The White House, Washington D.C.
"All things are difficult before they are easy. John Norley
The White House seems to glow, and it's the painted Virginia sandstone that gives it this white luster. This presidental home & office is, since September 11, almost impossible to visit. Because of security concerns, only special groups are allowed to tour. (Veteran's Groups and some School Groups)
Both times that I visited Washington, I was able to visit the White House & was told that it was the only official residence in the world that was open to the public for free. How sad that we can no longer visit it. When I was there, I thought of it as a Museum of Americana that reflected the early 1800s styles of when it was built.
Even though it was the first public building constructed in Washington, our first President never had the opportunity to live there. It was the third president, Thomas Jefferson, who has the distinction of being the first president to spend a full term in the still unfinished executive mansion! It was not until 1902, with the addition of the West Wing for offices, that the First Family of the Land gained some measure of privacy! Today, the White House has 132 rooms and 28 working fireplaces...just imagine.
Even when we could tour the White House, we were not allowed to see too much, only six rooms, really.
Of the six, my favorite was the Oval Blue Room which was dubbed the Blue Room by President Van Buren who started the tradition of blue upholstery about 1830. Today, it has Blue Satin draperies and off-white wallpaper as well as a classically-inspired frieze of blue and gold at the chair rail and the ceiling. Incidentally, this is where the White House Christmas Tree stands during the Christmas Season.
On the tour, I learned that the Rose Garden was designed by Jacqueline Kennedy as a present to her husband, President John Kennedy.
Fondest memory: Out of bounds to the public were the rooms of the second floor:
Yellow Oval Room, Treaty Room, Queen's Bedroom, Lincoln Bedroom, Family Bedrooms, President's Dining Room, Family's West Sitting Hall, Solarium, and the Utility, Billiard, and Storage Rooms.
The West Wing is also closed to the public and includes the President's Oval Office, Cabinet Room, Appointments Lobby, and
Roosevelt Room for Staff Conferences.
However, I did see:
1. The enormous gold and white East Room (largest of all rooms on the first floor).
2. The Green Room, which is basically a parlor.
3. The Red Room which was originally "The President's Antichamber".
4. The State Dining Room for official luncheons and dinners.
5. Cross Hall with its portraits of recent presidents.
6. North Hall and North Portico.
I was somewhat disappointed with all the restrictions, but I understood. Now, I'm so glad that I saw at least that much.
The White House, from the visitor's point of view should be renamed to the Far House or the Small House. In fact, this neoclassical building isn't that small. However the only place to discern it is located in front but so far from the white building that the edifice is barely visible on the horizon. Luckily my camera was equipped with 7x optical zoom. Otherwise you would see small white stain on a large green background in my pictures (check my next picture to see what I mean). To be honest I've found myself, taking these pictures through the fence under watchful eye of a policewoman, among crowds of similar to me visitors, a bit radiculous.
Thus maybe I should put the White House into my tourist trap tips but certainly it wouldn't be politically correct even if I know well that the first resident of the White House changes every 4 or 8 years (on very special occasion in other time).
The White House has been both an office and home to presidents of the United States of America since 1800. It is a must see tourist trap unless you manage to take a self-guided White House tour. Surely I wanted to take that tour a lot despite a ban on bringing cameras, video recorders or any type of recording device. But it's an option exclusively for travelers who can fix the exact date of the tour months in advance and are ready to face up to quite complicated security procedures. Details here
More details and pictures in my Things To Do tips # 62 - 63.
a stroll along its avenues and streets
Fondest memory: We, a group of Russian and Ukrainian educators, were privileged to be invited for a guided tour of the White House during our stay in the American capital.
We saw about 20 studies and rooms that are open to the public.
I was really impressed how touchingly people take care of the historic interior of the White House.
Say hello to Mr BUSH during your visit of the White House.
Fondest memory: Near 10 rooms on 135 can be visited and they are not the most interesting ones ... but it is the White House, a mythical place.
During the tour, you can see the portrait of Washington saved by Ms Adams, the president's wife, when the English soldiers set the fire to the WH during the 1812 War. The Photographs and video are not allowed.
TO KNOW HOW TO VISIT DURING THE PICK SEASON (SUMMER) : SEE THE TRAVELOGUE.
The lighting of the National Christmas Tree is the beginning of a three week Washington, DC Christmas tradition. Nationally known entertainers and a military band perform. The National Park Service distributes free tickets on a first-come first served basis, beginning at 8:00 a.m. at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion near the corner of 15th and E Streets, NW, just southeast of the White House grounds. A maximum of four tickets are issued per person. Tickets are required for every attendee, including children.
After the Lighting, you don't need tickets. The National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace is illuminated each evening from dusk until 11 p.m. through January 1st. Musical performances by volunteer choirs and dancers, are held nightly on the Ellipse stage. Weeknight performances are from 6-8:30 p.m. Weekend performances -from 4-8:30 p.m.
Fondest memory: In 2003, we went to visit the National Christmas Tree layout in front of the White House. There were trees from each of the various states, so I (DEB) took pictures of the trees which we had some family connection to. The trees look similar because tree decorations are encased in a protective plastic globe to shield them from the weather.
The best way to get to the area is by metro. The closest stops are Metro Center, Federal Triangle, and McPherson Square.
Favorite thing: We were tourists deluxe on our second day of wandering the city. More tourists had come out, as well as the sun, so we blended in a little bit better. We were walking with the map between us just certain that the White House should be coming up when an armed guard popped out of no where and asked us to please continue our walk on the other side of the street. FOUND IT. We were directed by guards to continue walking, do not stop, until we reached the officer wayyyyyy over there (point to a dot in the distance). So we did. (trust me, you don't argue with these guys, they weren't kidding) When we got to the officers car and turned around we had a great view of the White House in the distance... Complete with Armed guards on the roof.. It was a very scary and heartbreaking sight from my point of view. The last time I was in D.C. was when Nixon was in office.. I distinctly remember that there were not armed guards in camoflauge on the rooftops back then.. (but then again... :-) I think at that moment I realized the grave danger this country faces .. I can't say that it was a good feeling.
THE WHITE HOUSE
I miss seeing him jog around the block.
US residents - limited number of free tickets are available from your congressmen - contact your senator or representative as soon as you've determined when you'll be in town!
otherwise, tours are from 10am-12noon available from the White house Visitor Center, 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ticket counter is open from 7:30am to 11:45am or until the day's supply of tickets is gone (which can be by 8:30am - get in line early if you really want to see the white house tour!)
but you only see a very few rooms.
Fondest memory: La casa blanca pero solo se pueden ver muy pocas habitaciones, despues de aguardar una gran cola, pero merece la pena!
para esos e va, jejejeje, para decir yo estube alli, hahahahhaha
Favorite thing: You have to visit the White House... I'm not sure about tours, but you can at least take a peak at the outside from Pennsylvania Avenue. If you visit, see if you can point out the snipers on the roof. :)
Fondest memory: She was called 'The Crazy Lady' by my friend, who says that she is perpetually seated across from the White House protesting the government. According to the sign, this 'vigil' has been going on since 1981. Wow!
Almost all tourists will say, 'see the White House.' And my response, yeah, yeah, go, 'cause you have to. I personally hate the architecture, and find the whole home behind bars thing a little disconcerting. But I love the institution of the presidency, just not the house that comes with it. In fact, the Old Executive Office building next to the White House is much neater looking, AND architectually more stimulating!
Fondest memory: I took this picture the morning my co-worker and friend ran with the Olympic torch. She was the very happy individual who got to pass the torch to the PRESIDENT! (George W. for all you fans.) She was thrilled and we were thrilled for her. It was a beautiful morning in the District. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Can you name any other residences of the world leaders? I can think of No. 10 Downing Street, but that’s it.
Other countries have palaces or bunkers where their leaders live, but for America and Britain most people even know the house number and the street of their elected leaders! I think that says a lot about the kind of countries they are.
Fondest memory: 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE NW. Put that on an envelope and you won’t need a zip code, because everyone knows that’s where the US President lives. And the First Lady. And their ugly children. And their beloved pets. And a couple interns!
But the door is always open if you want to come on over. Well, from 10am-noon, and only if you manage to score a ticket for the free tour, which are available from 7.30am at the White House Visitor Centre on 1450 Penn. During the summer you’d better hustle because on a busy day the tickets are snapped up in an hour! The rest of the year you should be able to join the crowds waiting around the Ellipse on the south side of the house.
Personally, I didn’t get much out of the tour. After standing around for ages and the security check, you get pushed around quickly through a series of roped-off rooms. It’s over in a blink of an eye.
You’ll probably be happier just looking at the exhibits in the Visitor Center, where you can dawdle over the photos and films showing interesting events at the White House over the years. For instance, there’s footage of the Wright Brothers demonstrating their new airplane on the White House lawn!
THE WHITE HOUSE.
For two hundred years, the White House has stood as a symbol of the Presidency, the United States government, and the American people. Its history, and the history of the nation’s capital, began when President George Washington signed an Act of Congress in December of 1790 declaring that the federal government would reside in a district "not exceeding ten miles square…on the river Potomac." President Washington, together with city planner Pierre L’Enfant, chose the site for the new residence, which is now 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As preparations began for the new federal city, a competition was held to find a builder of the "President’s House." Nine proposals were submitted, and Irish-born architect James Hoban won a gold medal for his practical and handsome design.
Construction began when the first cornerstone was laid in October of 1792. Although President Washington oversaw the construction of the house, he never lived in it. It was not until 1800, when the White House was nearly completed, that its first residents, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved in. Since that time, each President has made his own changes and additions. The White House is, after all, the President’s private home. It is also the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, free of charge
The White House,just can be visited by groups and with an appoinment,so if you're interesed in a visit inside,ask in the visitors,and information center located next to Washington Monument.
I know that sometimes it is hard to do, but try and get to go inside of the 'White House' It is smaller than you think it is, but you can feel the history oozing out of the place. Plus being a huge West Wing fan, I can say. 'I've been there!'
Fondest memory: I spent 3 days in Washington D.C.. And I will say that they are still the best 3 days of my life... I did and saw everything I could while there. And even wanted to stay and live... It was one of those places that you find yourself looking out the back window of the car as you drive away, until you cant see it anymore... I did, and still do, love the place!