Washington, D.C. Day 3 Night Tour of the Monuments

June 4, 2023 We did our usual Sunday routine. Read the paper, Bob cooks special Sunday breakfast of Eggs Benedict, and we get the day rolling. I am taking the night tour at 5:30 tonight going into Washington to see the monuments at night. I have been looking forward to it. We planned to have an early dinner so I could make the tour. Today, we are hanging around the campground doing some needed things. The day was off to a cool start at 64 degrees so that was good for all we wanted to do today. Auggie got a bath and a trim.

Bob got a haircut while the neighbors watched.

After 3 weeks of road grime and rain, the bus got washed. He did the washing and I did the drying. It usually takes about an hour. We have been out on the road 3 weeks now, so it was time.

My pineapple doesn’t seem to be growing much, although up until Washington D.C., we haven’t had much sun. It hasn’t helped either that occasionally we’ve forgotten to take it out of the Jeep. Hopefully, now it will continue to grow with the sunny weather here.

After the bus got washed, I wanted to relax a little and rest up for my night tour of the monuments, so I did some reading. What a pleasure to sit in the sun and read! About 4:00, we had an early dinner, and then Bob dropped me off at the campground bus depot at 5:15, so I could take my night tour which began at 5:30.

There were 29 of us going on the tour and I was the only single participant. No problem! I got the row all to myself!

We left the bus depot without the guide because we would pick her up at the Capitol. The bus driver, Carl, was a fountain of information and humor on our drive into downtown Washington. We crossed the Anacostia River into downtown.

As we drove through the neighborhoods on Capitol Hill, Carl pointed out different things and shared his wealth of knowledge. These signs can be seen to designate the Capitol Hill area.

We drove through the Lincoln Park neighborhood where families were enjoying the day. He told us that these row houses were designed that way because back in the day when they were built, you were taxed on the amount of front yard you had. So the architect decided to build them up and keep the front yards small.

We made our way down to the Capitol and stopped to disembark and meet our guide. She was waiting for us in front of the Capitol.

Our guide, Cara, works for a Senator as a scheduler in the Capitol (so she can park there for free). She told us she schedules all his meetings, etc. and tells him where to be and when to be there. The rest of the day she spends looking for him! Ha! She gave us all sorts of interesting facts about the Capitol and told us she would be carrying a yellow umbrella so we could find her at all times. That really came in handy.

From there, we got back on the bus and worked our way down around the National Mall. As we passed buildings, she told us what they were and shared interesting facts about them. This was the National Archives Building where they keep important documents including the Constitution of the United States.

The Old Post Office and Clock Tower are listed on the National Register of Historic Places which was built in 1892 and completed in 1899. It includes a food court, a retail space, and roof skylight over the central atrium. The clock houses the “Bells of Congress” and the observation deck offers panoramic views of the city. It is now a hotel owned by Donald Trump.

The Treasury Department is housed in this building. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1972. The statue of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, stands out front.

The bus stopped and let us off on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. which is closed to vehicular traffic.

We crossed the street and walked past a guy who was playing guitar music by Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Hendrix. He was actually pretty good . . . and loud!

We walked past some protestors and continued on Pennsylvania Ave. towards the White House.

We got back on the bus and continued on our tour past the beautiful Truist Bank and clock tower.

Last time we were here, we took a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It was a very interesting tour!

The Museum of African History and Culture had unusual architecture on the outside based on the ornate ironwork created by enslaved craftsmen.

Our tour was to see the main monuments at night when the lights come on, so we had to slow down a little and wait for darkness to arrive. We arrived at the Tidal Basin where the Jefferson Memorial stands and I climbed the stairs to the top.

From the top of the stairs, we could also see the Washington Monument clearly across the pond at West Potomac Park. The area is surrounded by cherry trees that bloom in March/April with those famous cherry blossoms.

Inside under the rotunda-domed roof was the inspirational statue of Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father, primary author of the Declaration of Independence, statesman, and third president of the United States. On the walls were 3 of his famous quotes.

From there, we could walk to the FDR Memorial. It uses elements of water, stone, and landscaping to tell the story of his presidency. The statues are at ground level and meant to be touched. The memorial consists of five outdoor rooms–one as the prologue and 4 for his four terms of office. The fountains and pools in each room represent the important role water played in his life and to set the tone during different difficult times in his presidency. It is a newer memorial here in Washington! I really liked this memorial. The setting is so peaceful and serene.

We headed to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial just a short walk from there. It is quite a distinctive display done all in white marble.

The sun was setting as we drove to our next stop–the Korean War Memorial. It is one of my favorites because it is so lifelike. Images of the men and women who served and died are shown on a wall along with all of their names.

The Lincoln Memorial was in walking distance of the Korean War Memorial. It was swarming with people and school groups. We stayed here a bit longer to wait for darkness to fall and the lights to come on. It began to glow in the darkness.

From the top of the stairs. we could look back at the Washington Monument and by this time of the evening, the image could be seen in the reflecting pool.

Standing in just the right place, I could see both the Capitol and the Washington Monument with my zoom lens.

The Lincoln Monument took on a beautiful glow the darker it got. That’s what I came for!

We had two more memorials to visit and the next one within walking distance was the Vietnam Memorial Wall. It was dark enough by then that we had to use our phone flashlights to see better.

The memorial items that people leave next to the names of their loved ones get removed daily and stored in an archives facility in Virginia. The largest item ever left was a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

We hopped back on the bus to make our last stop at the World War II Memorial. The WWII Memorial has a fountain in the middle, the Rainbow Pool. The memorial is divided into the Pacific and the Atlantic fronts. The arches act as entrances into the memorial.

This memorial is dedicated to the victory by the U. S. and Allied Forces. Surrounding the fountain are 50 columns that list the U. S. states, commonwealths, and territories that sent men and women to serve under the U. S. flag during the war. They are placed in the order that each state entered the Union alternating from side to side.

In walking around the circular monument, about 1/4 of the way around, I looked off in the distance and could see the Washington Monument all lit up.

Continuing on, at the 3/4 mark, I looked in the other direction and could see the Lincoln Memorial in the distance. There is an arched wall in this picture containing thousands of gold stars to honor the 416,800 American servicemen who died in uniform during WWII.

I have seen this memorial in the daytime, but seeing it at night gave it a whole new beauty all its own. It was breathtaking! Well, that concluded our night tour, so we headed back to the Capitol to drop off our guide, Cara. She did an excellent job of showing us the memorials and monuments and sharing all kinds of interesting information. We said goodbye to Cara at the Capitol and Carl, our driver, began the drive home. Washington D. C. is gorgeous at night!

Carl asked if we wanted to see one more monument before heading back and of course, we said “yes”. He took us across the Potomac River to the site of the Iwo Jima Monument on the top of a hill in Virginia. It was so awesome in the dark, all lit up.

Standing on the hill, the night was clear and we could see quite a distance. I zoomed in on this view from the hill. Now THAT is a view!

As we left the area, Carl pointed out other areas of interest that we passed like the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery before crossing back over the river. The rest of our drive home was quiet as we listened to Carl’s music on the PA system. We arrived back at the campground at 10:45. We thanked Carl for the excellent job he did in maneuvering the bus through the busy streets in all the traffic and for sharing his knowledge of the city. He and Cara were a great team! Bob was waiting for me at the bus depot in the campground and we drove back to the campsite. Auggie was happy to see me and I took a little time to wind down from the tour! I am so glad I went to see the monuments lit up at night! IT WAS AWESOME! (I am sorry that this entry is a day late, but when I got back after the tour last night, I was beat. I hope it was worth the wait!)

4 thoughts on “Washington, D.C. Day 3 Night Tour of the Monuments”

    1. bshaw16872@aol.com

      I have wanted to do the night tour of the Monuments since 2011 when we here by boat, so I really enjoyed it. I really love this town.

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