A powerful place! Washington DC grew up along the banks of the Potomac River, in a central location chosen by George Washington, to satisfy Northern and Southern interests. Pierre Charles L’Enfant fashioned the capital city with grand boulevards and ceremonial spaces. Since that time DC has evolved into a fascinating, lively world!
Day 1 – Flights arrive, Washington Regan International Airport
Upon arrival in Washington Reagan International Airport, Welcome to the Nation’s Capital… You will be directed to the luggage carousel, then out to our luxury motor coach. Enjoy dinner on your own this evening there are several options including a restaurant in the hotel. Check in to Marriott Renaissance DuPont. Our home for the next 6 nights.
Day 2 – Local Touring, Washington DC
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning. Arrive at the White House Visitor Center… it offers visitors a window into the President’s iconic home. Explore an interactive touchscreen tour, view over 90 artifacts from the White House collection, shop at the Historical Association retail store, and view the 14 minute film, “White House: Reflections From Within”. We will stop for a White House photo op. Next arrive at the Capitol Visitor Center on Capitol Hill. Enjoy lunch on your own… the Capitol Visitor Center welcomes visitors to the seat of American government. At nearly 580,000 square feet, the CVC is the largest project in the Capitol’s 215-year history and is approximately three quarters the size of the Capitol itself. The entire facility is located underground on the east side of the Capitol so it does not detract from the appearance of the Capitol. Features include an exhibition gallery highlighting the House & Senate while in-session, orientation theaters, a 550-seat cafeteria, gift shops, and more all within a secure public environment that will provide visitors shelter from the unpredictable D.C. weather. It is the most recognized symbol of democratic government in the world, the U.S. Capitol has housed Congress since 1800. The Capitol is where Congress meets to write the laws of our nation, and where presidents are inaugurated. Its ceilings are decorated with historic images, and its halls are lined with paintings representing great events and people. Visit the United States Library of Congress explore, discover and be inspired! The Library of Congress is the largest national library in the world with more than 100 million items in three buildings. The original Library of Congress Building (now called the Thomas Jefferson Building) is perhaps Washington’s most richly ornamented building. Did you know? The library has more than 650 miles of bookshelves, and more than 138 million objects in 470 different languages. We’ll Tour the Supreme Court Building within the walls of this white marble monument the third branch of government exercises its mandate to protect and interpret the spirit of the Constitution. Tonight enjoy dinner at Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place, located in Georgetown’s Washington Harbour. The restaurant offers sweeping views of the Potomac River, the Kennedy Center, and the beautiful Washington Harbour Fountains. Marriott Renaissance DuPont, Washington DC (B, D)
Day 3 – Local Touring, Washington DC
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning. Arrive at Arlington National Cemetery for a tram tour… no land in American is more sacred than this square mile. It is America’s shrine to valor and sacrifice. This is the final resting place for President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Robert F. Kennedy, Edward Moore (Ted) Kennedy, Audie Murphy, prizefighter Joe Louis, and thousands of soldiers from every major U.S. war. The Cemetery is the former plantation and home of Civil War General Robert E. Lee. Arlington House, Space Shuttle Challenger Astronauts’ Memorial, and Monuments to nearly every major sacrifice that affected our country are located within these 612 acres. The Tomb of the Unknowns speaks of a nation’s debt to the many whose ultimate sacrifice helped make a nation free. Arlington averages 27 funerals a day. The crews, service members, and groundskeepers follow an elaborate choreography to ensure that each funeral feels like it is the only one taking place. Next we’ll take a driving tour of Old Town Alexandria. Within Christ Church, a beautiful example of Georgian church architecture, dating from 1773, silver plaques mark the pews of George Washington, who served as a vestryman. Discover Robert E. Lee’s boyhood home- the Georgian townhouse where he lived off and on for 13 years. Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Shop, run for five generations by a Quaker family, was the second oldest drugstore in the nation until it closed in 1933. It is now open as a museum and gift shop. George Washington Masonic National Memorial offers one of the finest views of Washington, plus an extraordinary collection of Colonial-era treasures. Located on the site proposed for the national capitol building. You’ll have some free time for lunch and to browse the antique and specialty shops and boutiques that give Alexandria its quaint, small-town feel. You’ll understand why George Washington chose to live near this once-thriving seaport, years before he chose the site for the nation’s capital… Next visit Mount Vernon, the estate of George Washington. If you haven’t been to Mount Vernon since the 2006 opening of the Ford Orientation Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center, two facilities with 25 galleries and theaters, it’s time for a visit! Discover the real George Washington with a Hollywood-produced action adventure movie, interactive exhibits, an immersive Revolutionary War “snow” experience, more than 1,000 artifacts, original films, and life-size models of Washington created from a forensic investigation! Visitors may also tour the restored Mansion, its outbuildings, and 50 spacious acres of gardens and grounds, which include the tombs of George and Martha Washington, a memorial to the slaves who worked at Mount Vernon, and a four-acre working farm. And of course there’s the gorgeous view of the Potomac River that can be enjoyed from one of several Windsor chairs on Washington’s piazza! Enjoy dinner tonight at Overwood Wood-Fired American Kitchen. Marriott Renaissance DuPont, Washington DC (B, D)
Day 4 – Local Touring, Washington DC
After breakfast we’ll visit the Newseum, the only interactive museum of news. Experience the news of today as it happens in the Great Hall of News. Relive the great new stories of the past in the News History Gallery. Go behind the scenes and try your hand at being a television news anchor or photographer. Because the news changes daily, no two visits to the Newseum are ever alike. Your free this afternoon to visit the Smithsonian Institution’s museums of your choice… there are many to choose from we will give you a list of them and try to help you find the one that will peak your interest. Please note seasonal hours of operation are posted at each museum entrance. The Smithsonian Institution’s security policy is: All bags, purses, attaches, shopping bags satchels, suitcases, etc. will be hand searched. To expedite this please bring only a small purse or fanny pack. DO NOT bring daypacks, backpacks, or luggage in to the museums. DO NOT bring sharp items into the museums, such as knives (including pocket), screwdrivers, corkscrews, scissors, nail files, etc. *Visit the National Museum of American History. We’ll meet up late afternoon to take a guided tour of the Museum of American History’s complete make-over and renovation! Browse through the new state-of-the-art gallery that offers a spectacular view of the Star Spangled Banner, and view the exhibits that top the list of must-sees for any visitor with a taste for true Americana. See the First Ladies’ inaugural gowns, quilts, cars, locomotives and much, much more. The Hope Diamond and dinosaur fossils and the world’s largest African bush elephant top the amazing natural treasures on display along with a live insect zoo. *The National Gallery of Art houses an outstanding collection of masterpieces that trace the development of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. The original West Building concentrates primarily on European works from the 13th century, while its contemporary counterpart, the East Building, highlights works of modern artists. Enjoy dinner served family style at Carmines in Penn Quarter. After dinner we’ll take a walk through The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Two months after President Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, Congress designated the National Cultural Center as a “living memorial” to Kennedy, and authorized $23 million to help build what was now known as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Afterwards we’ll take an Illuminated Monument Driving Tour. Washington’s grand buildings, memorials, and monuments sparkle and are impressive during the day; but in the evenings they are illuminated, soft focusing the solid stones and bronzes; fountains and water features shimmer in reflection; shadows darken highlighting the floodlit detail. Impressive during the day—stunning at night! Marriott Renaissance DuPont, Washington DC (B, D)
Day 5 – Local Touring, Washington DC
Enjoy Breakfast before our first stop… The National World War II Memorial. This memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S. during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort from home. Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people to the common defense of the nation and to the broader causes of peace and freedom from tyranny throughout the world. This privately funded memorial has drawn millions who have come to touch the over 50,000 names, make pencil rubbings and leave flowers, letters, flags and personal mementos. Next stop… The Lincoln Memorial, overlooking the Reflecting Pool it was patterned on a classic Greek temple. Inside, inscriptions from his Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address flank the 19-foot marble statue of our 16th President. Next… The Korean War Veterans Memorial. The triangular field contains nineteen ground troopers, clad in foul weather ponchos, fully equipped for battle. Representing those who supported the ground troops are hundreds of faces etched on a polished granite wall. Visit The National Gallery of Art houses an outstanding collection of masterpieces that trace the development of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. The original West Building concentrates primarily on European works from the 13th century, while its contemporary counterpart, the East Building, highlights works of modern artists. Visit the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia including a twenty-minute slide show, a question and answer session, a fashion show with participants modeling traditional Saudi clothes, and distribution of informative educational materials on the Kingdom. Visit the Mexican Cultural Center. It’s housed in an architecturally magnificent four-story Italianate mansion dating back to the turn of the century. The Institute serves as an artistic centerpiece for the community, hosting exhibits, events, music recitals and film screenings. Visit the Marine Corps War Memorial. One of the largest bronze statues ever cast depicts the American Flag being raised on Mount Suribachi during World War II and commemorates all Marines who have died in battle since 1775. Stop by the Air Force Memorial. The redesigned Memorial is both BOLD and graceful and truly representational of the Air Force. Central to the design are three stainless steel spires which soar skyward. Other key elements of the Memorial include a bronze Honor Guard, inscription walls, and an open glass Chamber of Contemplation, all landscaped to create a memorial park and parade ground overlooking the nation’s capital. Enjoy dinner at King Street Blues Stop at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Park. The memorial will honor the 184 victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks at The Pentagon. At the heart of the memorial 184 illuminated benches are arranged according to the victim’s ages, from 3 to 71. Marriott Renaissance DuPont, Washington DC (B, D)
Day 6 – Local Touring, Washington DC
After a scrumptious breakfast we’ll tour Tour Hillwood Museum and Gardens. The mansion is the former home of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and features one of the most comprehensive collections of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Russian Imperial art outside of Russia, as well as an extensive collection of eighteenth-century French decorative arts. Highlights include a diamond crown worn by Empress Alexandra at her marriage to Nicholas II, Beauvais tapestries designed by François Boucher, two Imperial Easter eggs by Carl Fabergé, La Nuit by William-Adolphe Bouguereau and a collection of costumes and accessories worn by Mrs. Post. The greenhouse and formal gardens are set among 25 acres of wooded hillsides located in the heart of Washington, D.C. After lunch we have a driving tour of the lovely homes in the area. After the Civil War, the powerful and socially elite built large mansions along Massachusetts Ave. After the Great Depression, many of the families who built these homes went broke. Today, the area is known as Embassy Row. Embassies, associations, foundations, and clubs have claimed and restored these lovely homes. Next a Washington National Cathedral Tour… in a city of impressive monuments, memorials, and historic sites, the National Cathedral is unique. Standing higher than the Washington Monument, it’s the sixth largest church in the world. This 14th-Century-style Gothic wonder is situated on 57 acres and took 83 years to build. Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson, the only President buried within Washington, DC, are interred here. It is a living symbol of our country’s heritage of faith and religious freedom. Next we’ll visit the National Portrait Gallery. Housed in the magnificent “Old Patent Office Building,” this museum features a unique collection of portraits of famous Americans from the worlds of politics, sports, literature and stage and screen. The Gallery aims to form a permanent collection of portraits of notable figures and includes the Hall of Presidents, which has several official portraits of United States Presidents. Tonight enjoy dinner at Osteria da Nino, owned and operated by Sicilian native Nino Pino. Marriott Renaissance DuPont, Washington DC (B, D)
Day 7 – Local Touring, Washington DC, Flights Depart
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel prior to checking out. Stop at the NEW Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. The long awaited memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey three fundamental and recurring themes of Dr. King’s life: justice, democracy and hope. The memorial is a quiet and receptive space, yet at the same time, powerful and emotionally evocative, reflecting the spirit of the message Dr. King delivered and the role he played in society. Next stop The Jefferson Memorial… the 19-foot statue of the third President stands beneath a rotunda inscribed with passages from the Declaration of Independence and Jefferson’s other famous writings. Looking from the memorial across the Tidal Basin provides an unforgettable view of the city. Next stop The Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial… this memorial to FDR combines sculpture, water and natural landscape to forge a dramatic setting for recounting the events and terms of office of the nation’s 32nd President. The FDR is unique among the memorials of Washington, DC. Its shade trees, waterfalls, statuary and quiet alcoves create the feeling of a secluded garden rather than an imposing structure. Enjoy a spectacular view of The Jefferson Memorial from the FDR Memorial, looking across the Tidal Basin. Next we’ll Board the Odyssey for a lunch cruise along the Potomac River before we make our way to the airport. (B, L)
“Custom Tours” were designed for groups of 24 or more… If you have a group that wants to book one of these trips… or wants us to design a tour for your groups specific needs… please don’t hesitate to call us. Our tours are designed with a “love of discovery”. Our creative itineraries can be custom-designed to your request including some “must see” attractions as well as “off-the-beaten-path” experiences.