|It was an early start to a long day, but we did a lot so it was worth it.
We got up before 8:00 and were out the door by 8:30 and on our way to downtown Gettysburg to do a walking tour before we head south toward Washington DC. The weather has taken a turn for the better so we need to take advantage of it – it was a sunny 60° during our walk which is a welcome change from the damp and dreary we have had for weeks.
The walking tour was pretty interesting; we went by the Wills House where Lincoln stayed before he gave the Gettysburg Address, we saw a Civil War cannon shell that is still sticking out of the wall of a house and we saw houses and churches that served as impromptu hospitals during the battle. For me, one of the highlights was a shop on Baltimore St. that had tons of Civil War era artifacts like bullets, rifles, clothing and supplies from Gettysburg and other locations. One of the neatest items was a 5’ tall piece of a tree from a local farm that had musket balls and shrapnel still embedded in it. Some of the items were a bit pricey – one sword and scabbard was $11,500, but there were also bullets for a few bucks.
We had breakfast at the Gettysburg Hotel, then it was back to the bus and on the road for the short hour and 45 minute trip down Hwy 15, through Emmitsburg MD, onto I-270, then onto the I-495 Beltway to the NE side of Washington DC to our current home, Cherry Hill Park in College Park MD.
Once we got set up, we started doing some research on what to see and do and how to get there. One thing the park offers that we took advantage of is a talk on how to get to DC via mass transit and what to see near the subway and bus stops. They highly recommend mass transit if you are going to spend time in a specific area like the museums because traffic and parking in DC is horrible. One tour the speaker recommended that fit our plans perfectly was a night tour of the monuments to see them all lit up, so we decided to do that tonight because…well, because we can.
We got on the bus at about 6:00 and it took us about 45 minutes to go the 14 miles to Union Station in DC. If I was driving that 45 minutes would have turned into 2 hours and lots of cuss words with the traffic and inevitable wrong turns so it was worth it. At Union Station we transferred onto another bus for the rest of the night. Our driver was OK, he thought he was funnier than he actually was, but he knew his way around the maze that is DC. He took us all through the city telling us which notable building we were passing and onto our first stop which was the Jefferson Memorial. We got to spend about 30 minutes there then it was off to our next stop, the Lincoln Memorial. Both were very impressive, but you need to see them during the daytime – and without a time limit - to really get to see all that makes up the memorial so we will do that this week. We did a very short stop at the U.S. Marine Corp memorial, then on to our last stop which was The White House. We knocked on the door but B.O. didn’t answer so we didn’t stay long. Everything that we saw was neat, but we still want to see the sights during the day.
We got back home about 10:30 – just in time to eat a sandwich and go to bed. It was a long day, with more to come. No specific plan yet other than we are going back downtown for at least a couple days – there is plenty to see and do so we plan on, seeing and doing.