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Landscape and Wildlife Photographer

Two Days Travel Washington DC

The United States Capitol, Washington DC,  has so much to see and do.   First, if you want to go through the Smithsonian and see the museums, two days is not enough.  But if you only have a couple of days, you can get a great idea of the city and see the most popular sites.  Read more for travel Washington DC ideas for two days.  Some pictures included are of DC at peak cherry blossoms time.  

Arlington Cemetery

A visit to Arlington Cemetery is both sobering and thankful.  I am so thankful for the men and women that fought for my freedom.  It is an area of both respect and remembrance and was the top of my list for a trip to the DC area.  

Walking around Arlington, you have to reflect on the over 400,000 soldiers and veterans that are buried there.    The cemetery itself is a place of beauty and tranquility.  You can’t help but notice the uniformity of the grave stones which add to the beauty and also the somber emotions.  

cherry blossoms

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John F Kennedy burial site

John F. Kennedy became the 2nd US President to buried in Arlington (William H. Taft was the first).   Next to his grave burns an Eternal flame put there by his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as a symbol of hope.   

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The tomb of the unknown soldier stands on the top of a hill overlooking Washington DC.   It is an incredibly symbolic memorial.   In the World War I Memorial, one unknown soldier is buried.  The memorial includes three carved Greek figures representing Peace, Victory, and Valor. Six wreaths are sculpted, three on each side, which represent the six major campaigns of World War I. Inscribed on the back of the tomb are the words: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God”.   

To the West are white marble slabs that are flush to the ground with remains of unknown soldiers from World War II and the Korean War.   Today it represents missing and unknown service members who never made it home.  

Changing of the Guard

The tomb of the unknowns is guarded 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.    A soldier performs the same routine every day.  The soldier marches 21 steps, turns and faces the tomb for 21 seconds, then clicks heels, moves the rifle to the other shoulder, then paces 21 steps aways from the tomb.   This is done with incredible consistency and precision.   When watching this, with a crowd of people, you can hear a pin drop.   21 is reflective of the 21 gun salute, the highest military honor.  It is reserved for Presidents and foreign dignitaries and also fired on Memorial Day to commemorate America’s fallen.  

Every half hour in the summer, and hour in the fall and winter, the changing of the guard ceremony occurs.  The ceremony is solemn and dignified.   

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National Mall

The National mall contains the famous monuments and museums from the Washington Monument to the Capital.  

Must see monuments here are: 

  • The Lincoln Memorial 
  • World War II Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • The Washington Monument

If you are a photographer, it is very difficult to get pictures due to the amount of tourists there.  But these monuments are incredible to see.  

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Reflecting Pool

The Capitol 

Make your reservations early if you want a tour of the Capitol.  Reservations are available 90 days in advance from the U.S. Capitol Website.   

Tidal Basin

If you have seen pictures of Washington DC at cherry blossom time, then you have most likely seen the tidal basin.  Martin Luther King Jr memorial is on one side of the basin and the Jefferson Memorial is on the other.   Both are worth seeing and if you are there during cherry blossom time it is incredible.  We made plans for a trip there and hit peak cherry blossom time.   I’ll let you judge for yourself with the pictures below.  

 

cherry blossoms

United States Supreme Court

The Supreme Court building does not offer guided walking tours, but you can see portions of the building on a self-guided basis.  Some courtroom portions are open to the public.  Check ahead of your visit to see if court is in session. Seating is on a first come first basis.   

cherry blossoms

Where to Stay

We stayed in an area called The Wharf.  This is a mile long stretch along the Potomac River lined with hotels and restaurants.   This was not far from the heart of DC.  There is a shuttle a little way down you can take or you can walk it.   It has fabulous views and is across the water from the Jefferson Memorial.    

This is the view from our hotel room of the Jefferson Memorial lit up at night. 

 

 

This is the fish market that is along the wharf.  

If you have an opportunity to travel Washington DC, take it!!  The history and monuments are well worth the trip.  My husband and I definitely plan to go back.  If there is any way you can go during cherry blossom time, it is just beautiful.  We lucked out.  We had made reservations a couple of months earlier.   It would have been past cherry blossom time, however some cold weather slowed down the blossoms and we hit peak weekend.   The beauty comes with a trade off though, the tourism is at a high and everything is crowded.


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Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.  Debbi is  an award winning and published  travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography.   She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.

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