The White House! We have been waiting all week for this day. Our appointment for the White House was at 9:00 am so we got up really early, ate breakfast, and headed toward the White House. Because of tight security, we could only bring our identification, our room keys, and our phones. The phones had to be turned off. After passing through security check points we went through the Visitors Corridor and saw pictures of our presidents during many different events. Much to my dismay, no cameras were allowed at the White House, so any pictures you see are ones we got from the historical society at the Decatur House.
The Library has a chandelier that once belonged to James Fenimore Cooper who wrote The Last of the Mohicans. Just across from the Library is the Vermeil Room. This room holds some beautiful portraits of past First Ladies like Jackie Kennedy Onassis. The China Room holds dishes from several presidencies. We could only see these rooms from behind ropes so we don’t know which china was displayed. The Diplomatic Reception Room is an oval room, much like the Oval Office, but it is used for new ambassadors before they meet the President.
While we liked the Blue Room, the Red Room, and the Green Room, we all really liked the State Dining Room and the Grand Foyer the best. Reminiscent of the palaces in Europe, we could picture the President and First Lady entertaining in the Dining Room, but most of all we loved the staircase they would descend before they greeted visiting dignitaries. We got to see the portrait of George Washington that Dolley Madison saved when the British captured Washington, DC and set fire to the White House, as well as the portrait of Benjamin Franklin. The 7 pieces of Federal furniture purchased by President Monroe and his wife were beautiful. Jacqueline Kennedy located the pieces and a new law was passed to save presidential furniture so it would never be sold again. We met a wonderful agent at the White House. Mr. Solis has worked over 4 presidencies and is ready to retire. The wealth of information he knew was astounding and I know we will miss him although we are sure he will enjoy his retirement. Thank you, Mr. Solis for answering all our questions.
Upon leaving the White House we headed toward the Octagon House hoping to see the home where President Madison and Dolley Madison stayed after the White House was burned. The house was closed until later so we needed to return. When we did, we were pleasantly surprised to find a unique home with 8 sides. Yes, for those of you who love math, an octagon has 8 sides. Currently being restored, the home has some original pieces of furniture. The staircase ascending to the third floor is a masterful piece of art what would make anyone dizzy.
|The staircase at the Octagon House|
We then tried to find the Decatur House only to discover it was closed for renovations. We did get to see the historical society store and purchased some great things for the classroom as well as beautiful postcards of the rooms we saw at the White House. (see, I told you we got some pictures!)
The majority of the day followed us along the Hop On, Hop Off bus. It took us to the National Cathedral, through Georgetown (where we were stopped for a while because of a fire), and to Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon. Another place we saw was Embassy Row. An embassy is a place where diplomats and ambassadors from another country reside while they are visiting our nation’s capital. Each embassy is marked by its country’s flag. If a citizen of that country is in need of assistance while traveling in Washington, DC, they would go to their country’s embassy. For example, if you are from Australia and need help, you would go to the Australian Embassy.
We finished our day at the Renwick Gallery. Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Cochrane, and I got to go on a scavenger hunt through the first floor exhibits. We had a lot of fun finding the information and putting it on our forms. We won pins which different artwork from the 4 artists on display. The Grand Salon was our favorite exhibit which features paintings from the museum’s permanent collection. Some are portraits and others are landscapes.
Our day done, we returned to our hotel to post this blog. Just a quick note – we have been having a terrible time with internet this trip. The past several nights in DC the internet was so slow it took forever to upload the pictures and some nights there was no internet at all. Last night was an example of horrible internet. Because of this, there will be no pictures tonight. I will add the pictures once we return to Chicago and we have decent internet. Thanks for reading the blog and I know you will follow us as we add the pictures.
Also, keep in mind we will add additional pages to show you all we have learned from our ten day trip. Ten days! Just imagine – a ten day field trip! Mrs. Cochrane is working on her quips, Mrs. Gibson is compiling her pictures, and I have a slew of historical facts to tempt you! Until then, keep reading and enjoying all that Righty, American, and Lefty have been doing.
Thanks, Mrs. Hoffman, Mrs. Cochrane, and Mrs. Gibson!