"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July in DC

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. Did you know that? It is. Yes, I am one of those people who cries every time she hears "Proud to be an American." I love studying the Revolutionary War period. One of my favorite movies is The Patriot. One of my favorite books is Johnny Tremain. And I LOVE fireworks.

I usually make 4th of July plans a good month in advance. I look forward to the 4th every year and making a cute Flag cake and buying sparklers and getting together with friends. I love dressing up in red,white and blue and of course, I have dressed Eva to match in recent years.

This year however, Paul and I realized only a week before the 4th that we had no such plans. I've had lots on my mind and July is already proving to be incredibly full with a family reunion next weekend and a double birthday party for the girls at the end of the month. So, somehow my favorite holiday almost slipped through the cracks this year...almost.

Lucky for us, we live only 20 minutes away from DC. Could there be a better a place to spend the 4th? Well, maybe Philly but DC is pretty dern cool, I'd say. I ran out to Target to purchase some cute red, white and blue shirts for the girls and Paul and I put a quick plan in place. We planned to leave early enough to avoid traffic and to find parking on the outskirts of the city in order to avoid traffic on the way out. We wanted to get there early and park at the Iwo Jima memorial as we'd heard that it was the best spot to watch the fireworks over the Capitol. We'd walk into DC and spend the day there. We could watch the parade, walk around, grab some lunch, walk around, check out the museums, walk around and make our way back to the Iwo Jima around 7 ish to claim our spot for the fireworks display at 9. That was our plan.

We arrive in DC around 10 am (there was NO traffic) and made our way to the Iwo Jima to grab a parking spot, only they weren't allowing people to park there. We drove around a bit and finally remembered Ft Myer, a small army post with an entry gate a mere 1/2 mile away from the Iwo Jima. So we drove on base and parked as close to the gate as possible (thank goodness for military ID's). We then loaded up the girls in our double stroller, threw back some water, tightened our shoe laces and got to walking. We walked off base and cut threw the Arlington National Cemetery until we got to the Arlington Memorial Bridge which had been closed off to vehicle traffic but not pedestrian traffic, which was pretty neat...

and allowed for this fun shot...

We got into DC and hung around the Lincoln Memorial a bit to rest and let Eva play with the ducks in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. We then started the second part of our trek into the city to watch the parade and grab some lunch.

The Parade proved impossible to view because of the mass hysteria that was DC that day. The crowd was so thick along Constitution Ave that it was too difficult to maneuver our wide stroller in enough to see anything. Plus, it was hot. So we moved on to the next part of the plan...lunch.

We ate at the Old Post Office, which is no longer a post office. I'm not really sure what they use it for now, but I know there's a food court with a Ben and Jerry's and that's all I was really concerned about at the time.

Once we'd spent a few hours in DC, we quickly realized that we hadn't planned enough things to make our VERY long day of waiting for the fireworks seem not-so-long. We had walked so much already and toyed with the idea of walking back to the van to drive around a bit, but the idea of walking some more to drive around didn't appeal to either of us at the time. And that's when we looked across the street and saw something amazing...the Metro!

We purchased a few one-way tickets to get us to the Rosslyn Metro station (which is only 3-5 blocks from Ft Myer) as Paul had heard that the escalator in the Rosslyn Metro Station is the largest in the world?!? So of course, we HAD to see it.

As we stood on the loading platform under the streets of DC, we awaited our train with eagerness. I love the Metro...it's so...metropolitan. Eva however, does NOT love the Metro which we discovered only seconds after taking our seats on the train. A panic ensued that neither Paul or I had anticipated and she begged us to "take her back." The other passengers gave us sympathetic nods and smiles and I was grateful for their patience and empathy as our child quickly diminished any possibility of a quiet, nonchalant commute for any of them.

We finally arrived at the Rosslyn station and Paul was able to get his shot of the massive escalator (which really is amazingly huge).

We walked to Ft Myer, picked up the van and drove to a mall in Arlington where I took the girls to see Ice Age while Paul went to see Transformers. We had dinner and headed back over to Ft Myer to park the van once again and walk down to the Iwo Jima to watch the fireworks. Little did we know that Ft Myer was holding a secret treasure.

Once back on post, we noticed A LOT of people parking their cars but they weren't walking towards to gate to go off post down the Marine Corp Memorial. Nope, they were walking up a big hill that went into family housing on post. Paul stopped to ask an MP (military police) where he thought the best place to view the fireworks would be the MP responded with a confident, "the hill here on Ft Myer." So we followed the crowd to a grassy hill overlooking the city and you could seriously see every memorial from this hill. It was gorgeous.

We claimed a spot of soft grass and Paul and Eva went on a search for lightning bugs while Izzy and I saved our spot and made funny noises back and forth. Once it got dark, we were treated the most amazing fireworks display I've ever seen and we seriously had the best seat in all of DC!

Once it was all over, Paul and I looked at each other and smiled. "That was well worth it," he said. And I couldn't agree more!

**I will soon post pics and videos of the fireworks, but alas, the commissary calls so you'll just have to wait**

2 comments on "4th of July in DC"

Fresh Batch Jams on July 8, 2009 at 7:38 AM said...

You guys are so adventurous. Are you sure your Cortez's? I have to admit I thought you guys were nuts for wanting to spend a holiday weekend in the city when it was HOT!

But, it sounds like it was fun. I think we would have given up - glad to see it was worth the effort.

So Eva was afraid of the metro but not the fireworks? Kyland wanted nothing to do with them

Emily said...

Sounds like an amazing day! How fun for you! And great pics! How funny that Eva was freaked out by the Metro...how did she handle the fireworks? Matthew fell asleep! Awe, babies!