It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of travel. New sights, new cuisines, new attractions all attacking your senses until you are in a blissed-out state that is augmented by the lack of responsibility that accompanies vacation mode. I am definitely guilty of this. One of my highest priorities during the last few years has been to travel as much as possible. However, I am occasionally reminded of the opportunities that I neglect to take advantage of around me. I am fortunate enough to live right outside of the nation’s capital, in a historic city. There are plenty of new experiences to take in, even though I have lived here my whole life! For example, visiting the Masonic Temple!
My gaze has fallen on the George Washington Masonic National Memorial (Masonic Temple for short) countless times. Last month, when the temple was within my field of vision yet again, I pondered why I had never been to the memorial. I decided to renew my commitment to exploring my own backyard starting with a trip to the Masonic Temple.
When you first approach the Masonic Temple, you are immediately awestruck by the architecture. The building is huge and I love the look of the steps and the giant columns that framed the door to the memorial. However, even more striking was the massive portico. Upon entrance, you are greeted by an enormous statue of George Washington, flanked by giant murals and more columns (that are 40 ft high!!). That location was also the waiting area for the tour. The tour allows access to rooms and floors that are otherwise prohibited.
My visit was very informative. I learned a lot about the Freemasons and George Washington’s life and involvement with the group. The memorial contained relics and replicas of historical items ranging from documents and bibles to portraits and even a lock of George Washington’s hair! The tour took us through the different levels of the memorial with hosted unique rooms, some still in use by the chapters that meet at the Masonic Temple.
The last leg of the tour was hands down my favorite part. We took the elevator up (fun fact: the Masonic Temple was one of the first places to have elevators that travel at a slant to accommodate for the narrowing of the building) to the 9th which holds the observation deck. The observation allows for a spectacular 360 view of the City of Alexandria and beyond to D.C. and the National Harbor. It was absolutely gorgeous!
Overall, I am glad that something that my curiosity lead me to check out the memorial. It ended contributing to a fun brother-sister date. I look forward to exploring more backyard places this year!