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Washington D.C.

Monumental D.C.

Program No. 12392RJ
Explore Washington D.C. with experts and learn the stories behind the monuments, memorials and historic sites that pay testament to our national identity.
Length
5 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
1,549

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To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 15 - May 19, 2023
Starting at
1,549
Sep 18 - Sep 22, 2023
Starting at
1,549
Oct 23 - Oct 27, 2023
Starting at
1,549
Apr 15 - Apr 19, 2024
Starting at
1,699
May 13 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
1,699
Sep 16 - Sep 20, 2024
Starting at
1,699
Oct 21 - Oct 25, 2024
Starting at
1,699
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 15 - May 19, 2023
Starting at
2,019
Sep 18 - Sep 22, 2023
Starting at
2,019
Oct 23 - Oct 27, 2023
Starting at
2,019
Apr 15 - Apr 19, 2024
Starting at
2,189
May 13 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
2,189
Sep 16 - Sep 20, 2024
Starting at
2,189
Oct 21 - Oct 25, 2024
Starting at
2,189

At a Glance

The capital of the United States is truly “monumental” as you’ll discover in this exciting experiential learning program with Road Scholar. Explore major monuments, memorials, museums and historic sites on and off the National Mall. Learn what Washington’s monuments tell about those who created them, the people and events they memorialize, their eras and how our nation’s sons and daughters are remembered. Daily discussions and field trips provide keen insights into historic and current issues.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking 2-3 miles per day during field trips over level terrain; extended standing. Monuments accessible by elevator.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Delve into George Washington's life as a pioneering farmer, businessman, fearless soldier and leader at Mount Vernon.
  • Witness the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery and visit the grave of President John F. Kennedy.
  • Enjoy the vibrant cultural and dining scene.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Judy Scott Feldman
A native Washingtonian, art historian and educator, Judy Scott Feldman is a founder of the National Mall Coalition and has served as the Chairman of the Board since 2000. She has been a guest on numerous show including The News Hour and CBS Sunday Morning and received several awards for her mall advocacy. Dr. Feldman holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in art history from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a doctorate in art history from The University of Texas at Austin.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Judy Scott Feldman
Judy Scott Feldman View biography
A native Washingtonian, art historian and educator, Judy Scott Feldman is a founder of the National Mall Coalition and has served as the Chairman of the Board since 2000. She has been a guest on numerous show including The News Hour and CBS Sunday Morning and received several awards for her mall advocacy. Dr. Feldman holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in art history from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a doctorate in art history from The University of Texas at Austin.
Profile Image of Akram Elias
Akram Elias View biography
Akram R. Elias has been a Mason since 1996, when he was initiated into Freemasonry at Potomac Lodge No. 5, F.A.A.M. in Washington, D.C. Elias has been the head of several Masonic lodges in Washington, DC, and was installed as Grand Master of Masons of the District of Columbia on December 8, 2007, and completed his term in office on December 13, 2008. The Grand Master oversees all Masonic lodges within a Masonic jurisdiction.
Profile Image of Steve Flynn
Steve Flynn View biography
Steve Flynn was raised in Oregon. He pursued graduate work in intercultural studies and has extensive experience leading educational groups for students and adults both within and outside the U.S. A current resident of Washington, D.C., he has spent his professional career working in international student exchange programs for the University of North Carolina system.
Profile Image of Lourdes Elias
Lourdes P. Elias View biography
Lourdes P. Elias — Lou — has more than 35 years of experience negotiating federal/defense and international contracts. She has degrees in Economics and International Relations from The American University School of International Service and speaks frequently on America as “the Great Experiment” and the symbolism of Washington, DC. Ms. Elias is the Worshipful Master of America Lodge No. 57 in Washington, DC, the first Women’s Regular Masonic Lodge in the United States.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Washington National Mall
by Peter R. Penczer
The Washington National Mall" is the first general history of America's greatest urban park. Learn the fascinating stories behind the monuments and museums, from the best known to the most obscure. The Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial are all here, as are forgotten landmarks such as the Fish Commission, the Redwood Tree House, and Braddock's Rock. This amply illustrated volume has more than 100 archival photographs, many never before published, as well as recent color photographs of the monuments and museums. A detailed two-page map of the Mall and the surrounding area serve as a handy reference guide for visitors.
The Mall in Washington, 1791-1991
by Richard Longstreth
As the most important public space in the United States, the Mall in Washington, DC, has been a vital emblem of national spirit and ideals ever since Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant first envisioned it over 200 years ago. Although the Mall has undergone numerous changes since its conception, it has retained centrality within the life of the capital and has emerged as an essential symbol of American national identity and an influential model of city planning worldwide. Featuring 14 essays by prominent historians, architects, and leaders of some of Washington, DC's most important institutions, this volume explores the Mall's origins and growth, as well as the shifting political forces and cultural values that have shaped it. Over 140 illustrations help to tell the story of the site, including vintage maps, prints and drawings, in addition to numerous contemporary documentary and historical photographs. This edition features a new introduction discussing developments on the Mall since the first edition was published in 1991.
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5 days
4 nights
10 meals
4 B 3 L 3 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Virginia
D
Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 4:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. Your program materials will be sent to you a few days before the program, digitally, through your roadscholar.org account. This includes your program itinerary, any related handouts, and restaurant/free time suggestions. Please plan to print them out and bring along to the program, utilize the hotel's business center to access them, or view them on your own personal electronic device. Orientation: 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Mount Vernon, Holocaust Memorial Museum, White House
Virginia
B,L,D
Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport

Activity note: Walking over 2 miles on paved surfaces. Getting on/off a motorcoach. Mount Vernon has some uneven, hilly paths including the walk to the mansion that is approximately 1/4 mile uphill on crushed stone (no shuttle); only the first floor of the mansion is wheelchair accessible. Those who prefer something less physically demanding can explore extensive exhibits in the Reynolds Museum and Education Center.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will travel south by motorcoach to George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. Maintained as a memorial to our nation's first President by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, the estate provides insights into Washington's life as a pioneering farmer, entrepreneurial businessman, fearless soldier, and unconventional leader.

Lunch: At Mount Vernon Inn.

Afternoon: Next, we will head into the heart of Washington, D.C. by motorcoach to visit one of the city's most popular museums. Here we will explore the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at our own pace. This experience is a living memorial that inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, promote human dignity, and prevent genocide.

Dinner: At a local restaurant

Evening: Back on the motorcoach, we will go on an exploration of Washington, D.C. including a visit to the neighborhood surrounding the White House, the epicenter of Executive Branch power in Washington, D.C. We will learn about the mansion's beginnings, history and present day uses.

DAY
3
Arlington National Cemetery, Memorials
Virginia
B,L
Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport

Activity note: Walking over 2 miles on paved surfaces. Getting on/off a motorcoach and a tram. Self-led exploration at Arlington National Cemetery may include walking over grassy hills.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Heading out on the motorcoach, we will start our morning with a visit to the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial. Offering a commanding view of the Capital's monumental core from the Virginia side of the Potomac River, the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial – more popularly known as the Iwo Jima Memorial – honors those who have served as Marines going back to the beginnings of our nation. Following this quick stop, we will then go on an extended visit to Arlington National Cemetery. On these hallowed grounds, we will visit the grave of President John F. Kennedy, witness the solemn changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns and visit Arlington House, once home to Confederate General Robert E. Lee and descendants of the Washington family. Due to the amount of walking involved and the topography of Arlington National Cemetery, participants will travel through the site via motorized tram service. Next, we will make our way to the U.S. Air Force Memorial. One of the newer additions to the D.C. Memorials, the U.S. Air Force Memorial adds a modern element to the D.C. area's skyline. At 227 feet tall, it evokes a feeling of flight while honoring the service given by the men and women of the U.S. Air Force.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Capitol Hill.

Afternoon: We will visit one more memorial for today, and it is the newest in Washington, D.C.! The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial was opened in September 2020 and features life-sized statues, inscriptions of Eisenhower's own words, and a 447-foot-long tapestry that features the Pointe du Hoc promontory of France’s Normandy coastline during peacetime. Following this visit, the remainder of the day will be on our own. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Lincoln & War Memorials, Tidal Basin
Virginia
B,L,D
Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport

Activity note: Walking over 2 miles on paved surfaces. Getting on/off a motorcoach.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Thanks to numerous books and movies, many people know of Masons but relatively few know exactly who they are and what they believe. There are also many myths, legends, and mysteries surrounding the role of Masons in the founding of the United States. Dan Brown’s bestselling novel “The Lost Symbol” — set in Washington, D.C. — blended Masonic history into his fantastic story. At the hotel, we’ll be joined by a 33rd Degree Mason who will help us separate fact and fiction as we examine the influence of Masonic teachings on our nation's founders, and learn about Masonic symbols throughout the city.

Lunch: At a local restaurant. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Afternoon: By motorcoach, we will visit what are locally known as the “Big 3”. We’ll explore Abraham Lincoln's life, principles, and civil war presidency at the Lincoln Memorial on the west end of the National Mall. We’ll examine America's cold war history through the prism of the Korean War Veterans Memorial and reflect on the tragic consequences of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We will then head over to the National World War II Memorial, where we’ll learn about America's struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan at the dawn of the age of weapons of mass destruction. Many enjoy visiting this site at night when the memorial's lights and water fountains give it a more majestic appearance.

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow Road Scholars at a local restaurant.

Evening: Heading back out on the motorcoach, we’ll spend our last night in D.C. visiting the Tidal Basin as the lights illuminate these memorials. We will learn about Thomas Jefferson's role in crafting the Declaration of Independence, forming a more perfect union and expanding America during a visit to the Jefferson Memorial near the tidal basin. We will then explore the tumultuous period in American history that paralleled Franklin Roosevelt's 12 years as President of the United States at the FDR Memorial in West Potomac Park. From challenging conventional thinking about the role of the federal government in the nation's economy to confronting the evils of fascism, Roosevelt led America in trying times. The FDR Memorial – a series of outdoor rooms in a park setting – memorializes the nation's efforts to overcome the Great Depression at home and defeat tyranny around the world. Our last monument will bring us up to the Civil Rights Movement as we visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which was dedicated in 2011, on the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington. We will learn about the civil rights leader and his pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African American citizens. Upon our return to the hotel, prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
5
Development of National Mall, Program Concludes
Virginia
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. Luggage storage is available upon request.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll attend a seminar focusing on future development and preservation of the National Mall and other areas in the Washington, D.C. area. We will learn about memorials still in the planning process. We’ll hear from representatives of entities endeavoring to preserve our current memorials, plan our future monuments, protect our civic space, and manage the region's growth. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.