Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Nation’s Capital - Can you do DC in a weekend? Here’s our way…

Since Russell had to work in Reston, VA (his company headquarters are located here) this would be the perfect opportunity to extend the trip to include a weekend exploring our nation’s capital.  I met up with him at the Reston Town Center, which has many popular restaurants, bars and shopping. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency, and luckily they provided transportation to drop us off at the closest Metro Station Friday afternoon. Rather than sitting in rush hour traffic, we hopped on the Silver Line directly into DC, passing the stopped cars on the highway.

After a short walk from the Metro station, Russell and I checked-in at the Courtyard Washington, DC/Foggy Bottom by Marriott, and were off to explore! The location of the hotel was ideal. It was a quick 10 minute stroll to reach the west side grounds of the National Mall. This gave us the chance to visit many memorials including:

All the walking worked up our appetite, so we headed back to the hotel to clean up for dinner. Some of our family had recommended Georgetown as a fun area of town to grab dinner. They were right!
Our Uber dropped us off on the bustling M Street, lined with numerous stores and restaurants. We chose Ristorante Piccolo because of their adorable balcony patio. However, this outdoor space was very tight, and Russell’s long legs had some trouble fitting. (Luckily, my short legs gave him the room he needed.) As the sun began to go down, the bugs were coming out. They didn’t bother us, but if bugs/spiders make you nervous, be sure to request a table inside! After saying all this … their food and service was fantastic.  Russell and I shared the Portobello Gratinate to start. For my meal I chose Mozzarella Di Caprese (one of the best I’ve had in a long time) and the Polpeltone d’Agnello (lamb meatballs).  The meat was a bit tougher than I’m used to with beef, but the flavor was delicious. Russ decided on Ravioli Aragosta (Lobster) and the “noodle” itself was exquisite…You could tell this had been freshly hand rolled, as they advertised. We washed our meal down with a rich bottle of Chianti Classico, pretending to be back in Tuscany. After grabbing a cone of ice cream, we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep for our packed day tomorrow.

Day 2
With our umbrellas in tow (of course the weekend ended up had rain in the forecast) we ventured out to tour the city. First stop was a quick view of the White House (again, another brief walk from our hotel.)  I always pictured this much larger than it looks in real life! Our next destination was the Washington Monument before starting on the Smithsonian Museums:
  • American History: Enjoyed the First Ladies, American Stories, and Food Exhibits
  • Natural History (our favorite): Enjoyed the Live Insect Zoo (complete with a butterfly nursery,) Mammals (even though it made me kind of sad) and the Gems & Minerals Exhibit  
  • Air & Space Museum: Enjoyed American By Air, Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and Sea-Air Operations
It was pouring when we stepped out of the Air & Space Museum. Russell ordered an Uber and with a quick drive past the Capitol, headed to another recommended spot, Old Ebbitt Grill; a large, historic restaurant and bar located near the White House. We found the perfect spot at one of their multiple bars available and enjoyed their happy hour selection while watching the rain come down. The company around us was friendly, and our bartender was awesome. She convinced us to go for the half off (because of happy hour) Orca Platter. I think this was the first time I have been full from seafood. The lobster, crab claws, clams, shrimp, and 24 oyster were amazing!! The thought of it just made my mouth water! Luckily the rain died down and we could walk off our meal to head back to the hotel.

This was our last day to get in any sight-seeing, so we woke up early to pack and headed out to the National Mall. Our first stop was at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Upon walking in, you’ll claim a free ticket which will provide you a time slot to enter the main exhibit. Unfortunately, with our time constraint, Russell and I were unable to experience it.  Instead we visited the Kimmel-Rowan Exhibit and took a moment of silence in the serene Hall of Remembrance.  This museum is obviously difficult to experience, but something that’s so moving, you’ll never forget. 

Next stop was the Arlington National Cemetery; a 30 min walk, but since the sun was out today…we made our way past the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, over the Arlington Memorial Bridge and entered the cemetery. This place was stunning and sobering.  We witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  What an incredible place to pay respect, honor, and remember those who fought for our freedom. This was the perfect way to end our weekend in the Nation’s Capital.