On the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend, I thought (quite naively, in hindsight) that it might be a great idea to see the Christmas display in the National Botanic Gardens. I was totally enticed by the description of tiny trains passing through many miniature twinkling lighthouses in an artificially created fog, amidst landscape created in amazing detail solely with plants. We could not have chosen a worse day for this endeavor!
When we reached the exhibit, we found that the line to get in was very long and it required waiting for a few hours in the freezing cold. We quickly gave up the idea, and decided to browse through the general open-all-year section of the Botanic gardens in the temperature controlled conservatory. What we saw were beautiful orchids, and Washington D.C.’s landmarks created in miniature with plant materials. Even though we could not see the Christmas display, the short time in the Botanical Gardens was well spent. The Botanic Gardens have a lot more to offer to a summer visitor, and the entrance, as is the case for a lot of other DC attractions, is free.
We then walked our way to the thing that I was really looking forward to in this trip – seeing the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives! En-route, we also took pictures of the Capitol, which is currently under restoration works, because of which the dome of the Capitol resembles a bird’s nest.
There is no photography allowed inside the National Archives, so the only photo I have is of the impressive facade of the building, which has the Greek-Roman columns which are the trademark of of D.C.’s landmarks. After some wait, we entered the vault like room which contains the original Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, all under glass display cases and heavily guarded (stealing these might not be as easy as it was made out to be in the movie “National Treasure”!). The writing in the documents is faded, especially on the Declaration of Independence, but the iconic signatures are clearly visible. Despite the wait and the having to slightly elbow the crowd to get a proper look, I was very happy to check off this item from the bucket list.
Our last day in D.C. dawned with an impressive 60F weather, which was perfect for what we had in mind for that day – the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall.
The Lincoln Memorial is truly impressive from the inside and the outside, and is such a fitting tribute to Abraham Lincoln. I was spellbound by the massive statue of Lincoln, and got goosebumps from reading the Gettysburg Address (“…. the Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”) which is carved on one of the inside walls of the monument.
After soaking in the grandeur of the Lincoln Memorial, we walked leisurely down the reflecting pool of the National Mall, enjoying the bonus warm day, and stopped to take pictures of the World War II Memorial and the Washington Monument.
As is obvious from my first and this account of our 3 day stay in Washington DC, we took things slow.. so much so that I still have not seen the Jefferson Memorial, the Holocaust Museum and the famed panda in the National Zoo. This only means one thing – I am (quite happily) not done with DC just yet!