written 8-3-2015

Just feel free to look up places and if you want to go anywhere by all means let's go.

All of the things on your list are pretty easy to do. The only thing I am unsure of is the Reflecting Pools because when the weather starts getting cold here they drain every fountain, pool, or artificial body of water to prevent freezing and damage to the pool/fountain. Middle of November it should still be there but it's really up to Mother Nature. Anyways, the best way to do the memorials/monuments (Korea, Vietnam, Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, WWII-but could also include FDR, MLK Jr, George Mason, and signers of the Declaration of Independence) is in the morning. Most of the museums and other structures open at 10am. What you do is you head out early and walk to the memorials and monuments you want to see and then go check out the rest at 10. The must see memorials and monuments are Korea, Vietnam, Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and WWII. The others I mentioned are still very well done and beautiful just less known (there are a billion other even smaller memorials or statues all around DC but usually not worth the visit unless significant to you).

As fair warning be prepared for some walking. If you're downtown you are lucky to get a parking spot within 10 blocks of where you want to be. Parking is expensive and usually pretty short term and it's just literally hours of circling around places (Think like downtown Los Angeles or San Fransisco). The Residence Inn in Arlington, VA is .3 miles away from a metro station (pentagon city) on the blue and yellow lines. If going downtown use the metro rail and walk. Basically, Maryland you need a car (suburbia), DC a car is good but there is some traffic (Big city) but not terrible, downtown=no car. We'll probably walk and metro around downtown. Use a Smartrip card (metro card that is cheaper than a fair card, and they save a dollar each way and are super cheap ($10-$2 for the card $8 on he card and you can reload them). I have one extra, I'll work on acquiring another extra card. It might be a good idea to do some practice walks around town before you come here. I'll keep walking to an absolute minimum but downtown the National mall is 2 miles long and requires some walking.
I'm no expert on Virginia, but Arlington is also a good morning destination. Have your walking shoes on though. Tomb of the unknown solider will probably have a change of the guard every hour because it should be the off season (if not every 30 min for the busy season), also in Arlington is the raising of the flag, Iwo Jima statue, eternal flame (JFK burial site), and the Arlington house. Arlington is a lot of walking around.

Capitol Tours can be reserved in advance or show up and hope for tickets (just like the Washington Monument). For scheduling wise I'd recommend reserving them because it's a hit or miss if you show up to grab tickets (I got lucky last time because they had 2 extra tickets for the tour). Same process as you did for the Washington Monument just on the Capitol Building site. 

This is very important if you want to go to the White House; you need to work on that ASAP, as in now. It usually takes around 2-3 months for clearance if I remember correctly. Go to the White House website and get info for the tour. You have to send a bunch of stuff (SS#, ID, DOB, etc) to get clearance to enter. Make sure it exactly matches your ID you bring (and please bring some form of photo ID) otherwise they won't let you in when you get there. It takes some time but they have all the info you need on the website. So sign us all up if you want to go and try and schedule it when you can.

DC Temple and Visitors' Center is super easy. So transfer meeting (aka where you'll pick me up) is located at the DC Stake center which is literally next door to the Temple and Visitors' Center. If you'd like, we can go there after transfers or on any other day. Sessions for the LDS Washington D.C. Temple run
Tuesday–FridayEvery hour from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; every 30 minutes from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
SaturdayEvery 30 minutes from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

and there is clothing rental there as well. The Visitors' Center is open everyday 10am-9pm. Also during our visit, that Sunday will be "Why I Believe" at 7pm. An event at the Vistors' Center where they have some recent converts speak and a keynote speaker. The whole mission will be there.

I'm sorry I don't know much about what's outside of the mission to visit but Virginia has Mount Vernon, Air Force Memorial, Pentagon, and 9-11 pentagon memorial, also the larger Smithsonian Air and Space museum. I don't know much outside of Southern Maryland and DC. If you or Mom have anything you are dying to do outside of Maryland or DC, feel free to explore the east coast.

Some things I would recommend doing in DC include (but are not limited to) the following...I'll give you my reasoning but if you don't sound interested in it we don't have to go because I've been to these places and have seen them. I'm just throwing some out there for you to enjoy. 
National Museum of Natural History-the biggest of the Museums on the mall, it has a bit of everything: Hope Diamond, tons of jewels, mummies, dinosaurs, taxidermy, etc 
National Museum of American History-Nauvoo Sunstone, Nauvoo temple historical plate, Dorothy's red ruby slippers, star spangled banner 
National Air and Space Museum-Wright Brothers' plane, big jets, airplanes, spirit of St Lois, rockets, military aircraft
Library of Congress-nice building, Jefferson library, main reading room, Gutenberg bible, unfortunately currently can't see a first edition of the Book of Mormon anymore :(
Kennedy Center-Mom's alley-don't have to see a show but they do tours you see the hall of nations, the hall of states, and their main theaters.
National Archives-Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution.
Holocaust Memorial Museum-sobering experience but a popular destination.
National Gallery of Art-some great art, have to be careful in some rooms but there is some great Art and artists in there.
National Gallery of American Art/National Portrait Gallery-portraits of every president, Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young.
Elder Braden Dahl

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