White House Tour

Today I joined three friends for a personal tour of the White House.  A Secret Service agent who is a friend of a friend, Jimmy, gave us a guided tour of the West Wing.  The tour started at the entrance used by the Vice President.

Lauren, Karen, and me at the entrance used by the Vice President when he visits the West Wing

As you go through that entrance, there are all sorts of photographs that are enlarged and hanging on the wall.  Jimmy told us the photos are changed regularly.  He said every week he comes through, he sees new pictures.  One included Angelina Jolie that was apparently taken during her most recent visit to the White House.  There is a photographer and two assistants who pretty much go everywhere the President goes and takes pictures.

We saw two entrances to The Situation Room, and the nearby dining room run by the Navy.  Then we went outside to see the Rose Garden.  Unfortunately because it's winter, there were no roses.  Jimmy showed us the route the President walks from the Mansion through the Rose Garden to the Oval Office when the weather is nice.  We went back inside to see the Cabinet Room, and then the Oval Office itself.  The President can see the swing set they put up for his daughters from the window there.  He has all sorts of family pictures on a desk behind where he sits.  They had several old pictures showing former President Kennedy sitting at the same desk, which is where the famous picture was taken of his son playing underneath the desk.

Next we walked down a short hallway where there were two Norman Rockwell prints hanging, So You Want to See the President.  Jimmy said there were on loan from the National Gallery of Art, and worth $10 million.  I can't remember if that was both together or each, but hey, either way, they are still out of my price range!  From there we went into the waiting room where people actually do wait to see the President when they come to the White House.  They had a gorgeous vase of orange roses and other flowers on the desk there.  As we exited the building, Jimmy told us that's where a Marine is stationed at all times when the President is in the Oval Office. 

Jimmy standing where the Marine sentry stands when the President is in the Oval Office

When we finished the tour, Jimmy was super nice and gave us all a ride to the nearest metro station.  As much as I enjoyed the tour, getting home where it's nice and warm was heaven!


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