Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Leigh and I decided to spend this Memorial day walking around Theodore Roosevelt Island. The island is a small piece of land located in the Potomac river close to Georgetown. Initially inhabited by Indians, it was later also used for some time to house slaves. Eventually the land ended up in the hands of George Mason, whose son used it to build a mansion and a summer retreat in the early 19th century.

Following some devastating floods in the 1830's a causeway was built to open up Georgetown harbor, and the resultant stagnant water that surrounded the island caused the Mason's to basically abandon the property. It fell into disarray, and in the early 1900's a fire destroyed the mansion. It sat vacant, and the once well-kept ground became over run by wildlife.

Finally, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association purchased the land in the 1930's, with the intention of erecting a memorial. It was approved by congress as a national memorial, but sat vacant for 30 years waiting for funds. Finally in the 1960's, the memorial was built, and the land designated a national memorial.

In reality, it's just a nice island with walking trails. It's located right off the George Washington Memorial parkway and is accessed by a short walking bridge. The main trail around the perimeter of the island only takes about 20-30 minutes to walk around, and then there are a few more interior trails, offering much of the same views. It is interesting in that as you're walking through the paths you can often hear the hum of traffic on the parkway, or hear the planes passing overhead as they approach National Airport.

We spent about an hour and half walking all the trails, and enjoying the scenery. Due to the geology of being right by the river, there were some interesting rocks that we found.

I sure wish I had grandpa's rock polisher.

Leigh also used her eagle eye to spot a weird looking toad:

And an equally odd colored lizard

Other sights included:

A large marsh on the lower end of the island.

The view of Georgetown from the island.

And finally, the monument. There were some other parts that had quotes by Teddy but we didn't take pictures of them.

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