|"This is one trip I'll never forget
|By: Meghan Johnson, special for The Ogden Reporter
||April 25, 2012
|The U.S. Capitol at night
| The Ogden High School seniors and chaperones returned Saturday from the annual senior trip to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City.
Senior Meghan Johnson, on special assignment for The Ogden Reporter, recalls her experience.
Bright and early, the senior class has set off on the annual senior trip east. All loaded up, on the brand new buses might I add, we were headed off to our first historic stop of the trip, West Branch, Iowa.
In West Branch, we visited the Hoover Presidential Museum, birthplace, and grave. This was a great first stop in my opinion. We got to walk around and stretch our legs a bit while learning all about president Hoover. We went through many buildings from Hoover's time that have been restored, which was really neat being able to get a little taste of how he lived. Also, we visited the gravesite of Hoover and his wife. The Hoovers are buried on top of a hill overlooking a beautiful prairie and the museum, which gave us our first, what we thought, "long walk."
We left West Branch and with only a few more stops that night, we were ready for our over night ride farther east.
5:15 a.m. was wake up call on this foggy Sunday morning. Dragging out of the bus, some still half asleep, we all went to get ready for the day. Luckily, even though we woke up an hour earlier then years passed so it seems, we got to use the facilities in a truck stop, which frankly made things easier for everyone.
Once we got back on the buses and drove for only a while longer, we arrived at the Dobbin House Restaurant, welcomed by a great breakfast and even got to listen to the one and only, Abraham Lincoln. Even though everyone was very tired, Lincoln delivered a great speech. Well, his impersonator. We learned a lot from the 16th president's point of view, I especially enjoyed how he helped connect Iowa into his talk.
Next, we set out on the walking tour. In our tours, we had two groups of about 15, each led by a different guide. We got to visit and see the town part of Gettysburg. We saw different houses and buildings that were actually a part of the Civil War. One particular part of this tour I enjoyed was seeing the bullet holes that were still in the walls of some of the buildings that were still in place from the Civil War.
Next, we went to the Gettysburg visitors center, which had so many interesting things to walk around and look at and also watch a short movie. We soon found out how sleep deprived we really were.
For lunch, we split in two groups, one going to Tommy's Pizza for lunch, and the other went to the Shriver house. The story of the Shriver family is only one of the tragic stories of the Gettysburg battle, which broke right through their home.
Our last tour in Gettysburg was of the battlefield. By bus and by feet, we toured through the Devil's Den, viewed many cannons, and even viewed the battlefield from different heights, from a castle-like building, spiral staircase and all, and a viewing tower, which definitely gave us a work out with the many flights of stairs.
Lastly, it was time to finish our journey to D.C. A lot of people slept for our last two-hour leg of the trip until we got to the nation's capitol. When we arrived, our tour guides pointed out the many monuments, museums, and of course, the White House! We arrived at the hotel and got settled in, just in time for dinner. Our last sight to see of the night was Capitol Hill. With the Capitol building and city all lit up, it was a great way to end our night and begin the rest of our week!
Our first day for tours in D.C., with an early morning, we were off to the Capitol, which was also our first taste of the security. After meeting with Steve Livengood, who is part of the Capitol Historical Society, we set off to the Capitol Visitors Center. We had an awesome tour of the building and when we were done, it was time for lunch in the Capitol.
After everyone had finished lunch and bought their souvenirs, we went to the Supreme Court Building. This was really cool, because we got to actually sit in the Supreme Court. The room was so beautifully made with imports from all around the world. We learned about the room and what all happens in the Supreme Court.
Next, it was time to go to the Smithsonian Museums. We had a choice between, Air and Space museum, Gallery of Art, Natural History Museum, and American History Museum and my choice, the Library of Congress. Only six of us chose to go to the Library of Congress, but it was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. It was a great experience and I definitely recommend it for everyone. We spent the rest of the afternoon at these places and left for the hotel just in time to get ready for our dinner cruise.
For dinner, we got to ride on the Spirit Cruise and even got to have a little dance. This was a lot of fun to get to just hang out with our classmates. We definitely danced the night away and by the time the boat ride was over we were ready for bed.
This was one of our earliest mornings with breakfast starting at 6 a.m. but it was all for good measure. We got to go to the White House! After extensive security, we got to tour the White House. Getting to walk where our presidents have walked was really amazing in my opinion.
Next, it was time to meet our tour guides of D.C. The tour guides knew everything there was to know about D.C. and having them along for the rest of the week was great. Tuesday was a very busy day: we went to most of the memorials in D.C., which was also one of my favorite parts. It was a very humbling experience to visit all the memorials. Also, while we were visiting the memorials, we got to see the shuttle fly over the Washington Monument. This was a once in a lifetime experience and we are so lucky that we were in the right place at the right time.
Also on this day, we got to visit the National Archives. In other words, we got to see the actual Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Seeing the documents that started our country was really amazing. It was also nice knowing what they said, thanks to Ms. Bohr, our government teacher. Getting to read and actually understand what it says was fun.
For lunch, we went to the Old Post Office Pavilion, which had a lot of little shops to buy souvenirs from and some pretty good food too. This was a great time to rest up and have a much-needed break.
We visited only one museum this day, which was the Holocaust Museum. This was also such a humbling experience. The museum was completely full with information, pictures, stories, and even thousands of shoes from those who were put into camps during the Holocaust. There was so much to see, in such little time.
Only having an hour and a half at the museum, we had another tour at the Washington Cathedral that we had set up. Along with many other places in D.C., including the Washington Monument, an earthquake damaged the Cathedral and it was and will be under construction for quite awhile. Other than the construction, this was a beautiful stop with great information to learn.
The last stop for the day, after dinner of course, we went to Ford's Theater and saw the musical, "1776." This was an interesting and new way to learn about the start of our country and I might add, quite funny.
This was the walking day! First, we went to Arlington National Cemetery. It's hard to decide, but this was one of my favorite parts of our trip. I was in awe of all the people who gave their lives for our country's freedom - for my freedom, it was amazing. We also saw the Changing of the Guards and as a class laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Next on the schedule was our trip to Mount Vernon. Now, it had started to rain, so we were all glad we had the bus ride to get away from the short shower. We spent the rest of the afternoon touring Mount Vernon, which is where George Washington is buried. Also at Mount Vernon was the mansion that Washington had lived for much of his life. We learned a lot and also got to go off on our own for a while which was nice.
Before going back to the hotel, we got to experience the 'real city life' and we went on the subway, and wow did that thing go fast! Our subway trip brought us to meet up with our bus for a few more sights to see, our night tour of the monuments, including the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial.
Another early morning! We packed up, left our hotel in D.C. for the last time, and headed off to breakfast at Hard Rock Café by 6:30. Then, we had another bus ride off to Philadelphia, PA.
In Philadelphia, we toured the National Constitution Center, and even got to tour the city on horse drawn carriage rides.
Another bus ride brought us into New York City. We checked into our hotel, which had a great view of the city, and ordered pizza for supper. We then had a few hours to freshen up for the Broadway production of "Wicked". All dressed up we walked through the city to the production. I loved Wicked so much! It was a great production! After the show, we got to walk through the busy Times Square and wow, it was busy and bright that's for sure! Our walk brought us to Planet Hollywood where we stopped for appetizers and dessert, which were very delicious! Sadly, we had to head back to the hotel and pack up for the last time.
Our last day in NYC! We got to experience the city with the help of amazing tour guides once again. They knew so much about the city! We took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, toured the city, visited the 9/11 Memorial, and Top of the Rock. Visiting the 9/11 Memorial was a very cool experience for everyone, but for me personally, because I had visited the summer after the towers had fallen. It was amazing seeing how far the city has come.
Sadly, we packed up the buses for the last time and headed home. Driving through the night we made it back home Saturday evening. It was a great trip, but we were all excited to be home! I'm so glad I got to experience this senior trip and I'm so thankful that we have a town that is so accepting and helping towards our senior class. Now that it's over, we only have a few short weeks until the end of our high school career. Thank you to my senior class for a great trip and a great senior year!
©The Ogden Reporter 2013