As tradition dictates, we boarded the charter bus at school at 6:30 AM Sunday morning.  It was COLD and WINDY in Piermont.  We arrived in Washington, DC at 4:30 PM and settled into our rooms.  We are all staying on the same floor, right next to each other and the rooms are very nice.  The weather is beautiful, the daffodils are in full bloom and the grass is green and feels SO GOOD under our bare feet!  We are off to bed for an early start in the morning.  We will do a photo shoot at the White House and then off to the Smithsonian Museums.  After lunch we will go to the Holocaust Museum....then 5 Guys to get fueled up for a night of looking at monuments.  

April 7, 2013 Sunday in DC

Monday, April 8, 2013
We headed toward The White House at 8 AM and had a fun photo shoot, then went on to the Smithsonian Museums.  The whole group was most interested in the Museum of American History so we started there.  Then we went to the Holocaust Museum and toured the whole exhibit.  Afterwards a group of us went the Museum of Natural History and another group went to the Museum of Art.  We worked our way through the Sculpture Gardens and on to the National Archives.  We saw the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, The Constitution and The Declaration of Independence, among lots of other documents.  On to 5 Guys for burgers and then off to see the monuments at sunset!  We say the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the World War I and II Memorials, among others.  The weather was fabulous, 75 + and very sunny and warm!  Off to get rested up for tomorrow! 

April 8, 2013 Monday Monuments

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Today was HOT!  In the 80's and we are all sunburned!  We began the day at the US Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima).  We went on to Arlington National Cemetery where we first stopped at the marker for Frederick Mauger O'Neill, Vajra Vogel's grandfather, eighth grade Maren's great grandfather.  We made our way uphill to the Arlington House, Robert E. Lee's mansion.  The mansion has undergone major renovations and is lovely!  The JFK Memorial was next.  As we arrived, the Park Service notified all visitors that we needed to vacate the Kennedy site as "Ms. Kennedy was visiting and she requested that she approach the site alone."  We dutifully moved away from the monument as Jean Kennedy Smith, President Kennedy's sister, made her way to the tombs to pay respect.  After she arrived at the Eternal Flame site, we were permitted to join her.  This was AWESOME!  At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier we had four students participate in the Laying of the Wreath Ceremony...also fabulous!  Our bus whisked us away to Mount Vernon for lunch and the Washington Mansion tour.  The Washington Mansion and Mount Vernon site is a testament to the ingenuity and agricultural vision of George Washington.  The tour is steeped in history and the guides are very engaging.  We met "Christopher," President Washington's personal assistant.  In addition to being very informative and engaging, and graciously posing in lots of pictures, Christopher coached our male students how to "bow" properly, and our female students how to properly "curtsy."   This was one more wonderful moment in our lovely day.  We finished our day by sharing dinner at King Street Blues in Arlington where we were treated like royalty.  Thank you Mrs. Jackson for taking such wonderful care of us!

April 9, 2013 Arlington

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
We began our day getting caught up on student presentations and a quick photo shoot at the ground level of the Hart Building.  We toured the Library of Congress and learned that the library receives 10,000 articles each day.  Two of every copyrighted book, art, music become library exhibits.  We then used the underground tunnel to enter into the US Capitol Building.  We had lunch and toured the Capitol.  While on tour we saw statues of Daniel Webster of NH and also the newest addition, Rosa Parks!  Afterwards, we hurried off to the Peace Monument to meet our bus.  En route to the bus we met a large, boisterous demonstration about immigration laws.  We were impressed!  Then off to Ford Theatre, which was unfortunately closed for rehearsals.  So we toured the Peterson House where President Lincoln died after being shot in Ford Theatre.  The Peterson House is directly across the street.  From the Peterson House we went to the Kennedy Center for the Arts and were treated to a rehearsal of the performers for the Millenium Stage that evening.  We had dinner at Buca di beppo and finished the evening driving in deep traffic due to peak cherry blossoms and a great tour of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials.  Just an amazingly warm, breezy, beautiful end to a long day.

April 10, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Our last day in DC began with a tour of the National Zoo.  Our bus driver dropped us at the Zoo and  we were on our own for the day.  It was so warm that all of the animals were outside in their enclosures, which was very cool!  We saw the panda bears, chimpanzees, and elephants eating and actively playing out of doors!  We made it to the sea lion training and feeding demonstration.  After leaving the zoo on foot, we made our way to the Woodley Park Metro Station, purchased a day-long pass and successfully navigated the metro!  Of course, the rails into the city were down and we were detained waiting for trains to get caught up.  We eventually made it to the Post Office Pavillion, after changing lines, from red to blue, at Metro Center.  We ate lunch and headed back to our starting point and met the bus at 3, which whisked us to the National Cathedral in time for our tour.  Highlights of the awesome National Cathedral included the outside exhibit of spire sections damaged in the earthquake last year, the amazing stained glass windows and architecture, and Helen Keller's burial site.  We worked our way through heavy DC traffic and dressed for the dinner theatre and made it just in time for Toby's Fiddler on the Roof.  This was the perfect ending to a wonderful week in DC.

April 11, 2013