John and I planned to take a few days ahead of our scheduled leadership conference to do a little sight seeing for 3 days before so we flew to Washington DC on January 21. Yes, I know that a large snowstorm was predicted over the weekend for the east coast but the airline tickets were purchased and besides a lot of times the weather people are wrong or mother nature changes her mind….not this time though.We arrived, unpacked and then went exploring. The hotel was only about 4 blocks from the capitol so enjoyed our walk over to see it late afternoon that first day we arrived. It is a beautiful building despite the scaffolding around the dome. The dome getting a major restoration inside and out.
The next day my niece gave us a tour of the inside. She is working for a Nebraska senator and has been through it lots of times and given tours to other constituents so knew all the things to point out to show us. Loved hearing the history and seeing the beautiful building.We were thrilled to also tour the White House. We had to put in a application several months ahead of time with all the proper credentials and had to show those credentials at several security check points before allowed inside but it was worth it. The photo above is the front hall as we area about to exit the White House. I especially love this photo below I took from inside the White House looking at the Washington Monument.We did all this on Friday morning and so far no snow so everything was great. My brother and wife (mom and dad to my Washington DC based niece) just happened to be in DC too. They were vacationing and were staying closer to where my niece lived but we had met up to do the tours and eat lunch together that day. After lunch we all took the Metro to Arlington Cemetery. We knew government offices and all the Smithsonian museums were closing at 1:00 pm but since it was not snowing we headed off to the cemetery anyway. There was a sign outside that said the visitor’s center was closed but the gates were open so we walked in. Graves were still decorated with the wreaths laid on them at Christmas and it started to snow while we were there, very beautiful. We didn’t get much of a chance to but glimpse at the Tomb of the Unknown Solder before we were asked to leave as the cemetery was closed. Rather disappointing as it would have only taken us a few minutes to pay our respects, watch the guard and snap a few photos but we hiked back out without protest.We said goodbye to each other and took the Metro to our separate destinations. The evening brought more snow but unlike Nebraska it fell straight down – no winds to drift it into hard mounds but a deep blanket of it was laid over the city. The next morning (Sat.) everything was shut down in the city. All government offices, all museums, the Metro, Amtrak and all airports were closed and not running, stores and a lot of restaurants were closed too and the city didn’t want people out driving either. The snow was maybe about 8-10” deep at this point so after breakfast we bundled up to hike down to the Capitol and National Mall. What else was there to do?We had such a good time and it really wasn’t so cold that we got chilled so we walked around for 2 hours or more both Saturday and Sunday. The streets were deserted so everyone was walking right down the middle of 4 and 6 lanes that are normally very busy streets next to all the government buildings. It was so quiet and so surreal feeling. There were lots of other people out walking and hauling sleds to the east side of the capitol where kids of all ages were having fun sledding down the hill. This was a once in a lifetime experience for us so we took advantage of it and got out of the hotel and saw DC at a standstill.I won’t bore you with a lot more photos of the snow storm in Washington DC but do want to show this last one. It was taken near where my niece lives and was taken on Monday after more snow fell on Saturday bringing the totals in DC to 18”-24”, mostly straight down so was rather deep to walk through where streets and walks were not cleaned. Some kind soul ran their snow blower down the middle of the street so people could have a clear place to walk if they wanted. Needless to say, but our conference was canceled and there was no way we could change our flights so were in DC for the originally planned duration. The Metro opened up partially on Monday so met my family members that came in for lunch at a great German restaurant a few blocks from Union Station then ventured out on the Metro to where they were all living or staying. We had a great time and so glad we are able to walk comfortably as that is what we did from the Metro station to the accommodations of my niece and brother, to the great Pizza restaurant then back to the Metro then back to the hotel once we got back to Union Station. Walk, walk, walk – if I lived here I would be in great shape for sure!
The trip was not a total loss as we were able to see one senator to present our concerns on some farm related issues and saw staff of the other two. This was part of our assignment for the leadership conference and the appointments were already made so went ahead and kept them. Photo below is of Senator Deb Fischer and us at her office after our visit with her.Since so many of the museums were closed we did more walking and looking at the buildings from the outside than inside. Did get a chance to visit 2 on Tuesday and one Wednesday morning before we had to get to the airport. That was disappointing as we had planned to visit more of the museums this trip but guess it will have to wait for another time.
Felt good to get home after a week away and get back to normal around the farm. I have said it before I am sure; I love to visit cities and see areas away from here but I love getting back to the quiet of our rural home in Nebraska.