FSB Travelers Take Fall Trip to Washington, D.C.
Twenty-three members and friends of FSB Travelers enjoyed a 6-day Spotlight on Washington, D.C., tour with Collette. This was the 19th tour the travel club has participated in with Collette. As always, the group stayed in a nice hotel, ate good food, had a knowledgeable and professional tour guide, a talented coach driver, and a full complement of activities.
After check-in was completed at the Madison Hotel, reservations were made at Claudia’s for dinner. Claudia’s was a nice introduction to the hospitality, good service, and good food we enjoyed during the entire tour.
The first full day in D.C. was as full of activities as it could be. After a photo op at the north entrance to the White House, the tour continued through the National Mall area stopping long enough for the group’s first visits to memorials. The tour manager, Michael Hollingsworth, gave the group a history of the construction of the Korean memorial. One of the most memorable aspects is the fact that no matter where you are as you walk the triangular-shaped memorial, one of the soldiers is looking at you. The look on the soldier’s faces shows the work and pain they endured. The reflecting wall is another important part of the memorial.
The group then walked to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the Wall). Mr. Hollingsworth reviewed the steps to follow when searching for a name on the wall. The names are in chronological order by date of loss. There are two statues that are also part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. One is the “Three Servicemen Memorial” which depicts soldiers and their gear while in the field. The second is the “Vietnam Women’s Memorial” which depicts three nurses as they are treating a wounded soldier.
The afternoon was spent at and near the Capitol. The travelers toured the Capitol Visitor’s Center and went on a guided tour of the Capitol. Everyone was able to view a replica of “Freedom” and enter the Rotunda area where there is a statue of Sam Houston and other important figures in America’s history. A few of the travelers from Texas also toured the area where there is a statue of Stephen F. Austin. Both Houston and Austin statues are by the famous sculptor Elizabet Ney.
The Capitol tour was followed by a visit to the Library of Congress. The group had the opportunity to view the reading room in the Library. Mr. Hollingsworth explained much of the history and the significance of the Library and the carvings inside it.
The second day began with a tour of the World War II Memorial. There was time to walk completely around the memorial viewing the pillars, the two arches, the fountains. The Memorial is located on the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
The White House Visitor Center was next. Several travelers chose to purchase the famous White House Christmas ornaments.
The next several hours were spent at the Smithsonian Museums. Many of the travelers spent time in the Air & Space Museum, the American History Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the National Gallery of Art. The art gallery is the current home of the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in the Americas. The painting is a portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci and is believed to have been painted in 1474. Just a few of the exhibits in the Museum of Natural History include a full-sized elephant, the Hall of Dinosaurs, the Hope Diamond, a butterfly house, and the Hall of Mammals. An outstanding exhibit in the American History Museum is the flag that inspired the writing of the National Anthem. The Spirit of St. Louis is a popular exhibit in the Air and Space Museum. No matter what museum(s) each person visited, the exhibits were enjoyed and admired.
Many travelers chose to participate in a night tour of a few of the memorials. They enjoyed visiting the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial as the night lights highlighted these special memorials.
Following a leisure breakfast on the third full day of touring, the group traveled through part of Maryland and on to Virginia to visit the Mt. Vernon Manion, the home of George Washington. There was time to walk the grounds viewing the barns, the flower and vegetable gardens, the tomb where both George and Martha Washington are buried, the grounds where families meet and play games, and, of course, the mansion itself. On the grounds are also a museum where several films run to depict the life of George Washington, our first President.
After lunch the group traveled to the Arlington National Cemetery. While here, everyone observed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a laying of a wreath. The travelers learned of the rigorous inspection prior to each shift change at the Tomb. They also learned more specifics of the training and serving of these special guards.
The tram which transports visitors at the cemetery makes several stops. One of these stops is at the gravesite of John F. Kennedy where they viewed the Eternal Flame.
The last full day of touring began at the Washington National Cathedral—the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint John. This Episcopal Church was built entirely with donated, private funds. Construction began in 1907. After 83 years, the last stone was placed in 1990. There are over 200 stained glass windows in the Cathedral including the Rose window and the Space window (which contains a piece of lunar rock). There are over 10,000 pipes in the Great Organ. The travelers visited several of the many chapels in the church.
After visiting the Ford’s Theater and Museum, everyone walked across the street to view the place where President Lincoln died in the Petersen House. There was one more museum that mapped the trip President Lincoln’s body made to Springfield, Illinois. This museum also houses a 34 foot tower depicting 7,000 of the some 15,000 books that have been written about President Lincoln.
FSB Travelers are known for always finding good food on tours. This tour was no exception. The travelers enjoyed quite a variety of cuisines including German, Colonial, Italian, American, and Armenian foods.
Those participating in this tour were: Mike & Carol Chappell, Tommy & Suzann Leadbetter, Don & Laqueta Posey, Ed & Karen Smith, Susan Tomte, Jerry & Mary White of Fairfield; Bob & Caroline Heiner, Donna Mitchell of Groesbeck; Jack & Gayle Beene, Don & deLou Corbitt of Mexia; Linda Dagle & Mary Jane Jones of Rusk; Sherrie Minze, Judy Wardle of Streetman.
FSB Travelers is a travel group associated with The Farmers State Bank in Groesbeck, Thornton, Wortham, Mexia, Fairfield, Kosse, and Jewett. The travel coordinator for this group is Jerri McBay.
The next two Collette tours Jerri McBay is offering are Southern Charm in March, 2018, which is a tour of Georgia and South Carolina, and Maritimes Coastal Wonders in late July and early August, 2018. This second tour will fly into and out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The tour will include touring the area including Prince Edward Island. Be sure to contact Jerri McBay at 903-388-2243 if you are interested in either of these tours.