On 24 October 2013, a group of forty Year 13 and Year 14 girls accompanied by four staff (Mr Luney as Head of Government and Politics, Mrs McMurray, Miss McMackin and Dr Brown) departed from Belfast International Airport on a six-hour flight to Newark Liberty International Airport, for a week of unbroken sunshine, history, shopping, deli food and culture.
Based in a hotel right on Times Square, we spent three exciting days in New York. Highlights included a boat cruise to Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbour in Manhattan to see the Statue of Liberty, a memorably moving visit to Ground Zero or the 9/11 Memorial as it is now called, and trips to the Museum of Natural History, Central Park, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Centre, and an ascent up all 86 floors of the Empire State Building to experience its fabulous views by night.
We needed to recuperate before Washington, so we welcomed the day travelling by coach through five states (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, DC). The journey was broken in the best way, by a half-day stop in Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall. There followed three completely different but no less stimulating and fascinating days in Washington DC. We were very centrally located and were able to visit Chinatown for some amazing authentic food, take a guided tour of Capitol Building, and experience the White House Visitors’ Centre.
Georgetown was a wonderful venue for shopping and relaxing; we also shopped in the Union Station complex. We thoroughly enjoyed tha National Mall with its war memorials and Lincoln Memorial, and the time spent in the Smithsonian Museums complex where we focused on the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of American History (MAH). Mrs McMurray and Dr Brown enjoyed the MAH so much they sneaked back on the last day!