the White House & the National Mall – Washington, DC

Washington DC - Air Photo

Smithsonian Kite Festival in front of the Washington Monument

Currently we have been finishing up another super long cross country Titan road trip and are on our way back to Ottawa, however due to various issues with customs and border crossing, we have had to delay our trip home until the paper work for the survey equipment has been fully processed (witch apparently takes a full day or two ??). Therefore we gained a day-off of two while traveling and conveniently it happened while we were near Washington, DC.

The National Mall is an open concept national park situated in middle of Washington, D.C. that covers the area between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol Building. It includes several landmarks, National Monuments and several museums.

Therefore it was a opportunity to take a few hours for ourselves and check out some of the sites located around the American Capital City (& home of the President of the United States). It also turned out to be the same day as the Smithsonian Kite Festival, which is an annual event that takes place at the National Mall. Much like Ottawa back home, Washington, DC provides people here with many different activities.

the White House - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DCback of the White House - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC

It wasn’t a very sunny day but pretty breezy so actually good weather for kite flying. There were hundreds of people flying kites for leisure, competing in various competitions and many other related activities. Most of the activities were around the Washington Monument (the tallest stone obelisk structure in the world constructed of marble, granite and gneiss, built to commemorate president George Washington), so we walked around for a bit and took in some of the sites at the event before heading out to check out some of the attractions that we had come to see.

United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC

We headed north from there to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, better known as the White House or the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. There were plenty of people around all with their cameras ready in case they caught a site of President Barack Obama. No luck he wasn’t around so we headed on to our next stop.

From there we headed east towards the United States Capitol Building witch is like our Parliament Hill, the meeting place of the United States Congress and the legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The Capitol is at the highest point of the National Mall and looks down westerly towards the Lincoln Memorial. Before heading west towards the other end witch turned out was just over 3 and half kilometers we took a short detour to 501 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Theere we discovered that the Canadian Embassy building located just north of the National Gallery of Art was nothing like the United States Embassy building is back in Ottawa (less fortress like fencing and more architecture glass like structure).

Canadian Embassy in Washington DC - USAWashington Monument

Heading west again we progressed by the majority of museums and attractions due to the volume of people that were there as it seemed to have been March break for kids in this area and we didn’t want to waste our day standing in line ups.

Lincoln Memorial - Reflecting pond Washington, DCWe stopped to check out the 600+ m Reflecting Pool at the west end of the park, in front of the Lincoln Memorial (the one that was in the movie Forest Gump when Jenny runs through the middle of it during the war protest). It amazing how large this pond is as it stretches down from the War Memorial Monument all the way down to Lincoln, where he sits looking out upon it.

So from here we headed west along the Reflecting Pool down to the Lincoln Memorial and what ever sites awaited us down at this end of the National Mall.

Click here to continue reading more about my rest of day in Washington, DC (with more photos) in my next travel blog post.


[Note: Washington, DC Air Photo at the top of the post was customized from Google Earth]

Update: I have added some aerial images of the White House that we took on one of our flights though the area when we were back to do some LIDAR survey work in the area. Didn’t have any time off this time so no other new photos of Washington, DC to add.

Aerial Photo of the White House - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DCAerial Photo of the White House - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC

The Lincoln & Jefferson Memorials and the United States Pentagon – Washington, DC

Lincoln Memorial - Washington, DC

This post is part 2 of my visit to the National Mall in Washington, DC, where we gained a day-off of two while traveling back to Ottawa, and conveniently it happened while we were near Washington, DC.

Earlier in the day we had been to the White House, the Capital Building, the National Monument and the Canadian Embassy. And in the last post where I left off was when we were walking down along the 600+ m Reflecting Pool at the west end of the park, in front of the Lincoln Memorial (the large pond that we see in the movie Forest Gump when Jenny runs through the middle of it to talk to Forest during a war protest).

Statue of Thomas Jefferson - Washington, DC

Next we progressed down to the Lincoln Memorial that was built to honor President Abraham Lincoln and witch we came to realize was some pretty fascinating architecture project. The building resembles a Greek temple style structure with high sculpted pillars (witch you can also see on the American penny and the dollar bill).

Lying between the north and south chambers (that contain the words of Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address inscribed on the walls – both famous speeches given by Lincoln) is what they refer to as the central hall; here is where the famous statue of Lincoln sitting in contemplation is located. The Lincoln statue was built in 1920 and is almost 20 feet high and would be as high as 28 feet high if Lincoln were standing instead of sitting down.

Reflecting Pond in front of the Lincoln Memorial Washington, DC


From there we headed south along the river past several baseball diamonds till we came to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, another very interesting architecture structure built to honor the third President of the United States. The Jefferson Memorial building is composed of circular marble steps that lead up to a circular colonnade of large pillars, covered with a shallow dome that houses a large statue of President Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial - Washington, DCLincoln Memorial Washington, DC

After we had finished walking all around the Nations Capital taking photos and looking like normal tourists we headed back to the hotel across the river with a quick drive by the United States Pentagon (the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense) for one last American National Attraction. Here I didn’t bother to stop just to avoid any security problems that may arise for taking photos of Department of Defense property (something I learned should be avoided from a different trip… ) and also because security is much tighter here since 2001.

Over all the day off turned out to involve much more walking then I had originally anticipated but all was good and now I can say I have been there (didn’t get the T-Shirt though) and can cross that off my list of “Must See Places”. And the best part was I was getting paid to be here.

White House Washington, DCWashington Monument, Washington, DC