Today we celebrated Doug's 47th birthday at Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington. It was a hot, crowded day to visit, but we really enjoyed all of the 4th of July activities. I had bought our tickets online Sunday and we were glad that we did as it was crazy getting into the home. It took us over 20 minutes just to get through the line to park. While we were there we were able to walk the grounds, visit the grave sites and tour the mansion. With the holiday there were bands playing patriotic music, revolutionary war reenactments, and a fireworks show over the Potomac hosted by George and Martha. Brett and I remarked several times how amazing it was that last year we were at the home of Calvin Coolidge on the 4th - the only President born on the 4th of July - and this year we were at the home of our nation's first President.
From Mount Vernon we drove to We the Pizza in Arlington. Everyone really liked the food and it was easy to get in and out of. After lunch we headed to our hotel in D.C. We decided to try an Embassy Suites that was close to the White House. It definitely was nice and we rested for awhile before trying their evening reception. There were some good snacks and once we were refueled we thought we would tour the monuments.
It wasn't too far to the National Mall. We went to the Washington Monument first. It was fenced off and the only way in was through a security tent. We realized at that point that all of the monuments were that way in anticipated of the fireworks later in the evening. As we could see Washington's Monument from all spots on the Mall we decided to walk on to the World War II memorial. We couldn't access it because of the festival, but we could see it without any problem. We then walked to the Lincoln Memorial, which was absolutely packed. We were able to make our way up the stairs to see Lincoln. That part was not crowded and we got some great pictures.
The Korean War Memorial as well as the Vietnam Wall were close to Lincoln so we stopped at those next. The realization from these two was the fact that the death toll from the two wars were relatively the same, but the Vietnam War tends to get more historical attention. The fences for the festival detoured us through the baseball fields for our next two stops - the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the FDR. Both were impressive and I have to say that I believe that the FDR one was my favorite of the night tour this trip. Our last memorial stop was the Thomas Jefferson. It was packed as well but we were able to navigate the crowds fairly well to get inside to see the man himself.
Our goal was to make it back to the Washington Monument area before the fireworks started. The fences caused us to have to detour though and the fireworks started 20 minutes early otherwise we would have been there at the start. All that said we only missed the first three minutes and once we got to our prime viewing spot they were spectacular. After the fireworks were over Brett split off from us. It was close to 10 and he was ready to head home. We had talked about going to dinner, but everyone was exhausted. Instead we went back to the hotel and ordered pizza from room service. That worked out well. We had walked 12 miles today. Resting was exactly what my feet were asking for. Even though it was a lot of walking, it was definitely worth it to spend the 4th of July in our nation's capital.