HELLO! I've returned safely from my WONDERFUL vacation! My pictures have been uploaded and are on Facebook. I don't feel like doing all the extra work to save from Facebook's not so genius slide show, so pics will come tonight! Are you excited? Me too.
I can tell you what happened in words. Then, because you're most likely my Facebook friend, you can go to my album and check out the pics! Or wait till tomorrow to see pics. It's really up to you.
Here's some background: Jessica (me), Katie and Allie lived together for two years at 88 Welch (our address), in Murray, KY. All attended Murray State University. In 2007, Allie married Matt. Allie and Matt live in Alexandria, Va. Got it?
Thursday 6/2: We arrived in Baltimore... right on time! Got our bags and met Allie outside! We're like a well oiled machine, I tell ya. After an adequate amount of shrieks, screams and giggles from our 88 Welch reunion, we got in the car and headed towards DC! Stopping first for lunch, of course. Matt worked until 4, so we had a couple hours to kill before picking him up. We wandered around Georgetown. It's just like it is on TV! Amazing architecture, lots of color and fabulous shops! We stopped at Georgetown Cupcake, line was the shortest Allie has ever seen it and moved quick! I chose Chocolate Banana, Allie picked Vanilla Chocolate and Katie, Milk Chocolate Birthday. With the exception of Katie's, the cake flavor is listed first in all the options. So my cake was chocolate and my icing was banana. Got it? This is very important to know, should you ever get to go! After cupcakes in Georgetown, we did a little more walking and then headed to the Washington Navy Shipyard to pick up Matt! Matt then took the reins and before dinner, stopped at our first Smithsonian: The Museum of Natural History. This is where the first Night at the Museum was filmed. After the museum, we grabbed a bite at a delightful Mexican restaurant on or near (I don't really know the correct terminology) Capitol Hill, then headed towards the Jefferson Memorial. The monuments and memorials are gorgeous at night! All lit up and sparkling!
Friday 6/3: We were out the door in enough time to grab fresh colossal doughnuts at a grocery store on the way to the National Mall. With the biggest waters ever in hand, we spent most, if not all, of Friday morning and afternoon roaming around DC. We started with the Washington Monument, then made our way towards the WW2 Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial (where MLK Jr. made his famous "I have a Dream" speech), the Korean War Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial. From there, we walked towards the White House, stopping for pictures and gasps, only. We had hamburgers and french fries at Ollie's Trolley in DC, then made our way to our next Smithsonian: The Museum of American History. We saw all the First Ladies' dresses, Dorothy's ruby red slippers, learned more about all the Presidents, and counted all the pets in the life size dollhouse. Matt met up with us, then we grabbed a quick dinner and some extra snacks for an outdoor movie at a local park. The movie was Anchorman. Perfect!
Saturday 6/4: Allie made us french toast! And had prepared fresh fruit! After breakfast, we headed towards The Capitol for our 1:40 tour, stopping for hot dogs on the street. Entering the Visitor's Center at The Capitol was the same as going through security at the airport. We were taken through the Crypt, the Rotunda, and the National Statuary Hall. The Crypt was the original dome of The Capitol. Also, the original burial spot for President George Washington. At the time, Martha OK-ed the burial, but by the time the Crypt was finished Martha had died, and the current "owner" of George's everything said no way. He belongs in Mount Vernon. This, of course, is where George wanted to be according to his will. Today, there is an empty vault, the name remains, and the room is used for the display of some statues. The Rotunda, or the dome, is gorgeous on the inside! At the very top, a mural of lots of people, one in particular being God. Which is kind of a big deal for back then. There is also a mural that surrounds the inside of the rotunda. It's a timeline, beginning with Christopher Columbus, and ending with the Wright Brothers. It took 3 artists to finish it! I believe the first two died during the project. Also surrounding the room are giant framed pictures illustrating some of the many remarkable events that happened throughout history. From there we were directed into the National Statuary Hall. This used to be the room where the House met, they outgrew the room, forcing the building of the extensions we see today. On the floor, there is a mismatched tile marking the spot where John Quincy Adams sat. He was the only one to become a Representative AFTER being the President. Also in this room... statues! Weird. And offices. If we were there on a weekday we'd see some congressmen and women. The tour ended with the gift shop! We planned a nice dinner for this night, but we had to stop at the mall for some pants for Wes. No shorts allowed. He wasn't too upset about it! We went back to Allie and Matt's and got ready for dinner. We ate at Tabard Inn. Everything was delicious! We shared food, because that's what besties and roommates and husbands and boyfriends do. After dinner we perused Georgetown and stumbled (Literally! Damn cobblestone!) upon a piano bar.
Sunday 6/5: Sunday we slept until 10! It was amazing! We grabbed lunch at a nearby shopping plaza and then drove to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington! Saw a short video and then headed to GW's Mansion! The tours were running behind so we helped ourselves to one of Martha's gardens! We found GW's bff Dr. James Craik and asked him some questions. Did you know GW and TJ did NOT get along? Me neither. But it's true. And GW did NOT have any children. No, not with any slaves either. You can go to Monticello for that. We got back in line for our tour and made our way through the mansion and kitchen. Looked out the back porch, at the Potomac River, just as GW did. The tour guide told us GW would recognize all the rooms in his house today. They were very colorful! Turquoises, greens, and blues. A fireplace in almost every room. And the bed he died in was still in place in the master bedroom. A little creepy, a lot cool. We made our way down to GW's tomb where a little ceremony was about to take place! We waited for it. All of a sudden, Matt is being called forward. We just thought it was to make room for others, but we were wrong! The lady conducting the ceremony pulled Matt forward and asked him to tell us his name, where he's from, and what he does here. Matt said, "My name is Matt Williams, I'm originally from Michigan, and I'm stationed in Alexandria in the US Navy." The lady asked, "And what do you do in the US Navy?" Matt said, "I'm a nuclear engineer." BAM. The lady asked Matt to lead us in the Pledge Of Allegiance. So he did. As we left the estate, Allie filled us in on what really happened. She said, "We were standing there, and the lady came up to Matt and asked, 'By chance, sir, are you in the Military?'" Allie said she could probably tell from the haircut. She continued, "Matt like froze, so I said yes. Then she asked if he would mind leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Then Matt looked at me and asked, 'How does it go?'" We laughed about this for hours! We left Mount Vernon and went to Arlington, to Arlington National Cemetery. While we were there, we witnessed vandalism at the JFK grave site. Can you believe it! We were looking and watching and paying our respects when 3 police officers and a man in fatigues walked up to the memorial. We were asked to stay to THIS side of the memorial, then finally asked to leave. The memorial was temporarily closed. The family of four was asked to show ID. And that's really all we stuck around for. We stopped at and went through the Arlington House. Gen. Robert E. Lee and his family used to live there. Did you know Robert E. Lee married Martha Washington's Great Grand-daughter? Me neither. But it's true. I believe it was 1863 when Lee's house was seized and in efforts to keep Lee from coming back, his land became a cemetery. A year later, on June 28, 1864, the first soldier was buried on the land, and the Arlington National Cemetery was established. From the Arlington House, we made our way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We watched the changing of the guard. What an experience! Don't worry, I have video. Before totally exiting the Memorial Ampitheater, we saved the life of one of our own. Actually, I'm exaggerating, but barely. A young lady passed out twice. Katie saw her first. The gal was with her boyfriend, poor thing, because he was terrified! He picked her up and tried to help her walk, but she went back down, passing out momentarily. We decided to get involved. Katie chased down a cemetery security guard, not to be confused with a changing of the guards guard. And I forced my water upon the girl. She was encouraged to exit the memorial before upchucking all over it. Her boyfriend found a nearby bench for her and we carried their bags to them. And a gentleman brought m&m's. I hope it was just the effects of the heat and a long day! On the way back to Matt and Allie's we stopped in Old Alexandria for pizza at Bugsy's. It was delish! We completed our night with a friendly competition at Top Golf. Boys vs Girls in a classic game of miniature golf, more commonly referred to as putt-putt. Girls rendered Victorious! Once again proving that girls rule, and boys drool.
Monday 6/6: Two very uneventful flights back to St. Louis.
It was seriosuly a trip of a lifetime! I'm so grateful for the experience and that I got to enjoy it with some of my most favorite people! Thank you again to Allie and Matt for their wonderful hospitality! I took a lot of pictures. Nothing captures anything close to the amazingness of it all!