Top 10 Around Washington DC

     Washington DC has such a wealth of attractions that it seems necessary to add this posting to include the many sights and attractions just outside the city. Otherwise some of these places would displace the ones in my earlier posting. All the sights listed are located in nearby towns in the state of Virginia.
       1. Mount Vernon – George Washington’s plantation home is now a dedicated to the accomplishments and life of America’s first president. It lies on the Potomac River, just a short scenic drive from the US Capital. Visitors are allowed to tour a number of rooms in the house and to wander the grounds, exploring several other buildings on the premises.
       2. Arlington Memorial Cemetery – This largest and most prestigious of the National Cemeteries is located across the Francis Scott Key Bridge from the Lincoln Memorial, in nearby Arlington. The grounds were part of the estate of General Robert E Lee’s wife’s family, and Arlington House, where General Lee and his family once lived, is still standing and can be visited. Among the highlights of a visit to Arlington Memorial is to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a ceremony which takes place each hour. Another popular stop for tourists is the gravesite of President John F Kennedy, marked by a perpetual flame.
       3. Old Town Alexandria, VA – This eastern section of the city dates to 1749 and has preserved many homes and buildings from this time. Visitors enjoy walking the brick sidewalks and admiring the well-kept structures. Market Square is the oldest, continuously-operating marketplace in the United States and was once the site of a large slave market. Numerous shops and restaurants service the many tourists.
       4. Stephen F Udvar-Hazy Center (part of Smithsonian Museum) – This annex of the National Air and Space Museum is located on the grounds of the Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, VA, about 30 miles from Washington, DC. The displays here are primarily specimens which are too large to fit in the original museum building. Highlights include the Enola Gay, a B-29 Bomber which delivered and dropped the first Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, the Space Shuttle, Enterprise, and an Air France Concorde.
       5. Iwo Jima Memorial – More appropriately known as the US Marine Corps War Memorial, this iconic bronze statue is based on a famous photograph taken on the island of Iwo Jima, when American forces were attempting to eradicate entrenched Japanese soldiers from the island. The photo, when published, precipitated an upwelling of support for the war effort at a time when people were growing tired of the seemingly endless war in the Pacific.
       6. Theodore Roosevelt Memorial – Located on an an island in the Potomac River, this memorial features a standing President Theodore Roosevelt, famous as the pioneer of America’s National Park System. There are also several monoliths which contain some of the colorful president’s more famous quotes. 
       7. The Pentagon – The world’s largest office building is the administrative home of America’s Armed Forces and its Department of Defense. The building has over 17 miles of corridors, yet it takes a maximum of seven minutes to walk from any point to any other point because of its unique pentagon-shaped design.
       8. George Washington Masonic National Memorial – This building, patterned after the Lighthouse at Alexandria, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, is dedicated to America’s first president, who was also a mason. The monument appears to preside over the city, because of its height and its location on a prominent hill.
       9. Great Falls Park – These Potomac River falls drop a total of 76 feet over several cascades. The are located on the site of Patowmack Canal, the United States’ first canal that used locks to raise and lower boats. Within the park are many walking trails and other recreational opportunities.
       10. Manassas National Battlefield Park – This is the site of two of the most famous battles from the Civil War, the First and Second Battles of Bull Run. Both took place early in the war, in 1861 and 1862 respectively. It was here that Confederate General Thomas J Jackson received his nickname, "Stonewall."
        Other sights considered:
             Gunston Hall Plantation
             Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
             Christ Church, Alexandria


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