Monday, April 13, 2015

Long Weekend in Washington, D.C.

Chapin and I spent this past weekend in Washington, D.C. It was not our first trip to our nation's capital. I came as a child with my family, and Chapin and I visited the city about ten years ago on our trip to see my cousin, Alicia, get married. But we wanted to go back to see the sights and cherry blossoms in bloom. Plus, we had a free companion pass on Delta that we had to use by the end of April.

Chapin and I realized as we were planning this recent trip that we have not actually gone on a vacation in over a year - since our long weekend in NYC to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary in November 2013. It was our first time leaving Norman overnight as well. I have to say - I really needed some time away!

Cherry Blossoms in D.C.: April 11, 2015

Of course, we didn't realize that this weekend was also the Cherry Blossom Parade, 10K and Festival, so everyone else made a trip to D.C., too. I have never seen such crowds! But we did manage to see quite a bit during our long weekend. Here's a breakdown of all the spots we visited:

Friday, April 10th:

Upon our arrival, we ate lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill, a "D.C. tradition since 1856." It was filled with tourists, but the food was quite good, and the decorations were apparently courtesy of Teddy Roosevelt himself.

We ate late in the day, since our flight was delayed due to bad weather in Atlanta, so we started walking around after lunch to see the White House and Washington Monument. Our hotel was right on Pennsylvania Avenue, so we were close to everything. As we took out the camera to take some photos, we realized we had left the camera battery at home on the charger. As Homer would say, "Doh!"

Chapin and I do not have good luck with cameras! Here's a quick history:

  • 2010: Left our camera in a cab in San Francisco.
  • 2012: Had our camera bag stolen on a train to Milan, Italy, on the last day of our Italian vacation.
  • 2015: Left the camera's battery charger at home on a trip to D.C. 

We gave up trying to find a new battery after visiting one camera store and calling another,  and decided the cameras on our phones would have to do. Suffice it to say, we didn't end up taking too many photos.

The White House: April 10, 2015

After a short rest, we decided to take a cab to a pub that we both wanted to visit. (It's called The Pug. How could we resist?)

But we never made it.

We could not get a cab since everyone else seemed to be in the city at the very same time also trying to hail a cab, so we started walking. Our hotel was near the Warner Theatre, a beautiful 90-year-old theater similar to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. As we were walking by, I happened to glance over and see on the marquee that Patton Oswalt would be performing that evening. We stopped in to see if any tickets were available, and found out the show was sold out. But, the vendor said, they're just now releasing the last two tickets - and in the second row. Our luck was improving!

We love Patton Oswalt, and if you don't know him, you've probably heard his voice or seen him on TV shows or in the movies, and just don't know his name. He voiced Ratatouille, narrates The Goldbergs, and has been on a slew of TV comedies like Parks and Rec and The King of Queens. We had actually wanted to see him when he was in Atlanta a few months ago, but we waited too long to get tickets. It was a great show, and I'm so glad we could see him in person.

Saturday, April 11th:

Chapin and I had reservations to eat breakfast at Founding Farmers, and the food was amazing. I especially loved the leek hash browns, and I definitely recommend that if you are in the area, stop here to eat at least one meal. Just make a reservation first! We did, and we did not have to wait.

After breakfast, we tried to catch a glimpse of the parade and walked over to see the Washington Monument. We had beautiful weather on Saturday, so the skies were blue and the crowds were abundant.

The Washington Monument: April 11, 2015

We spent the next several hours wandering through the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. I was on a hunt for the infamous jacket that Fred Savage wore as Kevin Arnold during the first season of The Wonder Years, but alas, I never found it.

I did, however, get to view the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz, and oh, are they a sight to see. They are probably the first pair of shoes most girls covet - myself included. I dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween twice - in 6th grade and again in 9th grade, one of my last years trick-or-treating.

The museums were so crowded that it was hard to enjoy them, so we ended up at City Tap House for a brief rest to drink beer (for Chapin) and hard cider (for me). Then we were off again to meet up with my cousin and her family, where we wandered around the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. After seeing all the U.S. presidential portraits, Alicia's boys wanted ice cream, so we walked to Pitango Gelato for some amazing gelato. I had a large cup with three flavors: Cinnamon (my favorite), Crema, and Gianduja (chocolate hazelnut). Delicious!

Hanging out at Barmini in D.C.
Alicia and her family had to head home, so we said goodbye and decided we needed another rest before we walked back to the hotel. This time, we ended up at the Iron Horse Taproom, which was a cool find. Beer and games... you can't go wrong!

We had a late reservation for dinner, so after resting at the hotel, we changed and headed out to Barmini for some pre-dinner drinks. Talk about sophisticated. Chapin said it was probably one of the "coolest" places we had ever frequented. But the service? Not great. We were there for one hour, and were served one drink each.

We tried to take a photo, but the lighting in Barmini was very dim, so we did not get a great shot.

Finally, it was off to dinner at Fiola, where we splurged on a delicious four-course meal. I had clams, scallops in risotto, snapper... it was heavenly, and a great end to our mini-vacation.

The next day, we headed home to Atlanta. It was a whirlwind trip, but a fun one!