Fall is my favorite time of year, but so often in DC we skip from the hot, humid temperatures of the summer straight to the bitter chill of winter. But, not this year. This weekend we are having absolutely pristine and perfect weather. There is a slight chill in the air, but the sun is shining and the trees are beginning their transformation from deep green to the glorious hues of autumn. It is weather that must be experienced outdoors and today it beckoned and we answered.
First stop: Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial. The island, a nature and wildlife preserve, is situated in the middle of the Potomac between Washington, DC, and Virginia. The center of the island is dominated by a concrete memorial to the former President, showcasing some of his more memorial quotations and crowed by an enormous statue of the man himself. The surrounding island is crisscrossed with trails for running and walking and drinking in the beauty of this little oasis. During our visit today we encountered any number of plant species and various animals as well including, herons, ducks, turtles, and deer. There is plenty of space for even the most exuberant of visitors to run, jump, look for dragons and dinosaurs, hide from trolls, test their sword-fighting skills, and generally enjoy the beauty that surrounds them.
Next stop: the United States Marine Corps War Memorial and the adjacent Netherlands Carillon. The boys have seen this impressive depiction of six soldiers raising a flag on Iwo Jima many times from the car as we crossed the Roosevelt Bridge, but this was their first time doing more than just passing by. We took a moment to talk about the event represented by the statue and the importance contribution our military make to our country.
Afterwards, we walked the few hundred yards to the nearby Netherlands Carillon bell tower. In the spring the garden in front of the tower is teeming with tulips, but today it was full of beautiful, but unusual, fall appropriate flora. Unfortunately we arrived in between hours so we didn't get to hear the bells play the armed forces anthems (in the order each branch was commissioned), but I have been there when they do, and it is worth sticking around to take a listen if you can convince your companions to ignore their hunger pains and be patient...we couldn't.
Last stop: Girard Park. This park is near where the boys go to school and Caleb has been pleading for us to take them there. It isn't close to our house and there are about 20 other parks that are nearer and more conveniently located, but he was so insistent, we acquiesced. It is not in the best neighborhood, but then, neither is their school, but the park is well-maintained and was a perfect place to eat our lunch al fresco and burn off any lingering energy before afternoon naps. And, in fact, all four of us slept quite soundly after such a beautifully eventful day.