Friday, October 14, 2005

Travel Journal

September 5th, 2005
Here we are in Washington, DC after a long trip from Tennessee yesterday! We arrived late last night at a nice family campground right outside the city where we plan on staying for the week. Today, we went to Mount Vernon, the home of our first president, George Washington. It was a beautiful place set on a rolling hilltop overlooking the Potomac River. We sat for awhile on that hill in front of the house looking out at the river and I could just imagine George Washington doing the same over 200 years ago. He'd be experiencing the same things I was: the cool breeze, the view, the contentment in knowing that he lived in a beautiful, free nation.

Then this evening we drove to Annapolis Harbor, where we saw the U.S. Naval Academy and hundreds of boats!! We could feel the Labor Day holiday in he air as we moored around the docks along with many young people out celebrating their day free from work. It was a lovely evening and dusk was gathering as we climbed into a tour boat to take an evening tour. Beneath us, the water was shimmering and reflecting the multi-colored sky. People from the other boats waved as we passed by and though we could hardly see them anymore, we waved back. I guess the peacefulness of the evening made us sleepy because me and my seven brothers and sisters were all fast asleep when we pulled back into our campsite.

September 6, 2005
Today we took a trip via the subway into downtown Washington DC. We walked out of the station, still dazzled by the thrill of our first subway ride, and looked around us at our nation's capital. We had never realized before how very beautiful the sight was. Each intricately structured building and historic monument provided a pattern so perfect that it made me wish I could soar up like a bird to look down and take it all in at once.

After lunch, we went into the National Gallery of Art. Taking our time, we walked through each exhibit slowly. There were couches dispersed through multiple rooms and on some there were students lounging with notebooks studying paintings that apprarently had fancied them. My mom, sisters, and I walked through quietly studying each painting closely and marveling at the pure talent these artists possessed. With each painting, I longed to become like these artists and touch hearts with beautiful pictures for the world to understand and admire.

September 7, 2005
We went back downtown today to just stroll around and see the monuments up close. We went first to the Washington Monument. Even when we saw it far off, it was breathtaking but that was nothing compared to standing right next to it. If you had good balance you could look up and watch I seeming to sway back and forth while the clouds about it would circle 'round and form a sort of crown on its pointed top. We picnicked in the shadow of the monument and then made our way down the long winding sidewalk to the Lincoln Memorial. There we rested and read the inscriptions on the walls with the face of Abraham Lincoln looking sternly down at us. Turning around and walking back down the steps we could see the reflecting pool with the Washington Monument reflected right in the center of the water. Ducks were swimming in the pool and people were standing along the pathway resting or taking in the sights around them. The scene provided a one-point perspective of the pool, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building forming one line and getting smaller as they went.

September 8, 2005
Leaving at 9:00 A.M. we took a long trip to Williamsburg, Virginia today. It was a four hour drive to the Colonial town but the boring trip was forgotten as we began to walk around. We strolled at our own pace and walked in and out of small shops that had been built to function just as they would have in the Colonial era. Around us, people were dressed as if they had just walked out of the 1600s. One woman as even carrying a baby boy dressed in a white blouse and britches. The shop we stayed in longest was the apothecary shop where they displayed medicines and remedies from the 1600s. When we walked in, we saw endless rows of old bottles and jars lining the shelves. There was a soapy, sweet smell in the air and a smiling lady in a mobcap behind the counter. She was there to prescribe some sort of medicine or herb for whatever ailed you, in Colonial days, that is. But today, she was there to answer all our questions about sickness in the 17th century. We walked in and out of many places including the shoemaker, gunsmith, milliner, silversmith, and blacksmith. Every shop had its own special smell and feel. By the time we were ready to go back, each was convinced that he was born in the wrong time period and longing for the olden days again.

September 9, 2005
Our last day was spent at the beautiful Baltimore Harbor. We arrived around 2:00 P.M., parked, and began to walk. The first thing that struck us was that, like Annapolis, there were hundreds of sailboats and yachts in the water and tied to the docks. On one huge yacht, a family lounged on lawn chairs drinking lemonade and waving back to people who called hello. We walked in a half-circle around a small inlet area passing by tall skyscrapers and crowds of people. Once, we passed a man who was playing the guitar, a drum set and a harmonica all at once. Small kids jumped up and down to the beat of the music around him while grown-ups dropped money in his bucket. Continuing on after watching for a while, we also passed a few anchored old ships and even an old submarine that could be explored with tickets. But we were hungry for dinner by this point so we circled back to find a place to eat. The rest of the evening was spent at the Rusty Scupper eating delicious seafood and enjoying the incredible view of Baltimore Harbor from our table.

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