A few months ago, we went away on a six-week trip around America for our honeymoon! Now that we’re back, I’m doing a pretty thorough job of documenting it on my blog. I wrote one BIG post about the trip already, but as I’m the sort of person who likes surprises, and because it was already pretty long, I decided to take one thing from each place we went to – except for Chicago and Canada because we weren’t there for long – and talk about it in detail for those that want to know bits about it before they go or are just interested in our experience.
If you’re like me in the sense that you like to be surprised and don’t want “spoilers” about something before you visit a place, you can read about everything we did in less detail in the original blog, here! I will be going into a bit of detail – not too much – here, so just keep that in mind!
I’ve already written about our trip to Alcatraz, Universal Studios and The Alamo which were pretty amazing! This one is going to be another short one, not because I didn’t love it, but because it much like The Alamo, it was a smaller place than the previous two!
So far on the trip, we had traveled down from San Francisco to Los Angeles via Greyhound bus. We then left L.A on a big Amtrak train which took us to San Antonio, and from there it was short bus ride to Dallas!
Now, some of you may already know that I’ve had a bit of a fascination with Dallas for a few years now. I’m just going to give you a bit of a back story to that.
My favorite book is 11.22.63 by Stephen King. I read it at least once a year. Now, I know that about 95% of it is fiction, but I was hooked instantly and it caused a bit of an obsession with the late President Kennedy! I started doing a lot of research which aspects of the book were real, and coming up with my own conclusions as to what happened on that day in 1963, when the world changed. I started to speculate on what would have happened if Kennedy had lived, and my already existing interest in the 50s and 60s went up! On top of that, I also now longed to visit the places where the book is set. Unfortunately on this trip, we wouldn’t be going to Maine, but we did get to go to Dallas!
Dallas plays quite a big part in the book, being the place that Kennedy was sadly assassinated. I feel like it’s a bit strange to want to visit somewhere like that, but us humans seem to have a morbid curiosity. It was more than that though. I wanted to trace the character Jake Epping/George Amberson’s steps and I wanted pay my own respects to JFK.
When we got to Dallas, we bought a couple of City Pass booklets, which had tickets for the Sixth Floor Museum. It was in walking distance of the apartment we had rented on Air B’n’B, it took about 10-15 minutes.
The Plaza itself is quite pretty, with pleasingly symmetrical lawns and water features. Flanked by several buildings, including the infamous book depository and the Dallas County Courthouse. It’s also over looked by the Reunion Tower.
On the road, there is an “X” that marks the spot where Kennedy was shot in the head.
Once inside the building, we waited in a short line to pick up our audio tour sets. The museum itself is basically one large room, detailing Kennedy’s journey from being a young presidential candidate, to the day he died, and the events that followed.
Each part of it was very interesting, but I couldn’t help feeling tense the further round we moved, because I know what was coming.
I took my time, slowly digesting the events of that day. Although already well aware of what happened, it was like it was actually sinking in for the first time. I think being in the actual building gave it a realness that I had never experienced before.
I actually got quite emotional, almost to the point of crying as I read about his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy. Suddenly I realized how awful it was for her. Not only had her husband been murdered in front of her, but everything that happened immediately after, happened in such a rush and her mourning period was very much in the public eye. I felt like she didn’t get the chance to feel her grief for a long time. I felt pain for her.
You understandable are not allowed to take photos inside the museum, but this just added to the experience for me. So often, things can be spoiled a group of people try to push in to get the best photo. Here people actually stopped to take in what they were looking at.
In one corner, the room is cordoned off in a glass box, and it’s set up as the shooters nest. On the other side of the room, there is a similar set up with a gun on display where Oswald dropped it before fleeing the scene.
There are many other artifacts to see and you can learn all about what happened after the shooting, including the various theories behind what happened that day.
All in all, it was a fascinating visit and I would really recommend it. Here is an excerpt from the diary I kept whilst we were away.
“It was such an experience to be there, tracking Kennedy’s last moments. The museum is emotional, insightful and thought provoking. The magnitude of what happened that day hadn’t really hit me till today.”
In 11.22.63 Jake/George describes the book depository as an evil building, as though it knows what is going to happen, almost as if the building wants it to happen. I thought I would feel disturbed by it, but actually I feel sorry for it. It’s a sad building, as crazy as it sounds. It was used by Oswald, and as a result will always be remembered as the building that killed President Kennedy.
Whilst you’re visiting, don’t forget to take in the J.F.K Memorial, just round the corner.
There are of course many other great things to do and see in Dallas! From the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, to the Giant Eyeball, to the Reunion Tower, which offers some fantastic views!