We had a very quick trip to our nation's capital this weekend and, whew, what a whirlwind it was!
Alex has training for his new job up in Baltimore this weekend, so I decided to join him in the DC area the weekend before because, well, why not? Frankly, this is the time to take spontaneous weekend trips (and by "this is the time" I mean before we have children to contend with) and we need to take advantage of opportunities like this more often.
We left Greenville on Friday night around 8pm. Although it was a direct flight, it was slightly delayed, and by the time we got our rental car (which took a lot longer than it should have), we weren't on our way from BWI to DC until almost 11.
We then proceeded to drive in circles in DC because Siri lied to us about our hotel's whereabouts (my Siri is seriously not bright, y'all. Anyone else have this problem?). When we located our hotel, the very lovely St. Gregory (and thanks to Priceline, very affordable), their parking garage was filled so we had to venture to the nearby Marriott to park. Which is all fine and well, except when I found out parking at our hotel would have cost us $18 a day, and the Marriott's was $36 a day. Ouch.
Needless to say, when we finally settled into our hotel room, we were wiped out and didn't even venture out to have a drink. #OldFolks
We knew Saturday was going to be a very full day, so we got up early and set out on foot. First stop? To say hello to our future home, of course! Oh hey, White House.
We had brunch at the nearby W, and then struck out down the Mall for the Capital. Pausing for a photo-op, this really took me back to my 8th grade field trip, because this is the same spot where we took our big group photo with 50 13- and 14-year olds in matching hoodies. So 1999!
Making the loop up the Mall, we crossed over to two of the Smithsonians: the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of American History. Natural History is a cool one, because it has dinosaurs! (Imagine me saying this Jurassic Park-style: DINO-sauuurss!). It also has the Hope Diamond, which, hello, is any girl's favorite thing in the place.
The American History museum is actually my favorite of the Smithsonians that I've been to. It has a little bit of everything: the history of our country, the wars that shaped our nation, artifacts from different periods in time. Some of the things you'll find here are the real ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland herself, the original Star Spangled Banner (wow - very, very moving), and a 2nd-generation Apple iPod. For real. If you want to get a grasp on American History and culture and basically all that we are as a country, just spend a few hours in these walls.
After we had reached our cultural capacity for the day, we continued on the Mall toward the Washington Monument. We stopped in the WWII Memorial and made a loop around to see the Jefferson Memorial from afar, passed through the Vietnam Memorial, and took a quick glance at the Lincoln Memorial.
There are so many memorials, it's hard to see them all. And I will be honest that my feet were hurting by this point (as were Alex's), despite the fact that I had worn very practical flats. It was also much warmer than we thought and stayed in the upper 80s most of the day. After all that walking in the sun, we were both parched and starving. We had literally been walking for about 5 hours straight without so much as sitting down for a second. We started back toward our hotel and popped in a Portuguese restaurant for a late (3:30-ish) lunch along the way.
After a brief stop into the hotel room to change shoes and catch the first few minutes of the South Carolina/Missouri game (priorities, people), we struck out toward Georgetown. The walk to Georgetown was about a mile and a straight shot, and the sun was beginning its descent so it was actually a very pleasant walk. Georgetown is so cute - the architecture and streets are very charming. Plus there are tons of restaurants, shops, bars, and bakeries. Not least of all: Georgetown Cupcake from the TLC show DC Cupcakes!
I think I literally squealed with delight when I saw that the line for cupcakes was only about 20 people long. Alex's response: "We have to wait in line? For cupcakes??" Um yes dear, we do. Our wait time was probably about 15 minutes and then we were inside and staring at the gloriousness that is Georgetown Cupcake. Just look at those puppies!!
We were soon sidetracked by a bar that was hoppin' (it was nearly 7pm, after all), and we spotted several TVs with SEC football on them. Jackpot! What meant to be one beer turned into a few, and before we knew it, we had made friends with a young couple from Toronto and two girls who were working on the Hill. I love making random acquaintances on vacay!
Around 8pm, we figured it was time to head back to the hotel for real and made it back by 8:30. A quick wardrobe change and we were out the door again. We ate dinner at an Irish restaurant on Dupont Circle, a quick 3-block walk from the hotel. On the way home, we popped into a bar that had looked interesting and sports-bar-y by day, but when we got inside, it was in full-on club mode. We both felt old but managed to hang for a little while (they did have a football game on. Granted, it was muted due to the jams pulsing through the places, but it worked). By 11pm, we were struggling to stay upright due to our aching feet and the spirits. So hotel-bound it was!
Although it was my first 'Skins game, it was not my first NFL game. I grew up a Dolphins fan, and I even went to the Super Bowl a few years back in Miami. However, it was still a bit of a culture shock for me. I am used to college football tailgating, specifically, SEC college football tailgating and attire. Where were the dresses? The matching tents/tablecloths/chairs/grills/coolers/coozies ensembles? Everything seemed to be the same general colors - burgundy and gold - but tailgating in a wide open parking lot just doesn't feel the same as tailgating in a nook of a beautiful college campus. I'm sure it's still fun. Just not as picturesque. Just my two cents.
Anyway, after I got past the masses of official NFL jerseys I saw in the parking lot, we entered the stadium and settled into our seats. Of course, there was some stadium food action (I tell you, there was absolutely no healthy eating option in the place. Oh well...guess I HAD to get a hot dog. And a pretzel. And beer).
From the stadium, we went straight to the airport so I could catch my flight and Alex could catch his shuttle (actually, his limo - excuse me) to training. I kissed him goodbye, told him good luck, and in a few hours I was on my way home to sweet South Carolina.
Like I said - a whirlwind of a trip! But a great one, no doubt.
We definitely have to do weekends away more often! :)