Monday, May 23, 2016

The White House Tour

Washington D.C. - our nation's capital. My second favorite city in the US. There is so much intrigue there and so much to see. My first trip to DC was back in 2014. I remember it was Easter, gorgeous weather. The Cherry blossoms had already blossomed a month before, nevertheless it was absolutely beautiful.

I visited all the important sights from the Lincoln Memorial to the Arlington Cemetery and Library of Congress. While there, all I kept thinking was, wouldn't be great if I could actually visit the main attraction of all - The White House.

Once I got home I started doing research and found out that getting into the White House was not as impossible as I thought. As an American citizen you would have to submit a request through your state's senator. For more information click here.
I ended up submitting my request in October 2015. I didn't have a specific date in mind, so I asked for any weekend in the spring of 2016. In early March I received an email from Illinois Senator Kirk's office with the date and instructions for my scheduled visit two weeks in advance. It was time for another road trip.

The self-guided tour takes about an hour. Our scheduled time was at 8:30 in the morning. We left early to make sure we would find parking, which surprisingly is super affordable compared to our hometown of Chicago or NYC. The city was so peaceful in the morning. No tourists trying to get a glimpse of the White House, just a few Secret Service officers guarding the grounds.

After multiple security check points we were finally inside. The public tour of the White House takes you only through the East Wing. There is a West Wing tour as well, but it is invitation-only or you have to know someone who works in the WH. 

The "People's House" was just as I'd expected. Beautiful furniture, priceless artifacts, kept up and decorated with fresh flowers, Former president's and first lady's portraits displayed throughout the house.

The State Dining Room was impeccable, I just stood there and took it all in. Many dinners have been hosted here for various heads of different state as well as royalty.  According to the Secret Service agent there is  a inscription prayer on the fireplace's mental that reads:

I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this House, and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.

The prayer comes from a letter that President Adams wrote to his wife upon moving into the house in 1800.
Once you head towards the exit, or I should say the front entrance, you encounter the presidential seal above a door that a lot of the visitors like to take pictures in front off. Once finished there, you're directed towards the exit where you're passing the portraits of the latest two presidents to hold office, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. 
It was certainly a great experience. I will try to go again, possibly during the holiday season when the house is decked out with Christmas trees and holiday decorations.

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