I was in the Washington D.C. area visiting my friend Naomi who had moved to the area because her husband is in the military, and we decided to take a day to go into the City to enjoy the Cherry blossom and do some sight seeing.
We started by driving to Arlington and first stopping at Sugar Shack Donuts and Coffee for a naughty breakfast! I chose the Maple Bacon, and the Cherry Cheesecake doughnuts and a Café Latte to wash them down. 2 doughnuts was probably a bit much, but I couldn’t decide and I knew we would be doing a lot of walking – they were both delicious, I think the Maple Bacon was the best of that flavour that I have tasted!
We then drove on and parked at the Ft Myer military base, which we were able to do as Naomi is a military wife. Ft Myer is right next door to Arlington National Cemetery, so we were able to walk through a gate then walk right through the Cemetery.
I knew that there are various monuments in Arlington Cemetery, but I don’t think I realized the extent of it and how the cemetery is actually up on a hill so has lovely views across to the city of Washington D.C. It is the final resting place for over 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families.
We walked through part of the cemetery, passing row upon row of graves and it was actually very pretty with the flowering trees including Magnolias.
If you enter the Cemetery at the Visitor Centre there are tours you can take, but we had entered from the other side, so just made our own way towards the J. F. Kennedy family gravesite close to Arlington house that used to belong to the Lee family who originally owned the land. The Kennedy gravesite is a somber place where everyone was respectful and talked in whispers while viewing the eternal flame that is there.
We continued on down the hill to the Welcome Centre and exited the Cemetery and caught the Metro train from the Arlington Cemetery Station over into the city and got off at the Smithsonian stop. From here we knew that we could easily walk to the Tidal Basin next to the National Mall and view all the beautiful Cherry Blossom trees, many that were a gift from the Major of Tokyo to Washington D.C. in 1912.
You can walk all around the Tidal Basin in a big loop and most of the way you are under a canopy of beautiful Cherry blossom, it makes you go a little crazy with the camera I have to admit.
If you walk the whole loop you have great vantage spots along the way of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial and others, which make for fabulous photo opportunities.
We didn’t walk all the way around this time, because we had done it in the past, and because time didn’t allow but of course we still spend a good amount of time under the boughs of blossom taking selfies and just enjoying their beauty!
After we had our fill of cherry blossom viewing, we walked on down the National Mall, past the WWII Memorial, which is great, and on down to the Lincoln Memorial. From the Lincoln Memorial is one of my favourite views, down the Mall, along the Reflecting Pool towards the Washington Monument.
From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial we turned left and walked over to and across Constitution Avenue to the Albert Einstein Memorial. I had only found out about this Memorial a few weeks before my trip and didn’t know it existed before, so wanted to go and check it out for myself.
It’s a huge 12ft high bronze statue of Albert Einstein seated with a manuscript in his hand that was sculpted by Robert Berks and was unveiled in 1979. We had fun sitting in his lap to take photos and it looks like it is popular to rub his nose for luck!
After spending some time admiring Albert, we were getting hungry for lunch, so walked up 23rd Street NW for 6 or 7 blocks towards the Metro Station at Foggy Bottom. Right opposite the station we found some restaurants and after some browsing decided to try out Roti Modern Mediterranean. You could choose your meal in the form of a Salad, Rice bowl or Wrap, and then go along the counter to choose your protein and all the other yummy looking fresh ingredients. I went for a Salmon Kabob Salad which was colourful and very yummy!
We decided to sit out on their patio as they had heaters, because even though it was a beautiful sunny day, it was still a bit chilly.
After eating our late lunch, we crossed the street to the Foggy Bottom Metro station and caught the Metro back to Arlington National Cemetery.
We entered through the Welcome Centre and walked up the hill through more of the Cemetery to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, one of the cemetery’s most well known Memorials. The Tomb of the Unknown soldier includes remains of unknown service members from World War I, World War II and the Korean War and soldiers from the 3rd US Infantry Regiment keep a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year vigil at the Tomb. They have an elaborate ritual to change the guard every hour (or from April 1st to Sept 30th, every half hour), which we were able to watch. Again, all those watching were very quite and respectful in the area around the Tomb. If you go inside the building there is also an interesting museum about the Tomb.
To finish our full day, we walked through the rest of the cemetery back to Naomi’s car parked at Ft Myer. We had a bit of a giggle when entering the military base as I showed my identification the guard smile, pointed at Noami and said “as long as you are with her, you’re good to go!”. I think it has become our fun new motto, if I am with Naomi, I’m good to go. 🙂
Date of visit: April 10th 2018.