Even though I'm local, I hadn't yet had an opportunity to visit the White House or the grounds. I am like so many tourists that gaze from afar, through the fences and security gates, hoping for a glimpse of something. We managed to get parking and walked over to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and joined the long yet organized line, waving our tickets through various checkpoints.
As we made our way up the drive, we were serenaded by a military band. There were several displays explaining all the different trees that have been planted on the lawn, many representing different presidencies.
When we reached the base of the portico, I could only look up.
The mansion is connected by a long, windowed corridor to the Oval Office. The famous Rose Garden runs along the corridor and must offer our President a wonderful view on his way to work most of the year. Roses weren't in bloom yet, showy spring bulbs were the stars of the gardens.
My perception of the Oval Office is that it appeared much smaller than I expected. I loved that the Obamas placed the children's swing set so that our President could watch his children play from his office.
As we continued down the path, you get such a different perspective of the immediate property surrounding the White House. There are many old and cherished trees.
We continued along the path and came upon the newest White House feature - the Vegetable Garden. Tucked into a small copse of trees are bee skeps (hives). Given it was such a warm and sunny day, there was quite a hum of activity.
We circled back, asking the very helpful guides questions and taking more pictures. I really didn't want to leave. Huge kudos to the National Park Service, who maintain the property, trees and gardens, Security teams and the tour volunteers. There's a lot of legacy and history here, with many trees planted, in honor of the first families who have cherished living in the White House.
You never know when a wonderful and rare opportunity to tour a garden will happen, but if it does, say YES! My next dream tour is of the interior of the White House. Can't wait.
p.s. This is the First Family's view from the portico.
all photographs by Thea McGinnis