On December 5, 2011, I was invited to attend a White House Holiday Tweet-up.
My husband and I arrived in Washington, DC the night before and explored the National Christmas Tree located behind the White House on the Ellispe. This is the first year this particular tree (a 26-foot Colorado blue spruce) served as the national tree. It was planted in March to replace the previous tree, which served as the National Christmas tree since 1978 but was toppled by strong winds in February of 2011.
After the 10 hour drive into the city...and a losing battle with a traffic circle, I was thrilled to be there. But exhausted!
The next morning, we were up bright and early. My husband and I took a quick Metro ride from our hotel in Dupont Circle to the White House.
Here I am waiting for the subway train to arrive.
The morning session was held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) that's within the White House grounds, and just west of the West Wing. Many of the White House offices are houses within the EEOB.
Can you imagine coming into work every morning and seeing this view? The area around the White House hummed with history.
Although it's not the West Wing, it's a beautiful building. AND it makes a brief appearance in my April release, THE SCARLET PEPPER.
We passed through a security check point at the gate and then entered into the main foyer that led to a secondary security check point. The main foyer was filled with historical items from the building, such as the original elevator doors and an architectural schematic.
It was decked out in Christmas (and Chanukah) decorations.
An example of the original fireplaces in the building.
History of the EEOB and its uses.
- Designed by Supervising Architect of the Treasury, Alfred B. Mullett.
- Built from 1871 to 1888 to house the growing staffs of the State, War, and Navy Departments.
- Considered one of the best examples of French Second Empire architecture in the country.
- Contrasts many of the somber classical revival buildings in Washington, the EEOB's flamboyant style epitomizes the optimism and exuberance of the post-Civil War period.
So we went down the hallway...
Down the curving staircase...
Out into a courtyard that looked out onto the West Wing....
And into the South Court Auditorium, which was clearly a later addition to the building...and a room where cell service was spotty. (Not the best place to hold a Tweet up event!)
Tomorrow: The Briefing with administration officials....