Washington D.C. Day 1 – Tidal Basin

Blog material has been light over the past week because I’ve been having awesome touristy times in Washington D.C. I would have liked to do my travel blogging during vacation, but we wore ourselves out right good every day, and we fell into bed every night almost immediately after getting back to the hotel. So travel blogging starts now! I also expect to start following current events again so we’ll be returning to our regularly scheduled “Holy crap, look at the freaking awesomeness and dinkusness that’s going on in the world today!!!1!” posts.

Washington D.C Day 1 – Tidal Basin

Our vacation started at 5:45am last Friday morning. We arrived in Washington DC and made our way to the hotel. On the drive over we saw this bus – the Hubby and I wondered if like us they were going to the Reason Rally on Saturday.

We stayed at the Best Western Pentagon, and it was pretty decent for a 2-star – lots of room, really comfy pillows and bed, clean, free breakfast, and regular shuttles to the nearest Metro station. There were only two downsides as I saw it. First, it was motel-style (all the room doors were accessible from outside, not an indoor hallway), which I’m not fond of for security reasons. Second, the walls were a little thin, so we could hear kids running around outside and traffic noise. We were also treated to a very exuberant performance from the couple directly next door on Saturday night, which depending on your mileage could be either annoying or a free bonus.

After getting into town and taking a short nap, we headed out to see the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin. According to the Park Service peak blooming dates this year were March 20th-23rd. Friday was the 23rd, so we thought we should take a look.

We headed to the Metro (the subway network) and bought the 7-day short pass. It cost us about $32 each, but we used them extensively and didn’t have to worry about figuring out fare each time we wanted to ride the train. We hopped on and off between 2-5 times every day. The Metro is very convenient and has stops all over the Mall and downtown area. If you are a penny-counter, you may wish to plan your Metro use more exactly and pay as needed, but this no-fuss option worked really well for me and the Hubby.

Entrances to the Metro are marked with these large black obelisks. The stripes at the top of the pillar inform travelers which lines go through the station.

One of the caveronous Metro underground station platforms.

We stepped off of the Metro at the Smithsonian stop and headed down to the Tidal Basin. We passed the Washington Monument, the Holocaust Museum and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. And then we got our first view of the cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial. The place was packed, but the crowds were manageable. We got some really pretty shots of the trees, and of the four major memorials located around or visible from the tidal basin.

Noteable buildings across the Tidal Basin: Washington Monument, the clocktower of the Old Post Office Building, USDA Forest Service Building, Holocaust Museum, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Jefferson Memorial

FDR Memorial – This was one of the more elaborate and (IMO) interesting memorials that we saw in Washington. While smaller in height and less grand than some of the other big names, the FDR memorial covers about 7 acres and is composed of four different section – one for each term of FDR’s presidency.

Martin Luther King Memorial – The Stone of Hope out of the Mountain of Despair:

Sigh. Yes, I really cut the Mountain of Despair out of every photo I took that day. The LA Times has decent photo of the larger sculpture.

We also caught a glimpse of the George Mason memorial, the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial and the Japanese Stone Lantern (carved in 1651!).  After that we walked back to the Mall. We went right up to the base of Washington Monument – sadly the elevator was closed due to last year’s earthquake.

After that we strolled down and took pictures of the Reason Rally stage, which was all set up for Saturday.

By this time we were both HUNGRY. I rarely get HUNGRY. If I miss a meal or eat a few hours later than usual I’m usually okay. But after no lunch and all of that walking we were both HUNGRY. Happily, through the magic of smartphone + Google Maps we found our way over to the downtown theater/food district on 7th Street. Sadly, we forgot it was Friday night. The first restaurant we wandered into had a 90 minute wait on a table for two. *sob* We went a few doors down and found Merzi, an Indian fast-food restaurant modeled on the assembly line serving style of Subway and Chipotle. We think it was tasty, but we gobbled it down so fast that we couldn’t really give a decent reporting. Ricesomethingorother.

It was about 8pm when we were done with dinner, but we decided to head back to the hotel to get rested for the following day. After all Saturday’s event was the impetus for planning the entire trip and we wanted to make sure we were up and ready for it.

Next: Washington D.C. Day 2 – Reason Rally!

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Washington D.C. Day 1 – Tidal Basin
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504 thoughts on “Washington D.C. Day 1 – Tidal Basin

  1. 2

    Random factoid: the FDR memorial is definitely my favorite of all the DC Memorials (although WWII gives it a run for its money).

    Another random factoid: those marble stairs in front of the Jefferson memorial? I’ve fallen down them. While on my phone. Thankfully, I somehow managed to pick myself up & keep the conversation going without the person on the other noticing that anything had happened.

  2. 3

    Ah, yer making me homesick. I lived about four or five blocks from the Washington Monument for 5 years. I loved living in DC, but you had to have money coming out your ass to live anywhere safe, which I didn’t, and still don’t, and probably never will have.

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