Photo above: Washington DC skyline including Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial and US Capitol building as seen from Arlington
There isn’t another place in the country like it. While all of the states in the Gildshire’s “America the Beautiful” Tour are unique and have distinct personalities, nothing is like D.C. And it isn’t even a state! (A fact which rankles many residents of the District)
Washington D.C. is the seat of the most successful form of government in the history of governing. No nation is richer in resources, both manmade and natural. No nation since ancient Rome has held such a position of power in the world. No nation has consumed more, and at the same time, been more benevolent. We are a unique people, and it all streams from Washington D.C.
The District of Columbia has 658,893 residents, making it slightly more populous than North Dakota. It is bordered by only two states. Virginia, on the southwest, and Maryland.
The long view of the National Mall from the US Capitol Building toward the Ulysses S Grant Memorial and the Washington Monument
Famous District of Columbians:
Actors: Helen Hayes, Goldie Hawn, Katherine Heigl, William Hurt, and Taraji P. Henson.
Military/Politics: J. Edgar Hoover, Al Gore, and John Foster Dulles.
Entertainers: Pearl Bailey, Billy Eckstine, John Philip Souza, Duke Ellington, and Jelly Roll Morton.
Authors: Carl Bernstein and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Athletes: Adrian Dantley and Pete Sampras
Movies in Which the District of Columbia Played a Role:
All the President’s Men
In the Line of Fire
Wag the Dog
Air Force One
The White House
Weird and Wonderful Facts About the District of Columbia:
Washington, D.C., was created by an act of Congress on July 16, 1790. The Residence Act stated, “that a district of territory, not exceeding ten miles square, to be located on the river Potomac.
In spite of the original dimensions, the District of Columbia covers 63 square miles.
The highest point in the District is just 409 feet above sea level.
Every President except George Washington has lived in the White House.
The Old Stone House, located at 3051 M Street NW, has remained unchanged since 1765.
The Washington Monument is both the world’s tallest stone structure and world’s tallest obelisk, standing at 555 feet 5 1/8 inches tall.
On the Washington National Cathedral, there is a grotesque of Darth Vader.
A view from Georgetown and Key bridge in autumn
Let’s Visit the District of Columbia!
While there are reasons why one would want to visit all 50 states, Washington D.C. is a place every citizen of the United Staes, and anyone interested in the USA should visit. The history which oozes from every corner bespeaks the soul of this great nation.
We will hold off on amusement parks, beaches, and natural wonders today. This is about the places which make America…America.
We start at the Capitol Building itself. The iconic Capitol is where the action happens, and visitors can explore its hallowed halls to see the old Senate chambers and underneath that gorgeous dome. Tours are free, but require passes. The very best way to schedule a tour is to contact your state or local Representative. They can hook you up, and may well greet you when you get there.
Aerial view of Pennsylvania street with federal buildings including US Archives building, Department of Justice and US Capitol
Next we’re going to court. The Supreme Court that is. If the court is in session you can visit during the arguments. If it isn’t, docents are around to lead tours every hour on the half hour. They will show you where the great debates were held.
The Lincoln Memorial is next. This place of awe and honor recognizes the life and work of the 16th President of the United States. Some of the most famous events in American history have been held here, including the famous “I Have a Dream” speech from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We have saved the best for last. The Smithsonian. Just the name should send chills up the spine of the history buff. Collectively called The Smithsonian Institution, the world-renowned museum and research complex consists of 15 separate museums and the National Zoo.
One can spend days and days at The Smithsonian complex. But make sure and visit the National Museum of American History and the Air and Space Museum.
In the National Museum of American History, Abe Lincoln’s top hat, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz and many other iconic items are on display. Julia Child’s entire kitchen has been recreated in the museum.
The Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson Memorial reflecting in the Tidal Basin
Flying was considered daring, if not dangerous, in the early years of the 20th century. Airlines and airports didn’t even exist. But by century’s end, we can travel to almost anywhere in America in a matter of a few hours. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum teaches us how the whole thing came about.
Gildshire’s America the Beautiful tour was conceived by our leadership as a way to celebrate the greatness of the land we love. America is not without flaws, But it is made up of great people, doing great things, in great places. The District of Columbia brings it all into focus as nowhere else could. We hope you have enjoyed the trip to, and through, Washington D.C.