Published: January 18th 2009November 3rd 2005
Recently returned from a 3 day getaway to DC and finally getting around to writing up a recap of the trip. I lived in DC from 92-97 and returned in 99 for a few days while participating in the USMC Marathon and like many folks did an internship in DC while in college (went the business route rather than the congressional route) but feel as though Ive only seen ¼ of what the city has to offer. A return trip to one of my favorite cities was prompted when searching the web for cheap airfares from CHS (which basically is an oxymoron). After broadening my search to departures from MYR, I found a $98 RT fare from MYR to DCA on Spirit Airlines. This deal was well worth the 1½ drive from CHS to MYR so off I went! First, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by Spirit...my experience with these discount airlines has been less than fabulous but would most definitely fly Spirit again.
I arrived in DC around 4PM and immediately hopped on Metro to my hotel (gotta love it when you don't have to deal with shuttles or taxis) in Bethesda. I stayed at the
Bethesda Residence Inn (used to work for Marriott and a friend was able to hook me up with them employee rate...again, worth the little extra commute into DC). While the location to metro was great (only 1 block away) and the breakfast buffet was pretty tasty, the hotel was nothing spectacular and I would probably not stay there again (unless I got my same good deal).
Dinner that night was at this fabulous tapas restaurant on Woodmont called Jaleo. Not only was the food DELICIOUS, the service was EXCELLENT. I had the duck confit w/ pear sauce, wild chanterelle mushrooms w/ organic frisee and ajillo sauce, and a butternut squash soup with paprika cream and toasted almondsyum yum! Their ever so yummy Sangria was the perfect compliment to the meal. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Bethesda.
Friday morning I headed into DC for a tour of the Capitol with my Senators office. While during my years living in DC I went to the Capitol for business, I never took a tour so this was a great treat for me. Since I got into town a little early, I walked around the Hill and along the
Mall and popped into the National Art Gallery for a bit and then walked through the National Sculpture Garden. After my tour of the Capitol, I headed over to the Supreme Court even though the Court wasnt in session, it was still humbling to stand in the highest court in the US.
Next stop was the Library of Congress. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the LOC, please do and take the tour. After a trip to the LOC, you gain a whole new appreciation for the work they perform everyday. By now, Im ready to chew my arm off so I headed over to Lafayette Square for afternoon tea. I read about an Asian tea house called Teaism and it sounded great and their afternoon tea looked interesting. While the food and tea was quite nice, I was a little disappointed by the atmospherefelt like I was in a Starbucks that only served tea. Perhaps the locations at Dupont Circle or Penn Quarter have a different feel. But again, the food was good and most definitely plentifulI actually was so full from tea at 3PM that I didnt even eat dinner that night.
Thinker on a Rock
Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
I headed over to the Lafayette Park to check out the photo op I read about on the DC CVB site. Standing in the park you get a great shot of the Andrew Jackson Statue, the White House and the Washington Monument. For photo buffs out there, you may want to check out www.washington.org then go to tours and itineraries and look for the one called picture perfectthey have some interesting photo ops listed. Next stop was 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ive toured the White House many times (was actually on a tour when the Oklahoma bombing happened and what an experience that was) so I just stopped by to take a few photos. By this point, I was beat and actually headed back to my hotel to rest up for my marathon touring day on Saturday.
While walking on the Mall on Friday, I noticed they were setting up for a big event but had no clue what it was until Saturday morning while listening to the news. Turns out, it was the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March and the Millions More Movement was taking place on the Mall on Saturdayneedless to say, the Smithsonian metro stop
was a little on the busy side. First stop on Saturday was the Washington Monumentunfortunately I was too late to get tickets to go to the top but really just wanted to get a few good pics as the last time I was in town, the Monument was covered with scaffolding. After the Washington Monument, I headed over to see the World War II Memorial and what a sight it was! I love the Rainbow Pool!
Next on my list was the Lincoln Memorial. The Lincoln is one of my favorite memorials in the city and even though it was under restoration, it was still a sight to see. A quick lunch of hot dog and chips from the refreshment stand fueled me for the afternoon and my next stopthe Korean War Memorial. This is actually one of the eeriest memorials as it can really catch you off guard when you first see itespecially at night. After spending some time here, I decided a walk across the Memorial Bridge to Arlington National Cemetery was a good ideaso off I went. From the bridge, you get a great view of the Jefferson Memorialanother of my favorites but sadly didnt make
it over to visit on this tripnext time.
Ive been to Arlington many times but always enjoy the Tourmobile toura pretty good bargain at $6.00. The tour makes stops at the Kennedy grave sites, Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, and the Custis-Lee House. No matter how many times I take this tour, the sight of JFKs grave has an impact on me (I wasnt even born when he was president but I, like many others, wonder how different things would be had he completed his presidency). I took a little walk over to Section 32 where the Supreme Court Justices are buried and paid my respects to Chief Justice Rehnquist and just as I was about to take a photo of his site, the battery in my camera died (this was my first trip with my new digital camera Ive always been a film girl but thought Id jump into the 21st century and go digital). Oh well, next trip. So unfortunately, there are no pictures of the Tomb of the Unknown or Custis-Lee House from this trip.
After my tour of Arlington, I headed over to Pentagon City Mall to pick up a disposable camerano sense wasting
Spiral Staircase inside the US Supreme Court. Each step is supported only by the step below and it ascends 5 flights.
4 hours trekking back and forth to the hotel and recharging the battery. After a quick trip to the mall, I headed back to Union Station for dinner before my evening tour of the monuments. When I lived in DC, I used to frequent America in Union Station so I thought a return trip would be a nice. Unfortunately, the service and the food has declined and I would not recommend a visitunless I just hit it on a bad night. I will say the server did redeem herself when she did take one of the items off my bill as I barely touched it. I LOVE macaroni and cheese and selected that for my entréeit was awfulactually tasted like the frozen Stouffers mac and cheese. Having worked in the hospitality industry, I know Stouffers is often used but this was badbut I didnt let it ruin my evening.
Next on my agenda was the Monuments by Moonlight Tour with Old Town Trolley Company (http://shophta.com/acb/stores/15/product1.asp?SID=15&Product_ID=54). What a fabulous tour! My guide was Mr. Map and he was amazingbeing a native of Washington really made a big difference. I highly recommend this tour as you get some of the most
World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial looking toward the Atlantic Front
wonderful views the monuments at night. Try to get on Mr. Maps trolley and youre guaranteed a FABULOUS time. We made stops at the Lincoln Memorial/Korean War Memorial/Vietnam War Memorial, FDR Memorial, and Iwo Jima Memorial but did slow drive bys of many of the other memorials. A very interesting factoid from the tourif you drive around the Iwo Jima Memorial counterclockwise, it appears that the Marines are raising the flag to a complete upright positionpretty cool to see. My only disappoint from the tour was the fact that the pictures from the disposable camera (even had 800 speed and flash) didnt turn out (only 2 from the Korean War Memorial)oh wellnext trip. After 12 hours of touring, it was time for bed so back to the hotel for me!
On Sunday morning, I headed over to the Dupont Circle metro stop for a walking tour of Georgetown with Washington Walks (www.washingtonwalks.com). It was a very nice 2½ mile walk and I couldnt have had a more perfect day for the walk! Our guide was Cindy and she was pretty knowledgeable but I think I was still in awe of Mr. Maps knowledge that she was just average. If
you do this walk, be prepared to hoof it as we went at a pretty good clip and there are a few small inclines. I believe the tours are through for the season but will start up again in the spring. After my tour, I stopped in at The Guards for brunch and had a very tasty Eggs Benedict. All fueled up for the afternoon, I hopped a cab and headed over to the Washington National Cathedral.
The National Cathedral is absolutely breathtaking in itself but when you take the elevator to the Observation Deck to see all of DC, it is even more amazing. It was such a clear day I could see to the Blue Ridge Mountains!! The docent lead tour of the Cathedral is well worth the suggested $3 donation so dont miss out on it. One of the most interesting facts to me was that all of the money needed to build the Cathedral was raised through private donationsall $65 million!
The last place on my list of things to see on this trip was the Cathedral of St. Matthew. After the 1½ mile walk from the National Cathedral to the Tenleytown/AU station, I
Koren War Memorial
Koren War Memorial - unlike the Vietnam Memorial, there are no names inscribed in the wall...instead the faces of those who died are etched in the wall. At night, the faces appear to be floating on the wall like holograms.
was on my way to Farragut NorthSunday was most definitely a day of walking! The Cathedral of St. Matthew is a beautiful little church and designed more in the Romanesque style which was an interesting contrast to the Gothic style of the National Cathedral. The Red Mass is held each year at the Cathedral of St. Matthew to request the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the legal profession. This is also the church where President Kennedys funeral mass was heldthere is a small plaque to commemorate the occasion. After staying for mass, it was time for me to head back to my hotel and pack up for my flight the next day.
While this was a short trip to our nations capital, it was most definitely an action packed one! I look forward to my next visit and exploring all the city has to offer.
There are more photos below