Visit Washington, DC, on a Kick Scooter
[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 4/14/2011 - www.Littleviews.com ]
>> According to several websites, we had a three day window of time to see Washington, DC's cherry blossoms in full bloom, which we planned on doing while riding kick scooters. Luckily, we chose the second day (Monday, April 4th) and avoided missing one of the most fleeting flower shows in the United States.
Once at Washington's Union Station, we had only four hours to enjoy the cherry blossoms before dusk and hoped to continue sightseeing the following day. Unfortunately, the next day was marred by extremely strong winds, heavy rains, and plummeting temperatures that destroyed many of the remaining blossoms. Thankfully, we used our four hours wisely.
From Union Station, we headed toward the US Capital Building with the intent of circling it. As you can see from the picture below, by mid-afternoon, when most escorted school trips were finished, we had the back of the US Capital Building grounds to ourselves! As youths, never did we dream that we'd return to the capital and its surrounds on kick scooters . . .
The distance around the US Capital Building is about a mile, which, on foot, might cause some people to skip seeing its back. The back, however, is just as spectacular as its front and well worth a visit. Best, during an extremely hot, muggy, Washington afternoon, that area is slightly cooler than the front because the capital casts its shadow on the surrounding ground.
The front of the capital is, of course, spectacular, especially on sunny days when it shines against a solid blue sky backdrop.
On sunny afternoons, a big problem with standing in front of the US Capital Building is that when you look away from it over the National Mall, you stare directly into the sun. Typical tourist pictures taken from this location with the capital as a backdrop usually features squinting people.
After we finished appreciating the US Capital Building, we headed to the Smithsonian Institute's "The Castle."
Continuing through the arch and around the corner of The Castle is an entrance to its stunning park, which is loaded with flowering trees during early April. This park also provides the prettiest gateway to the Tidal Basin.
The park features nice, wide, scooter-friendly sidewalks, although during peak tourist periods, those sidewalks are filled with people. Still, if you plan your visit for early in the morning, or late afternoon, you almost always find sufficient room for yourself. In previous visits, my primary park activity was sketching. Today, the park's most popular activity is taking pictures.
The area between The Castle and the northeastern side of the East Potomac Park in the Tidal Basin is approximately one mile. Unlike the landscape in the National Mall, which is relatively flat, this hilly area is more challenging, especially with a strong tail- or head-wind present. At least half of the route goes up hill via the high Tidal Basin Bridge.
As mentioned before, between the mainland and the Tidal Basin island is the Tidal Basin Bridge. Among many vistas, it overlooks boat harbors and the city's highly popular fresh sea food shops and restaurants. From what I could see, some of the more interesting places to stop for a snack, dinner, or dinner fixings are Jessie's Cooked Seafood, Captain White's Chesapeake Bay's Finest Fresh Fish (shrimp, lobster, fresh and frozen crabs), and Pruitt Seafood.
After leaving the bridge, we returned via the same route. The photo below shows me re-entering the Smithsonian Institute's park from the back at around 6:30 PM. Notice that by early dusk, this park was largely vacant. We had its sidewalks and lovely scenery to ourselves.
No trip to Washington, DC, is complete without a personal trophy picture, which, in this case, is my husband, Phil, standing with his kick scooter and the US Capital Building behind him.
We continued our journey passed the National Gallery of Art, where we took pictures of ourselves in its reflective, glass "mini-Louvre" pyramids.
Then we continued to Louisiana Avenue and D Street where we saw The Memorial to Japanese-American Patriotism in World War II and rang its low-pitched, meditative gong. This particular monument is our nation's apology to over 120,000 American citizens of Japanese descent who had their property confiscated and were put into ten internment camps during the war.
In summary, we could have never covered so much territory and enjoyed it so much had we not ridden our kick scooters, which is something you and your family should consider doing, too.
Questions? Ask Karen at Karen@littleviews.com
Article and photos by Karen Little. First published on 4/14/2011. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.