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The beautiful Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom and the timing coincided perfectly with the Cherry Blossom 10 miler/5K. After four years of attempting to get into the run through their lottery system, I finally got the opportunity to run the 5K yesterday. It was sunny, about 65 degrees and zero humidity ~ ideal conditions for a run through the best parts of the city. Throughout the run, I reflected how lucky I am to live so close to this beautiful and vibrant city.

Cherry Blossom 5K
Running the Cherry Blossom 5K

Wedding with the cherry blossoms
Great spot for wedding photos

Washington monument the crowds and cherry blossoms
Lots & lots of visitorsJefferson Monument blue skies

Jefferson MemorialCHerry Blossoms with the Washington Monument
Cherry Blossoms covering the view to the Washington MonumentJefferson Monument and cherry blossoms

Jefferson Monument Cherry Blossoms
Can’t get enough of the Jefferson Memorial ~ so beautiful

Memorial Bridge
Scarlet Tulips along the Memorial Bridge

Tulips
…more vibrant tulips and the Kennedy Center across the Potomac River

Washington Monument
Washington Monument and the Cherry Blossoms

Washington Monument
Washington Monument

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The Money Factory is the official website name for theĀ The Bureau of Engraving and Printing. And what a money factory it is.

It’s only open for tours during the weekdays which makes scheduling a visit a little harder for the working folks but for tourists, it’s another interesting and free place to explore during their stay in Washington DC. Especially on a cold & windy winter’s day.

Engraving and Printing Bureau

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing was established by President Lincoln in 1862. The original office was located in a single room in the basement of the Treasury Building. There were six employees who printed and sealed $1 & $2 notes. Today, there are over 2,500 employees working out of two sites in Washington DC and a building in Fort Worth Texas. Together, they print over a billion dollars a day. I found that an amazing amount and re-checked with the tour guide. Yes, a billion!

In the past, the Bureau has also printed currency for the following governments: Cuba (1934), the Philippines (1928), Siam (Thailand – 1945) and Korea (1947). Each government paid for all the work connected with printing their money.

The Secretary of the Treasury is responsible for all designs on paper currency including the portraits. In 1929, the size of the notes were reduced and are all the same size. This is a common complaint I’ve heard from my non-American friends. They find the same size notes to be confusing. And I won’t even get started on how they feel about our coins.

The $100 note is the highest denomination still in circulation. The portraits of well-known statesmen on the currency are as follows:
$1 = George Washington
$2 = Thomas Jefferson
$5 = Abraham Lincoln
$10 = Alexander Hamilton
$20 = Andrew Jackson
$50 = Ulysses Grant
$100 = Benjamin Franklin

The 40-minute tour begins with a short film and then takes you through the steps of the printing production. It was a lot more complicated process then I had previously thought. It’s the off-season and not a highly advertised tourist destination so I was expecting the tour to be sparsely attended but it was full. Be sure to get a ticket in advance during the summer months.

For security reasons, photography is not allowed on the tour but you can snap a few shots in the waiting area and at the gift shop (which sells uncut sheets of notes). Here are my photos:

Printing & Engraving One Million Dollars
“One MILLION dollars” (said in my best Doctor Evil voice)

Printing and Engraving display
Uncut monetary notes for sale

Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial is within easy walking distance of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. I would recommend a visit there before or after the Bureau tour. Also, next door to the Bureau is the Holocaust Museum.

Click here for ticket/tour times.

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When you fly into National Airport (Reagan) and you’re sitting in a window seat, be sure to have your camera ready. Here are a few photos from my most recent flight (December 2014):

Lincoln MemorialView from the sky
Lincoln Memorial

Georgetown
Georgetown University Campus

Georgetown University
Georgetown University Campus and a little of the surrounding area

Georgetown II
Georgetown, Washington DC

Watergate Complex
Watergate Complex

Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial

Washington Monument
Washington Monument

Couple of photos with the wing of the plane.

Washington Monument
Washington Monument

Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial

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Jefferson Monument from the top of the Washington Monument

A view of The Thomas Jefferson Memorial from the top of the Washington Monument in Washington DC.

The memorial is in the style of the Pantheon of Rome (neoclassical architecture). It’s located at the Tidal Basin and a walk to the monument is a must when the Cherry Blossoms are blooming (usually in early April). The construction of the memorial was approved by an Act of Congress in 1934 but the site and the style caused controversy which delayed the building for several years. Several of the Japanese flowering cherry trees were removed which caused considerable criticism from the public. Additional criticism came from The Commission of Fine Arts who deemed the pantheon design a direct competition to the Lincoln Memorial. President Roosevelt gave the final permission on the pantheon style and he laid the cornerstone of the Memorial on November 15, 1939.

As the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson was also a statesman, architect, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, adviser of the Constitution and founder of the University of Virginia. Speaking of UVA, it’s on the list of college visits with my daughter this fall ~ along with what seems like every high school student in Virginia.

The bronze, 19 ft tall statue of Jefferson looks toward the White House. My personal favorite part of the memorial are the five Jefferson quotations on the interior of the building illustrating the principles to which he dedicated his life.

If you visit The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, it is located on the south bank of the Tidal Basin. It’s open daily from 8:00 am until 11:45 pm every day except Christmas Day. No fees for visiting and the closest metro stop is Smithsonian.

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