Washington D.C. - It's More Than a Swamp

September 4, 2020

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Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The sights, sounds, and traffic congestion that live within the beltway of the United States Capital. The morning rush hour is nothing to trifle with, as it is not for the faint of heart. With several of my family members working in and around the city, they’ve each been involved in traffic crashes during their morning commute — so keep that in mind.

A city steeped in history, it holds many fascinating works of art and treasures of the US people within archives and museums. It is one of the best cities in the United States for a family vacation, where you can learn and see much of the nation’s history. It is also chocked full of natural history. Artifacts and animals from around the globe can be found within the museums and the National Zoo.

Did you know?

Many exciting and lesser-known facts about ‘DC…

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Image by Dawit Tibebu from Pixabay

An American did not design the capitol building. Its design came from British doctor William Thornton, and an Irish architect, James Hoban, created the White House.

Washington, DC, gets more rain than Seattle, Washington, a city known for its rain. Hard to believe, but true. There is also an empty crypt beneath the US Capitol Building; originally, George Washington was supposed to be buried there.

There are many interesting facts about the city that you’ll easily find on the internet if interested.

As the city is full of politicians and lobbyists… so be careful who you listen to!

Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages. — George Washington

Travel to and staying in DC

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Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

Whether you choose to arrive by flight, car, or rail, you’ll find getting there an experience in itself. You have the choice of flying into Reagan National Airport or Dulles International Airport.

If arriving by train, you’ll arrive at Washington’s Union Station — one of the busiest in the nation. Opening in 1907, it is Amtrack’s headquarters, their second-busiest. Union Station is a major train station and transportation hub.

Many of those who live and work in the district will either take public transportation or drive in by car. You’ll notice this if entering the city during weekday rush hour, one thing I suggest you try and avoid. Plan your arrival on a weekend if possible.

Where to stay

The accommodations are widespread in the city and surrounding areas. If you are willing to live the high life, I suggest you splurge on some of the more select hotels in the district — The Hyatt (multiple), Darcy, Trump International Hotel, Shoreham, Intercontinental, the choices are too many to list.

For the frugal traveler, I’d suggest going through one of the booking and price comparison sites to find something within your price range with the amenities you seek. I’m a “member” of a few hotel clubs, yet I choose to use sites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, and Travelocity frequently (among others). Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know. I wonder if we could teach that bit of knowledge to the political class who reside here?

My vacations to the area have had me staying at the most superior accommodations to be had — I stayed with family, as these were visitation/vacations

Sights to See

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Image by David Mark from Pixabay

I have visited many of the sights in and around the Washington area. Here are a few that I highly recommend, based upon my preferences.

  1. The US Capitol
  2. The National Archives
  3. The National Zoo
  4. The Lincoln Memorial (very grand on a clear night)
  5. The Jefferson Memorial
  6. The Washington Monument
  7. The Iwo Jima Memorial
  8. The National Air & Space Museum and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (at Dulles Airport) — these two are my favorites.
  9. The Museum of Natural History
  10. The Museum of American History
  11. Arlington National Cemetery

There are other interesting sites to been seen in and around the city; I recommend finding the Albert Einstein Memorial at the National Academy of Sciences. It’s located in the Southwest corner of the academy grounds.

Great Falls Park, with its picturesque view of the Potomac River’s rapids, is incredible for the nature lovers. Who would have thought such an attraction could be found so close to the DC area. The river flows through the falls at Mather Gorge just 15 miles from the city.

The Hidden History in DC

There are many hidden passages in the buildings within the city, including the White House. Many people have seen the tunnels in and around the city; a few of these have been seen in movies. Not all of these are associated with the metro-rail, the second busiest subway system in the nation.

The mysteries of the Masons are manifested in the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. The building makes those not of the brotherhood wonder about the fraternal organization. The DC Grand Lodge is the central governing organization for all masonic lodges of the US — within the District of Columbia. From what I have read, each territory and state have their own Grand Lodge, and there is no national lodge, per-se in the USA. Just mentioning this makes me want to watch the movie National Treasure all over again!

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Check out the Exorcist steps! These are a set of stone steps in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, famous for being featured in the 1973 film The Exorcist. We recommend you visit them any time, except Halloween.

Get out there!

The hallowed halls within the government are sure to fill the imagination of young and old. The whole area is respite with a history of the good, bad, and the nature of the continent.

I recommend traveling with lots of memory for your camera and comfortable shoes.

Pack light and be ready for the seasons, as you usually would. Be mindful of times when tourist seasons are at their peak — spring break and summer vacation, and plan accordingly.

There is so much that can be seen and experienced within DC and the areas surrounding it — Georgetown, for example, where you can enjoy just being a regular joe and seeing the sights and sounds.

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Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

If you have a sophisticated taste, let me suggest you make reservations for afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City. It is an experience in and of itself!

So much to see and incredible sights to photograph during all hours of the day and night. I highly recommend seeing as much of it as you can. It fills your imagination with many possibilities and inspires many stories within your imagination. I often have many pages of notes during each visit with topics and story ideas for articles and books.

You’ll have to go there multiple times to enjoy all that the city has to offer!