On my second full day in Washington, D.C., I awoke early to start another busy day. My first stop was Founding Farmers, a farm-to-table restaurant downtown. I ordered the strawberries and cream waffle with a side of sausage and a latte to round it out. The food was delicious and fresh and the staff was really friendly. I ate every little bit of my meal, and it was the perfect amount to give me the energy to walk around for the rest of the day. I intended to head straight to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial, but I took a slight detour to the Renwick Gallery. I had passed it the day before and the line was down the block; this time there was no line so of course I couldn’t not go in. This gallery also had free admission, as it is an extension of The National Gallery.
Once inside, the woman at the information desk handed me a guide and sent me on my way. Each of the 9 featured artists had their own separate room for their installation, and I walked through them all in awe. The installations were beyond gorgeous and each had its own thought-provoking message. My favorite was “In the Midnight Garden” by Jennifer Angus, which was made mostly of insects a la 7th grade bug collection.
I also really loved Janet Echelman’s colorful piece in the main room upstairs which consisted of a colorful net strung up from the ceiling.
Once I spent a sufficient time admiring each room, I headed out into the sunny day and walked towards the U.S. Holocaust Memorial.
The Holocaust Memorial was obviously a very emotional experience. I choked up immediately upon entering the actual museum, and had to run into the bathroom to fix my face. Everyone walked through the museum in silence. There were three levels that moved seamlessly in chronological order. It took about two hours to make it through, and it was heart wrenching, but also informative. I certainly left with a different perspective and gratitude. Next, I went to the National Air and Space Museum to see the Amelia Earhart exhibit. The whole museum is very impressive.
There are airplanes and miscellaneous space ships and equipment everywhere – hanging from the ceiling, coming out of the walls, stretching from floor to ceiling. Amelia is one of my favorites and I was surprised to see her exhibit was relatively small compared to others. It was still great though. I also really liked the Time and Navigation Exhibit, which detailed compasses and GPS technology in all its stages. I wandered around the museum, peaking at things that caught my interested, like walking through the full sized Space Station and The Wright Brothers exhibit. Then I moved on to the Library of Congress. The outside of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library is gorgeous, much like most of the other buildings in DC, but the inside is stunning.
I viewed the jealousy-inducing reading room from above and checked out Thomas Jefferson’s personal Library, as well as the Civil Rights exhibit right next to it. I couldn’t get over how beautiful the ceiling and walls were. I spent most of my time in the library looking up. By then, my stomach was telling me it was time to move on to We, The Pizza just down the street. I wanted to go there because it’s owned by Spike Mendelsohn, one of my favorite contestants on Top Chef. Sadly, he wasn’t there, but I did thoroughly enjoyed my sausage and sweet pepper pizza. The restaurant was really cute, with the pizzas all lined up in front and a large seating area upstairs.
From there, I walked the few blocks to Folger’s Shakespeare Library, where I had just missed the last tour of the day. The section that was open to the public without a tour was interesting, but small. I’d say it’s worth visiting IF
you do the tour or if you get tickets to see a play in the beautiful theater there. I took a cab back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and check into the hostel where I was staying that night. The Hosteling International DC was just a short walk away, and the lovely front desk staff checked me into my private room (shared bathroom). I noticed that the hostel offered nightly group activities, which I unfortunately had to decline but it did look like a good time! I took the bus to Georgetown, which was about thirty minutes away. I was trying to do some off-the-beaten path things in DC, but it seemed that I was stuck firmly on the path. Oh well, they’re popular for a reason. I got off the bus at M street and found myself in a very ritzy area. Shops like Banana Republic, Tory Burch and Lululemon lined the streets. It reminded me of the Gold Coast back in Chicago. I waltzed around a bit, stopping into Olivia Macaron to grab a latte and a champagne macaron. The macaron was delicious and the coffee kept me warm as I continued to wander. The small macaron shop was kiddie corner from Georgetown Cupcakes, a bakery made famous by TLC. I didn’t go in. I worked at a cupcake place in college and haven’t
been able to stomach them since. The houses in Georgetown were beautiful and I had fun admiring them as I walked. I wanted to make my way to Washington Harbor so I walked down Wisconsin Street towards the water. There were some cute stores along the way that I’ve not seen back home, including Redz Trading thrift store and American/Holiday, which had cute clothes, jewelry, and housewares. As I walked towards the harbor, the sun bean to set and once I arrived at the Potomac River, the sky was a mixture of blue, orange and pink. There were restaurants and a skating rink at the harbor, but I walked along the river instead of partaking in them. I had planned on going to Right proper Brewing for Dinner, so I walked along the river and then up through the George Washington University campus to get to the metro.
The ride was quick and the brewery was close to the train stop, however, when I arrived I realized it was closed for a private event. I was pretty bummed because I was looking forward to trying a local brewery, but I moved on anyways. Shaw’s Tavern was one block away, so that is where I ended up. The restaurant featured upscale bar food and a lively atmosphere. I ordered a DC Brau Public Ale and the Shaw’s Burger.
It turned out to be trivia night there, so I stayed and listened to the questions. The beer and burger were so perfect and the bar crowd was full of good vibes. I decided to walk home from there, which was a bit of an unnerving experience. However, I did arrive safely, albeit very sore and tired from walking all day. I showered in the public girl’s bathroom, which was clean enough, with thin curtains separating the showers from each other. When I finally lay down on the bed to read, I realized that it squawked every time I moved even a tiny bit. This set the tone for the rest of the evening; I didn’t get very much sleep, especially because I very stupidly got to thinking about the movie the Babadook (have you seen it? Don’t watch it, it’s scary). Anyways, the next morning I opted out of the complimentary hostel continental breakfast and walked over to Astro Doughnuts.
It was rainy and cold, but luckily it was a short walk. I got a maple bacon doughnut and a coffee and sat under the awning to enjoy it. The doughnut was a perfect combination of sweet and salty. It was so good. The rest of the morning was a chain of unsuccessful attempts to see one more thing before leaving. Everything was closed, not reopening until it was time for me to head to the airport or under construction until 2017 (thanks a lot Trump). So I wound up at Momfuku Milk Bar for some of their famous crack pie and yet more coffee. The pie was aptly named and so delicious. It was sweet and caramel-y and almost too rich to finish, not that I didn’t.
Soon it was time to check out from the hostel and take the blue line to DCA. It took only 30 minutes to make the trip, only to be delayed for three hours. By the time we finally boarded, there were only twenty people who waited it out. On the other side of the flight, I took a different blue line back home, happy to be home but grateful for a fantastic trip.
Thank you, DC, for a wonderful time!
Have you been to Washington, D.C.? Where was your favorite place there?