Sunday, April 14, 2013

Grandpa's Visit - Manasas Battlefield (Bull Run)

One day while dad was visiting and Steve was recuperating from surgery, the boys, grandpa, and I drove about an hour west to the Manassas National Battlefield Park. This was where the armies of the north and south first fought during the Civil War and where General Thomas Jackson got the nickname Stonewall Jackson. There were 2 battles at Bull Run (also known as Manassas Battlefield) and the South won both.

"There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!"
The boys pretended to fire their water bottle at each other from the replica cannons.
We took a guided tour of the battlefield. It was very interesting. Daniel enjoyed the details but the other two lost interest and soon figured out that if they turned their jackets around, they could cover their faces with their hoods. Genius!
After the tour we walked around the battlefield. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful location!
In the gift store, the boys tried on some of the Army hats. I have some handsome soldiers!
When we left the battlefield, we drove down the road to the actual Bull Run Creek. What a lovely location!
It was warm enough for the boys to change into shorts and dip their feet in the creek.
There were so many lovely things to look at. Check out these amazing tree roots!
Mikey has memorable fashion sense!
On the way home, we stopped for a bite to eat (in Manassas, I think) and saw this train. It is part of Virginia's current tourism campaign, "Virginia is for Lovers."
Well, we loved it!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Grandpa's Visit - Memorials & Monuments

While dad was here, we took him to a lot of the DC area monuments. During our trip to see the cherry blossoms, we walked all around the west end of The Mall.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial
 The World War II Memorial
 The Washington Monument
The Jefferson Memorial
The FDR Memorial
The MLK, Jr. Memorial
On a different day, we rode the train to the Pentagon for a guided tour. We couldn't take any pictures inside the Pentagon but we were able to take pictures of the Pentagon Memorial commemorating September 11, 2001.
The memorial includes benches with names of all the lives lost at the Pentagon during the attacks. The benches pointing toward the Pentagon were for those on the airplane that was hijacked. The ones pointing away from the Pentagon were for those killed inside the Pentagon when the airplane crashed.
Each bench has a reflecting pool beneath it. If more than one member of a family was killed, the family names are listed in the reflecting pool under the bench, in addition to the separate benches created for each individual.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Grandpa's Visit - DC Cherry Blossom Festival (lots of pictures!)

We were excited that dad's visit was going to overlap the expected bloom dates of the cherry blossoms in DC this year. We waited and waited ... and, finally, after a couple revised bloom dates for colder than normal weather, the cherry trees blossomed!
We drove to the Tidal Basin in DC (where the biggest concentration of cherry trees are and where the festival is held) on a Wednesday morning. We started by driving around the peninsula on Ohio Drive, around East Potomac Park and Hains Point. What a great place to start! There were very few people in that area (compared to the busier monuments and Tidal Basin) and the cherry trees were breathtaking!
We stopped for a few pictures of blossoms and the Potomac River.
We parked between the Jefferson Monument and the Lincoln Memorial on one side of the Tidal Basin.
That day we walked a few hours and more than 3 miles! Ezra was such a trooper, walking almost the whole way without complaining or being carried.
Cherry lemonade was a "pun-derful" refresher on our walk.
We walked all over the place, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Veteran's Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument, and the WWII Memorial and then along the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial. (We had SO many pictures that it will take a whole 'nother post to show the monument photos.)
It was a beautiful day for a paddle boat ride (except for the 90 degree heat and the lines).
While we were at the Jefferson Memorial, we took a break so dad could see how heavy the Washington Monument is.
This cute little beaver guy was the festival mascot and he was everywhere.
Look at these two cute beavers!
This was a lovely day and one of the highlights of my time with dad!