4 Reasons You Should Visit Washington D.C.

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It’s no secret that I’m sort of a political nerd. So, visiting the capitol has been a dream of mine since I dressed up as a Congress Woman for career day in 3rd grade. Complete with briefcase, blazer, and ball point pens. We didn’t get to spend NEARLY enough time there. I didn’t see Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or the Library of Congress. But what I did see, blew my pea-brain into oblivion.

Thinking of visiting D.C. but not sure it’s worth it. THINK AGAIN.

4 reasons you should visit Washington D.C. and the Lincoln Memorial

1. IT HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

For history buffs, artsy fartsy types, science geeks, and political nerds, the National Mall is the place to be. If you’re a human being, you’ll find more than one thing to like about D.C. Art museums, monuments, memorials, nature, you name it. Something there will entertain you. And for a good chunk of the day.

Hello? Smithsonian anyone?!

Smithsonian Castle Washington D.C.

They even have a castle.

2. IT CAN BE SUPER DUPER CHEAP

Cheapskates can have a good time too. The National Mall is technically a National Park minus the entrance fee. So it’s basically all free. Not kidding. The museums, the archives, the zoo, and the monuments have free admissions. I’m being serious. Fun + free admission = a splendid time for all.

Husband is a money worrier. Everyone has that person who constantly says “how much is that going to cost?!” He’s mine. I love him for it, because it keeps us on track, and responsible, blah blah blah. But when we’re on vacation… he’ll get the angry eyes from me more than once on the issue. In D.C. however… he tried to find somewhere to complain about this and couldn’t. Ha! Point for Wife!

Washington Monument at the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Washington Monument from the ground up. Coolest way to see it.

The White House Washington D.C.

You can even wave to the President for free.

3. IT HAS ART

The Smithsonian has a plethora of art museums to choose from. From classic to modern. Paintings to sculpture. Master works, guys. Amazing stuff. This also ties into reason #2. THEY’RE ALL FREE. Stare at the art all day. Do it. I did.

Renoir Painting at the American Art Museum in Washington D.C.

Dude… I’m talking MASTERPIECES.

4. IT CAN TEACH YOU STUFF

Science, history, government, technology… The list is infinite. I can’t wait to go back and learn more of the stuff! I’m a nerd, though. Knowledge is attractive to me. I was seriously in intellectual heaven in D.C. They’ve got things for kids and grown ups to absorb. I’m a space geek, so we went to the Air and Space Museum. I’m also fascinated by history and politics, so I dragged Husband to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence. He had to drag me out hours later because they were closing. There is just SO MUCH to see and take in. Gah! So much!

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SPAAAAAAACE!!*

 

See? You HAVE to visit D.C. It’s just one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to. And, not to brag, but I’ve been to a whole slew of places. This one, though. Top o’ the list. Obviously, there are more than 4 reasons to acquaint yourself with America’s capitol city. But I’d be here all night spewing fact after fact, about every monument and why it’s awesome. Just go there, so you and I can talk about why we love it, okay?

Also, quick note about the Lincoln Memorial up at the top of the post… We visited the memorial at the end of our day. Before then we visited the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (home of the Space Shuttle Discovery) and the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, so we were borderline exhausted. The walk from the Archives to the Lincoln Memorial seemed NEVER-ENDING. But! As I said before, I insisted we make the trek. IT WAS SO WORTH IT. Even Husband said so, and he’s not even American. He really thought it was a cool sight see.

Anyway. I cannot recommend Washington D.C. enough. And if you do go, make sure you visit Abe. There’s a feeling of hope and peace there, that isn’t matched. It’s nice to look out over the Reflecting Pool with Lincoln at your back being his wise and serene self. To sum up, it’s just… nice.

*The Space Shuttle Discovery is actually at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (which is basically the hangars for the Air and Space Museum. It’s where they keep the BIG stuff.) It’s 30-40 minutes west of D.C. Still free admission, but parking is $15. WORTH IT.

 

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Falling Water

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I was so excited to find out on our Honeymoon the hotel we booked in Pennsylvania was only a short distance from Falling Water. The next morning, we drove into the forest and behold! The wonder that is Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece!

Alright, we didn’t go on the tour of the house. Sadly. We didn’t have the time. But! We did get to walk around the grounds, which was awesome, and gave us more than one vantage point for photos. Access to the grounds was $8 per person. I found that more than worth it, since there was a little visitor center, we could take all the pictures our little hearts desired, and we could wander through the gorgeous trees and long as we wanted (well, as long as the grounds were open).

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(Please excuse the gentleman enjoying his tour, and simultaneously ruining my photo. Oh well, at least he’s having a good time…?)

I wish we would have had the time for a tour. However, as you can see, we got all kinds of up close and personal. The general house tour is $25 a person, in case you were wondering, and children under six aren’t allowed. It’s also closed on Wednesdays. The house also has some mobility issues, so if you’re contemplating a visit, check out their website before you make any final plans.

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See? All sorts of different views of the house are available with only access to the grounds.

If you’re one for art, architecture, or nature, I would definitely add Falling Water onto your travel bucket list. It’s beautiful.

Maybe I just like to see really famous things with my own eyeballs, but I loved it!

Churchill Downs

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Okay. I’m only a mild horse racing enthusiast. But! I’m incredibly happy with our decision to make a pit-stop there, while passing through Louisville.

For our Honeymoon, Husband and I drove from little ol’ Utah, across the country, as far as New England. I picked out a few places for us to explore, and Churchill Downs was one of them. So grateful I did!

As I said, I’m not HUGE into horse racing. I make sure to catch the Triple Crown races, and that’s about it. Once, when I was in my youth, my mom took me to Evanston Wyoming to watch the races for a day. And it was a really fun experience. Sunburn and all. I had a blast.

So, I definitely wanted to visit the home of the Kentucky Derby, if only to dream of wearing a fancy hat. (They had some to buy there, but I decided I didn’t want to try to cart that thing all the way back across the country without bending it.)

Technically speaking we visited the Kentucky Derby Museum, which included a walking tour of Churchill Downs, a 360 degree movie, and you get to meet the resident thoroughbred.  The movie presentation made me cry a little. Husband, not being an American, didn’t understand my emotional state watching those racers win the Derby, but I didn’t care. It was cool to watch American Pharaoh win the Triple Crown on my TV live, and cool to see again with the sweeping music in the place it began. Anyway! I highly recommend visiting the museum for the walking tour alone, and it wasn’t too outrageous of a price. $15 for adults. Not the worst we’ve paid for an attraction. But, not the cheapest either. Worth every penny though, for someone like me. So I wasn’t upset about it.

They have other specialty tours available. I can’t say anything on those, since we didn’t go beyond general admission, but I bet, for fans at least, they’re super awesome.

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See? The hats! Including one worn by Queen Elizabeth II. That’s a royal hat! They were all so gorgeous to see, and such a fun tradition to relish in.

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This is how close you get to the actual track. Yes. I’m not using zoom.

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Okay. Okay. I did zoom in for a better photo of the Finish Post. But, you could clearly tell what it was in person. An awesome thing to see.

To sum up, if you’re in or passing through Louisville Kentucky. Give this place a looksee. I absolutely loved it, and was all tingly with excitement over the dreams made there. Very cool.

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As an added bonus for reading the entire post, here’s a picture of horse poop, because I thought it was funny.

Hearst Castle

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There are a gajillion things to do in California. But I’m a bit biased, as I was born there (although, I don’t call myself a Californian, I moved to Utah before I was a year old, so I’m a Utahn or Utard, whichever you prefer).

On the central coast of California is THIS:

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Hearst Castle

William Randolph Hearst and his Architect Julia Morgan built this gargantuan beauty, and by 1947 it had 165 Rooms. 165 GORGEOUS rooms. I’m not kidding you, every room in this place took my breath away.

There are a few tours to choose from. Grand Rooms, Upstairs Suites, Cottages and Kitchen, and an Evening Tour (which includes docents dressed in 1930’s period clothes walking about). We chose the Upstairs Suites tour, simply because that one included the library, and… I have a book problem. It was an incredible sight to say the least…

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And that’s only half of it!

The other half had a fan on the ground. And, try as I might, the ugly, modern, very beige, fan insisted on photo-bombing every one of my shots. Rude.

Our tour also took us to the Gothic Study. OH MY FREAKING GOSH. This was my favorite room. Hands down. The very best. It was just… well, see for yourselves.

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I almost wept. I didn’t want to continue the tour. I just wanted to sit in there and be happy.

Hearst Castle was just an incredible experience. Almost like walking into a real life Great Gatsby moment.

Can you imagine living in a place like this? Your view every morning would be this:

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Sure… I think I could handle that.

A little hot out? How ’bout a swim?

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TRAVELER TIP: Please don’t actually try to swim in the pool. This is technically a museum. And a State Park. SWIMMING BAD.

There’s also a second pool, which I’m told, may house the ghost of Marilyn Monroe. So… Keep your eyes open for her.

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Amazing, no?

So here’s the breakdown:

Hearst Castle

Central Californian Coast

Tour price: $25 for adults $12 for children

Worth it? Worth every penny and then some. It’s magical and fantastical and unforgettable.

Wanderlust Wednesday 3.19.14

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So I’ve decided that every Wednesday I’m going to post about a place we haven’t been, but are weeping inside (or out loud) because we’re DYING to go. This week…

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PARIS!!

I know… I know… It’s kind of cliche. Or, like 100% cliche. BUT I DON’T CARE. I can’t care. I won’t care! It’s beautiful, and fantastic, and magical, and one day we’ll go there and all will be right with the world!

On a calmer note: I’m a big fan of art. And a little gem known as The Louvre happens to reside in Paris. When we do make it there, it may be difficult for me to not spend the ENTIRE visit at this phenomenal palace of all things art and happiness. Man… We’re going to have to stay in Paris for at least a month in order for me to see all I want to see.

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How could you NOT want to stand here?!

One day we’ll get there, and then I’ll write about it on this blog, and then you’ll all be so happy for me, and then everyone can live happily ever after.