July 4th in Washington, D.C.

We departed the scorching heat of Abu Dhabi on July 3rd flying First Class on the Dreamliner to Washington. Let’s just say it was a once in a life time experience! We checked into the Hotel Madera and wandered down to Dupont Circle for a light bite of dinner. We ordered a couple of cocktails, 6 raw oysters, and a side of bacon. We were pretty tired by this point so we went back to our hotel in hopes of getting a full night’s sleep.

Let the journey begin

Bec traveling in style

We woke up pretty early the next morning but we were ready to take in the Independence Day festivities. We donned our red, white and blue clothes, put on our American pins and grabbed our flags. Our first stop on the agenda was the White House, the official residence and principal workplace of the current President of the United States, Barack Obama.


Bec outside the White House

It was pretty quiet around there so we made our way down to the west end of the National Mall when it started to rain. Quickly the light rain turned into a torrential downpour and we pulled out the umbrellas as there was nowhere to take shelter. We got absolutely soaked but the rain eventually subsided. We first visited the Lincoln Memorial, a neoclassical monument to the 16th President. We gazed across the reflecting pool and then walked over to the war memorials.

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument

Reflecting Pool

We could see people gathering to watch the parade that was about to start so we got a curb side seat on Constitution Avenue just as the sun was peaking out. We watched the parade for a while and then made our way towards the Washington Monument, built to commemorate George Washington, which is both the world’s tallest stone structure and obelisk.

July 4th Parade

July 4th Parade

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

Our last highlight of the day was the Capitol Building, the seat of the United States Congress which sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern edge of the National Mall. It was late afternoon and the storm clouds had rolled in but lucky enough we were able to find shelter this time. We waited out the storm and then made our way back up to the hotel.


Storm clouds over the Capitol Building

We freshened up and grabbed a bite to eat from the Fireside restaurant next door. We had been reading about the famous crab cakes and we were not disappointed. After our bellies were full, we walked back down to the White House to finish off our July 4th celebrations by enjoying the fireworks!

Eastern shore crab cakes

Eastern shore crab cakes

On Sunday morning, we found a walking tour of historic Georgetown with “Washington Walks”. The tour took us past Julia Child’s old house, 200 year old mansions, John F. Kennedy’s house, and up to Georgetown University. We even spotted Barack’s daughter visiting friends (we could tell by the huge security detail). Our tour ended around lunch time and the tour guide recommended Martin’s Tavern, the oldest family owned restaurant in town. It is also known as the spot that JFK proposed to Jackie. We grabbed a couple of local pints, I got the sliders, and Dan went for the shrimp and grits. We did a bit of shopping afterwards and then decided to cross the Potomac River to Virginia to visit the Arlington National Cemetery. We stopped at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) and then boarded the little trolley which took us around the cemetery grounds to Arlington House and the Kennedy grave sites. We then made our way back to D.C.

Iwo Jima Memorial

Iwo Jima Memorial

Dan at Arlington National Cemetary

Dan at Arlington National Cemetery

Headstones at Arlington National Cemetery

Headstones at Arlington National Cemetery

J.F.K's grave site

J.F.K’s grave site

That evening was our last night so we decided to go for some more local seafood at Hank’s Oyster Bar. We had the sake oyster shooters to start, Dan ordered the fried oyster dinner and I went for the lobster roll with old bay fries.

Fried oysters

Fried Oysters

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll

The next morning we did a bit of shopping at Nordstrom’s Rack and Macy’s before boarding our 5:00 flight to Chicago, then onwards to Calgary. We really enjoyed spending some time in D.C. but we were looking forward to the next part of our vacation – our summer trip back to Canada.



About rrettenmier

In September 2010, Dan and I received working visas for the United Kingdom. We sold our condo, quit our jobs and packed our bags to move to London. This blog is designed to update our friends and family back home about where we are and what we are up to, as well as to share our adventure with others.
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4 Responses to July 4th in Washington, D.C.

  1. Uncle Dale says:

    Rebecca the next time there is an empty seat on the Dreamliner I want to be the first to know. Washington looks very interesting. We might do it next summer with Stephanie and Scott. That will of course leave only about 50 places you’ve been to that will still be on my bucket list.

  2. Judy Erickson says:

    It’s on my bucket list too. Thanks for the scoop on what to do and where to go!!

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