1 While my grandchildren were on vacation from school, we decided it would be fun, and educational, to tour some of the great monuments, memorials, and museums in Washington, DC. This photo was taken on the National Mall.
2 This was the first day of our trip. Here are Jude and Truman after the nearly three-hour ride from New York City aboard the Amtrak Acela train.
3 We stayed at the historic hotel, Hay Adams. Many diplomats and industry leaders from around the world were there for the Nuclear Industry Summit. Here is Truman studying the menu in the hotel's restaurant, The Lafayette. http://www.hayadams.com
4 This was a delicious chicken dish with broccoli rabe, sunchokes, pearl onions and natural jus, ordered by the children's nanny, Patty.
5 Truman selected Ricotta Ravioli with a basil pesto, Brussels sprouts and mozzarella.
6 I ate the Maryland Style Crab Cakes with vegetable and jicama salad and a chimichurri sauce. It was very delicious.
7 After lunch, we took a car ride around the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossom trees. The Tidal Basin is a partially man-made reservoir between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. It's a focal point of the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Washington Monument can be seen from the Basin.
8 The Washington Monument is an obelisk on the National Mall built to commemorate George Washington.
9 The peak bloom period for cherry blossoms lasts only a few days, and precisely when it happens varies each year. We were lucky to see this burst of spring color - it was so beautiful.
10 This is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, a presidential memorial dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, the third US President, one of our Founding Fathers and the main drafter and writer of the Declaration of Independence.
11 Here are Alexis and Jude walking up the stairs of the Memorial. The steps are made of pure marble and the elegant style of the Jefferson Memorial has been compared to that of the Roman Pantheon. The children were so excited to see all the sights.
12 Inside the Memorial is a 19-foot bronze Statue of Thomas Jefferson. Although the entire structure was completed in 1943, the Statue was not completely finished until four years later.
13 Some of the quotations shown on the Memorial include this one in the Southwest Portico from The Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self evident..."
14 The round Thomas Jefferson Memorial was made primarily of two types of stone - the outer stonework is Vermont Imperial Danby marble, while the interior walls are white Georgia marble.
15 Jude and Truman loved the big presidential memorials, but they also loved all the minutia - such as the pebbles in the walkways around the Tidal Basin.
16 As the children looked at the map, Truman pointed out the Washington Monument on the National Mall.
17 All the trees were so beautiful. This tall white pine and cherry blossom looked stunning below the azure blue sky.
18 Next, we visited the Lincoln Memorial. Abraham Lincoln is Truman's favorite president, so he was eager to see it.
19 Here is one of my favorite photos from the trip - Jude and Truman together, looking at the statue of Abraham Lincoln.
20 Here is the great view of the National Mall. Each year, millions of people visit the National Mall and Memorial Parks. The Washington Monument stands at the back, behind the pool. Between the Capitol steps and the Washington Monument, the Mall spans 1.2 miles.
21 Jude and Truman also know about Martin Luther King, Jr.
22 Here is the Washington Cathedral, the sixth largest cathedral in the world, and the second largest in the United States. The official name is actually the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. It was completed September 29, 1990, 83-years to the day after construction began.
23 Clift Seferlis, from Tiber Creek Private Tours, was our guide. His father was a master carver, and helped build the Washington National Cathedral. Here I am with Alexis and Clift. http://tibercreektoursdc.com
24 This is the nave, the main body of the church. The entire Cathedral weighs 150-thousand tons.
25 The Cathedral is a solid masonry structure. The limestone blocks are laid one on top of the other, with mortar between them. The flying buttresses are also solid stone.
26 The Cathedral labyrinth is a medieval design based on the one in the floor of the nave at the Chartres Cathedral in France. It is composed of 11-circuits and is divided into four quadrants, clearly defined by a cross. The center of the labyrinth is a rose-shaped area for resting, prayer, or meditation.
27 The north rose window is the Cathedral's largest stained glass window at 26-feet in diameter.
28 We walked up to the top of the Cathedral to take in these beautiful views of DC.
29 The cathedral was damaged in August 2011 during the Virginia earthquake. Finial stones on several pinnacles broke off - including one on this side, if you look closely.
30 Here is a closer look at the broken pinnacle.
31 The Cathedral is a beautiful piece of 14th century Gothic architecture. The masonry is stone upon stone with no steel reinforcements. The Cathedral is not a replica of any other church or cathedral.
32 There are 112 gargoyles on the Cathedral. Clift's father carved this gargoyle.
33 Toward the bottom of this photo, it is clear that this pinnacle twisted out of alignment entirely.
34 The Cathedral’s central tower is the only place in North America to house both peal and carillon bells, which were cast in England in the 1960s and installed in 1963. This center tower is 30-stories tall.
35 Truman and Jude enjoyed going under the bells. The largest of the 53-bells of the carillon weighs 24,000 pounds and measures eight feet, eight inches in diameter.
36 A view from the top of the Cathedral - we were able to see the beautiful gardens below.
37 We also got a private tour of Ford's Theatre, the historic theatre where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. On the left of the balcony is a replica of the silk upholstered rocking chair where Lincoln sat when he was shot on April 14, 1865.
38 The picture of President Washington was placed there to decorate the box when Lincoln came to the theatre that evening. The original was getting damaged by constant ultraviolet and visible light and was removed in early August 2015 and replaced by an exact replica.
39 No one can get in to actually sit in the box, but Truman looked through the window - it was very close.
40 This shows what happened on the night of the assassination, when John Wilkes Booth came up behind Abraham Lincoln and shot him in the head.
41 That evening we all went to Jaleo, a Spanish restaurant owned by Chef Jose Andres. Alexis invited Michael King, her radio producer during her time on SiriusXM in New York City. Michael, Jose, and Alexis stopped for this quick photo. http://www.jaleo.com
42 And, here I am with Chef Jose.
43 Truman had “Pan con Tomate” - a classic Spanish small plate of bread brushed with a thick layer of fresh, peeled tomatoes and olive oil.
44 It is so simple, yet so delicious. It pairs beautifully with meats, cheeses, and olives.
45 We also enjoyed some delicious peppers.
46 And the adults shared some Spanish wines. It was a lovely end to a very full day. Tomorrow, more from our trip to Washington, DC.