To our surprise, the White House accommodates far more people than we thought. Not only were we among the first 100 to get tickets, apparently they continued to distribute them throughout the day. Despite the rules posted, the early crowd was able to get multiple tickets and choose their entry time.
But enough of the logistics. Let's get to the gardens and grounds. After shuffling through airport-like security, the entire south lawn was open. Most of the attention was concentrated around the photos and signs staked into the ground that identified trees planted by Presidents and First Ladies. Visitors were entertained by "The President's Own" Marine Band and free to explore and photograph at their own pace. We spent about 1.5 hours and were happy to have been among the first to enter since we avoided some of the crowds and the nasty wind that was to come later in the day.
I stared up at each window thinking about all of the historical events that have taken place behind the glass. I remember Hillary Clinton writing fondly about the fan-shaped window (pictured below) in her book Living History.