A chance to tour The West Wing of The White House? To quote the Amy Poehler bestseller: Yes, Please! Regardless of what your politics may be, pretty sure you'll agree that seeing The West Wing up close is exciting, historic, and (for most of us) a once in a lifetime opportunity. So, these are a few the things from our tour (last night) that we thought you'd love to know about:
- There is a dress code. No jeans. No shorts. (Surprising? Not so much.)
- We had a pre-tour dinner at Martin's Tavern, an unassuming, relaxed little place in Georgetown, where rumor has it JFK proposed to Jackie and where every President from Truman to Clinton has enjoyed a meal.
- President Obama apparently hasn't been to Martin's, but does have the distinction of being the first Commander & Chief to use a computer. (Surprising? Yup.)
- The photography throughout is also on permanent 'refresh', updated every few weeks by the White House Photo Office, based upon what the POTUS, FLOTUS, and VP are doing, where they're traveling, etc. Example: we saw some photos from VP Biden's recent trip to Ireland. #hittingtherefreshbutton
- Speaking of pics, they aren't allowed in The Rose Garden (We did get to walk thru there tho.) or the other areas in and around the Roosevelt Room, The Oval Office, etc. We did get to take a few in the Press Briefing Room, something we embraced enthusiastically.
- A funny anecdote about a pic of a diff kind? Former President Clinton wanted to take his fav painting - Avenues In The Rain, by Childe Hassam (considered a 'patriotic masterpiece' in the art world & owned previously by Socialite Brooke Astor) - with him when he left office. The price tag was something like 40 mill tho, so it remains on the wall in the Oval Office today.
- We didn't get a look inside the famous Situation Room, which is staffed 24/7 and monitors both national and global intell info. But we did pass by and our guide told us that one of the key areas that those in the "Sit Room" are constantly analyzing is social media.
- Then there's The Cabinet Room. A meeting may be held there if and only if the President is in attendance. And the leather chairs around the table? Each one is designated strictly for a specific Cabinet Secretary and no one else is allowed to sit in that chair. (Another chair is brought in for non-Cabinet peeps, etc.) That person also gets the chance to buy their chair out (for $1200) once they leave their post.
- The President's chair in that Cabinet Room, as well as in the other mtg rooms, is slightly higher than the rest. One of the behind-the-scenes perks of being the Leader of the Free World I guess.
Ciao for Now,
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of PattyJ.com