Saturday, July 30 - Our White House tour is today at 9:00 a.m. Again, we took the subway to the Federal Triangle station. After a short walk we arrived at the White House gates. There was a brief mix-up, I believe due to our tour having to be re-scheduled, but after a short delay we were admitted through security.
Construction began when the first cornerstone was laid in October of 1792. Although President Washington oversaw the construction of the house, he never lived in it. It was not until 1800, when the White House was nearly completed, that its first residents, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved in. Since that time, each President has made his own changes and additions. The White House is, after all, the President’s private home. It is also the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, free of charge.
The tour is a self-guided tour. Once you enter the White House you can leisurely walk through and enjoy the public area at your leisure. Of course, there are Secret Service officers in each room to watch over you and to answer questions. You are not permitted to carry anything with you, including purses, cameras, bags, lotions, etc... The only items permitted are wallets, ID's and cell phones. Phones must be turned off.
As you enter the White House, you can't help but notice the beautiful landscaped grounds and gardens. Off to the left is the new kitchen garden planted by Michelle Obama and Jackie Kennedy's rose garden.
Here is a map so you can follow along with our tour. Since we could not take any photos, all the photos of the rooms were taken off the Internet.
As you tour the historic home, you can't help but be amazed by the priceless pieces of art and Federal period furniture. We started out viewing the Vermeil Room used for a variety of official functions. Portraits of recent First Ladies are displayed here.
The next room, is the China Room where the china used by the Presidents is displayed in beautiful cabinets Each room is tastefully decorated in period furnishings and each has a huge chandelier hanging in the center of the room.
We then were directed upstairs to the East Room located on what is called the State Floor. It is the largest room in the White House. It is used for receptions, ceremonies, press conferences and other events. The bodies of seven Presidents have lain in state here, including Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy.
Next is the Green Room, which once served as Thomas Jefferson's dining room, is now furnished as a parlor and used for receptions. Most of the furniture was made in New York by Duncan Phyfe in 1810. The walls are covered with watered green silk with draperies of striped silk damask.
Our favorite room, the Blue Room, was next. It is gorgeous! Often used by the President to receive guests, it is furnished to represent the period of James Monroe, who purchased the furnishings in 1814. The White House Christmas tree is placed in this room during the Christmas season.
The Red Room, used for small receptions, has long been a favorite of the First Ladies......red is a “power” color for women, you know! The room is decorated as an American Empire parlor of the 1818-1830 era.
The last room seen on the State Floor, open to the public, is the State Dining Room. It can seat 140 guests at dinners and luncheons. Carved into the fireplace mantel is a quotation from a letter by John Adams. “I Pray Heaven to Bestow the Best of Blessings on THIS HOUSE and All that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under this Roof.” Hanging in this room is the famous portrait of George Washington. The only work of art to have remained in the White House since it's completion. It was removed briefly during the Civil War, when the White House was set on fire by Confederate troops.
The second and third floors are used only by the Presidential family and guests. Paul asked one of the Secret Service Agents if the First Family ever roam around in the evenings after all the tours are completed. “Yes,” he replied, “especially the first several weeks of their new administration. The children still run through with friends during sleepovers, but the President and Michelle pretty much hangout upstairs now.”
That concluded our tour as we strolled out the front portico and were permitted to take pictures – OUTSIDE - using our cell phones. This was a fabulous tour...a must see! Both Marsha and Paul consider it the highlight of their Washington visit! If you come to Washington, DC, be sure to contact your State Senator to arrange a tour!!!
Marsha said that they look like they are keeping bees….
Paul’s reply….”Now, do you really believe that is a bee stand?” “Duh, Marsha!”
Paul enjoyed watching the SS patrol the roof.
We Weren't done Yet!!! - Around 6:00 p.m. We headed back to the City to see the place lit up at night. Again we rode the subway, which was undergoing track repairs, and the trains were delayed by 30 minutes or more. We arrived downtown about 8:00 p.m. Our first stop, one of Marsha's favorites, the Korean War Memorial. We waited there for the sun to set and for the lights to start coming on. We enjoyed people watching for a while.....and boy was it crowded. People certainly have no fear of being out in DC after dark.
This Memorial does not have tons of light, but what lightning they do have make the faces of the men ghostly looking.
Next was the Lincoln Memorial.....AWESOME in the daylight and AWESOME at night. The crowd here was huge! The Lincoln statue is fabulous after dark. The crowds were sitting all over the stairs, enjoying the view of the city.
We then headed up The Mall toward the WWII Memorial and the Washington Monument. The Washington Monument seems to be the beacon of the city. Most every where you venture, you can see the Monument. Again, at night it's spectacular!
WW II Memorial in front.
From there, we back tracked a bit to the White House. Gee, we were just there about twelve hours ago...ha ha! It looked like everyone was home. Lit up on the second floor…inside and out.
Then the long walk up Pennsylvania Avenue all the way to the Capital Building. A much longer walk than we were prepared for....about 15 blocks. We hadn't seen the Capital close up yet. We'll be touring it on Monday. WOW!!! That is a beautiful and humungus building and again AWESOME at night.
Approximate walking distance is 10.07 miles from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol via the walk along the highway. Of course we had to walk 8 blocks from the Metro to the Lincoln Memorial, took a side trip to the White House and had to walk another 8 blocks to catch the Metro for home.
Now to find the subway. Marsha's been an outstanding tour guide taking Paul all over the Capital city. Darting here and there. If you know Marsha, you probably wonder why Paul turns over the Tour Guide title to her. When told to turn East...she gives you that, “Yeah, Right Look.” But we found the Subway with only a couple......”I'm not sure about this” statements and after walking in only a few circles and after only a couple “small” arguments and after another L-O-N-G walk. It was sure enjoyable to sit down and ride the subway home.....even if it was experiencing construction delays. We eventually arrived back home at 1:00 a.m. Now remember, be hit the road this morning at about 6:00 a.m., so it was a full day of sightseeing. We immediately hit the sack!
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon.