Sunday, November 6, 2016

White House Tour (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

This week I really didn't do much of anything.  Between running MCM last week and getting sick I only ran once (and remembered why I don't drink a bottle of wine the night before) and went to the gym once.  Not very exciting to read about, so I thought I would write up about my tour of the White House.  It's not really running related, but it was part of my MCM weekend.

Even though I'm only a couple hours away from DC, the one thing I have never done is visit the White House.  This trip was the perfect opportunity to do so.  


The tours are free, but you have to schedule them through your congressman.  This needs to be done 3 months to 21 days before your trip.  This process seems a little weird, but it was pretty easy.  I had to do some Google searches to find my congressman and a how to do it through their office.  I had an online form to fill out that gave them things like birthdays and social security numbers so that they can do a background check.  Also, I was able to request a ticket for Candace as well who lives in a different state so we were on the same ticket.  I was notified about 2 1/2 weeks before our scheduled tour.  We could not pick a time, but luckily the time given to us worked out perfectly.

Our ticket said that our tour was at 9 AM but we needed to get there 15 minutes early.  From the Federal Triangle Metro we walked up Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House.  We stopped in the White House Visitors Center to use the bathroom as there is no opportunity to do so once we went into the White House.  The guard at the Visitors Center saw that we were looking at our tickets as we walked out and made sure we knew where we were going.   We timed things perfectly and found the line to stand in outside the gates.

The first line of security was to make sure we had no bags.  It is very limiting on what was allowed into the tour, basically you could bring a wallet and your phone.  As we walked onto the property there were two more checks to verify our ID's.  I asked why they check twice and the secret service guard said that they just didn't trust us. :)  Then we went through medal detectors.  The lines moved smoothly and quickly and was easy to maneuver.
 

We entered in at the East Wing.  We went down a long hall with a bunch of pictures of President Obama and his family.  

I love that they included the dogs!!

Then we entered in what looked to be the official house and saw that they had some fun facts about how the house is haunted.  Being Halloween weekend it was a nice touch.  The next part had a lot of different photos of different Presidents during different parts of their presidency.  It was great to see things from all the different times of America.


I thought this was so cute!

We then hit the gift shop.  Candace wanted to get her mom an ordainment and while we stood in line I saw a pretty bracelet that I decided to get.  Unfortunately, I got home and there was no bracelet in the box.  I'm so very sad about that.

The tour is self guided and they have Secret Service around to ask questions to.  From the gift shop we were able to see into some of the rooms.  We could not go in them, but it was fun to take peeks.  We saw the Vermeil Room (once a billiard room and contains a collection of European and American gilded silver objects and portraits of recent first ladies), the Library, and China Room.

We went upstairs and were able to walk around some of the rooms.  We started in the East Room.  This is where state dinners, receptions, concerts, weddings and press conferences happen.  It is a beautifully large room.  The Halloween tidbit about this room was that Abigail Adams (wife of President John Adams) used to hang their laundry in this room to dry.  There were a few sightings of her after she died walking toward the East Room with her hands stretched out like she was holding a laundry basket.  Spooky!


Then we saw the Green Room.  Yes this room is saturated in green. Thomas Jefferson hosted dinners here and it since has been a parlor.



Looking out from these rooms shows the White House lawn and of course the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial.  One of the Secret Service Agents mentioned to someone that the Washington Monument is now permanently closed.  I had not heard that.  I knew it was closed after the earthquake here in central Virginia caused some structural damage in 2011 but it reopened in 2014.  According to some stuff on the web it had issues with the elevator and will go through a modernization of the elevator.  The articles said it was closed indefinitely, not permanently.  That's good, cause that's always a fun touristy thing to do.

What an amazing view!!


Next to the Green Room is the Blue Room.  And yes, the room is full of blue furniture, rugs, and wall treatments.  The Blue Room is a reception room.  It also is where Grover Cleveland had his wedding in 1886.


Next to the Blue Room is the Red Room.  I'm not making this stuff up.  And the funny thing is a lady asked a Secret Service agent what the room was called.  And apparently he gets that question a lot.  The Red Room is a parlor often used by first ladies. President Rutherford Hays took the oath of office in this room in 1877.  The Halloween tidbit for this room was that Mary Todd Lincoln held several seances after the death of her son right in this room.


The last room we were able to go into was the State Dining Room.  This room is beyond gorgeous.  The detail on the walls and ceilings were amazing.  As many as 140 people can fit into this room using round tables.


These pictures do not do the room justice.



We did get a peek into the Old Family Dining Room.  This is where the families used to eat before the private quarters were built in 1961.  This room was first opened to the public in 2015.





We saw the famous portrait of Kennedy.



We then were at the last part of the White House where they had flags and a seal (that was not pictured).


And of course the famous lantern outside the North Portico of the White House.  It was installed in 1902.  The North Portico used to be the main entrance for the family and public, but now is used to greet guests of state before gala dinners (and of course the exit for the people on the tours).


One of the Halloween tidbits was that Abraham Lincoln foretold his death in a dream and is one of the most famous ghosts to haunt the White House.  We saw his ghost right outside the gates trying to get back into the White House.



The White House tour was such a fun experience.  To be in the same place as so much history and beauty is beyond words.  To know that all of the presidents have been in the same rooms that I was in for just a moment.

Have you ever visited the White House?  What is your favorite place to tour in DC?  Have you ever seen a ghost?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.



16 comments:

  1. I have never visited the White House, but would love to someday! I'm kind of surprised they allow guests to take pictures inside. I had not heard about the Washington Monument...gosh, I'm hoping to visit that someday and climb tot he top (I'm a stair-climbing dork LOL).

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    1. I would love to climb the stairs to the top too! I'd have to make tons of breaks though. :)

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  2. I haven't been in the White House for ages - thanks for the tour - you got some great photos. I love the Obama family photo and view out over the lawn. Not a bad place to live!

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    1. Thanks! I wouldn't mind living there either. :)

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  3. I do want to go to DC some day there are so many things I'd like to do there. Running in the MCM is one of them!

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    1. I know, there are so many great things to do! Hope you get to do MCM soon. :)

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  4. I've been outside the White House, but have never really wanted to tour it. Funny, because I love history. I'd be more interested in meeting the dogs.

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  5. This sounds like a really fun tour! I've never done it. I love that photo of the President with the kid dressed as spider man :)

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    1. That was my favorite picture there too!

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  6. What a great tour, I would love to get there someday. Good to know how tours are booked. My sister lives close to there, so hopefully I get to fly out to see her someday and tour the capital as well.

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    1. My friend toured the capital last month and it was the same deal to get tickets, through your congressman.

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  7. This looks amazing!! It sounds like such a great tour! I'm sorry to hear your bracelet was missing ! Could you call to ask about it? that's a shame.

    I love the ghost stories!

    I have always wondered what it would be like to live in the White House.

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    1. I have sent an email to one place without a response. I'm gonna look to see if there is some other way to contact them, but I just might be out of luck. :(

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  8. I've been to DC a few times. I know I haven't toured the White House as an adult but possibly as a child. In any event, I have no memory of it. I do remember going up in the Monument. The Halloween trivia is very interesting. That's such a bummer about your bracelet. I wonder if you could email the gift shop? Thanks for linking, Heather!

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    1. I'm glad we went during a holiday. I wonder if they do the same at other holidays. Would be cool to read about Thanksgiving or Christmas tidbits. I'm trying to email them, but I haven't gotten a response yet.

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