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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thing 108: The White House Gardens and Grounds

The White House!

The thing I love about this blog, other than having done 108 new and unique-to-DC things, is the people I have met and the free stuff I’ve gotten. DC Sarah, who found me way back when, is now a staple in my life. And I’m such a big deal I got this book for free. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to come out of the shadows and enrich my life with your company, or free stuff.

And so it came to pass that a loyal reader contacted me out of the blue and invited me and five Under the President's balconyfriends to the White House.

Yes, please.

Three times a year, this reader told me, they open the White House grounds to the public. Anyone can go, tickets are free and first come first serve. But through her work, she is able to bring up to six guests, no waiting in line, no tickets needed.

And so we found ourselves last Sunday, on the very same lawn that the Pope just visited. We got right up against the East Wing, under the balcony of the President’s bedroom. We gazed out, across the South Lawn, across the ellipse to the Washington and Jefferson memorials (Mason, sorry, you aren’t tall enough to compete).

The view across the South Lawn at the White HouseWe circled the South Lawn and listened to the Navy band play. We spied the presidential The White House Tennis Court: White-soled shoes only!swimming pool through the bushes, passed the tennis court and the putting green. We walked on the runners track that Clinton had installed around the lawn. And just when we thought the presidency was just about a sweet home and abundand leisure activities, we were able to see the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office from the outside.

Of course, Sam and I were able to recognize the layout of the West Wing from our tour in December. We are getting to be experts.

The Cabinet Room

The Oval Office
We waited in line to see the Children’s Garden, which Mrs. Johnson had installed – a quiet, The building of an empire: Jebby Bushreflective area with a fish pool and the hand prints of all the presidential grandchildren. Seeing all those Bush grandkids (Barbara and Jenna are in there, as the grandkids of Bush the elder) it really starts to dawn on you – they’re not growing a dynasty, they’re creating an empire!

Truly, it was an honor and a privilege to see the White House from so close, and walk the garden paths that such powerful and important people have walked before us. I want to thank our patron, who suggested it and allowed us to cut the queue, and I want to encourage all of you to give me suggestions of other places to try out…and if you can throw in some free passes, all the better!

But where the heck is the White House? Let me see that map.


sugarlens said...

Your blog is great. I live in Northern VA and my plan for this summer is to explore more of DC (even though I've lived in this area for 20 years now). I am sure to come back for more ideas!