I’m not going to lie, the day Ted accepted his new position in Washington DC my heart throbbed a little. We have spent a decent amount of time apart during the months that we have known each other, but to be honest…I think it has shown me a lot about myself that I didn’t previously know. I miss him every single day- but it makes the moments we have together that much sweeter.
Enough about that!
Ted living in DC gave me the opportunity to see the nation’s capital city and boy did it not disappoint!
I flew into Ronald Reagan Airport where Ted was there waiting to pick me up. I had been keeping a close eye on the weather that way I knew what to expect when I arrived, luckily I was wearing leggings AND jeans because when I walked out of those airport doors- damn was it cold! We drove back to Ted’s house where he gave me a quick neighborhood tour since he would be working the next day- leaving me to explore the city solo!
Ted lives about a mile away from the US capital building, in a cozy little basement apartment below a family. It is most definitely not a quiet place to live, with the stampede of children upstairs bright and early every morning, and as soon as you walk outside you are tossed straight into the hustle bustle of the city. This was quite the experience for me- I have never lived in a large city! That first morning I walked outside and caught myself standing in the middle of the sidewalk just taking it all in. All of the business professionals wearing suites and hurriedly walking through the crisp morning air on their way to the metro station (luckily the closest metro is less than a 5 minute walk!) However, on this particular morning I decided I was going to walk instead of using the metro.
I wandered through the nearby neighborhood with the capital building in sight! I have to admit- that view never gets old! I had walked about ¾ a mile when I decided I needed to find a place to warm up. Let’s not forget I am a Floridian used to the warmth and it was a chilly 35 degrees in DC that day! My first stop was at the Smithsonian National Museum of American Indians. I did not spend much time here, but the warmth was welcomed! Next, I found myself exploring the Hirshhorn Museum. If you haven’t been to the Hirshhorn, you’ve got to go and check out the “Pulse” exhibit! It uses your heartbeat to adjust the beat to the lights, play music, and so much more. It was my favorite exhibit in the museum by far.
Then, I ran across the National Library. Wow. It is SO BIG! Unfortunately I didn’t go inside and venture around- but there is always next time! Finally I made it to the Nation’s Capital building! I stood in awe of this building just thinking about all of the important decisions and significant people that had stood right here in this building.
I walked through the gardens of the Smithsonian Castle and found myself standing in front of Ted’s office building. Ted took his lunch break with me where we walked to see the Washington Monument and he gave me directions to visit the White House! I explored the WWII monument and found myself at the Lincoln Memorial. Standing at the Lincoln Memorial had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. It was even bigger than I had imagined! As I was walking past the reflecting pool a squirrel chased me down and attempted to crawl up my leg! A lady sat on a bench as I passed her running from the little guy laughing and said I was “Cinderella”) ha!
Last stop of the day was to find the White house! What a good spot to sit back and “people watch.” I’m not sure if I have mentioned before but people watching is one of my favorite past times. Here I watched people from all walks of life stopping to take selfies in front of the White House- let’s just say, not all of their photos were…appropriate- if you know what I mean. By this time I had walked 10 miles, my feet where killing me (clearly my foot ware was not appropriate as evidenced by the 4 blisters I had on my feet.) I found the metro station and made my way back to Ted’s with about 30 minutes to relax before Ted made it home. It had been a long day for both of us so we decided to find a nearby spot to have dinner and call it a night. We walked to a place called ‘Ted’s Bulletin’ where I ate the best fried chicken I have EVER eaten in my life. After all- calories don’t count on vacation, right? I have to say- day one was a successful solo day in DC!
We decided to cook breakfast tacos at home and get a later start to the day. For a city that wakes up early- nothing is open until close to 11 o’clock! We caught the metro and started our exploring at the Holocaust Museum. What a heart wrenching place. This museum was such an eye opening experience. Next we explored the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I still cannot believe how many museums there are in DC and how big they all are! By the time we finished there it was getting dark and we were off to explore the National Zoo’s Christmas light display! This brought me back to my childhood growing up on a zoo and for the first time in 8 years- it finally felt like Christmas time.
We explored Dupont Circle and enjoyed pizza at a cute little place called Pizza Paradiso. Can we say- YUM!? We ended the day with nearly 12 miles of walking!
We started day 3 with brunch at Ted’s Bulletin where I ate the best homemade blueberry cheesecake poptart known to man. We also had some yummy chicken biscuits here! Then we were off to the Eastern Market before the rain set in! What a cute little market with fresh plants, produce, crafts, and other goods! Sadly, at this time the rain began so we ventured back home to watch football and relax.
Once the rain let up a bit we took the metro in and explored the Museum of American History. I have got to say- this may have been my favorite museum of the trip!
We explored awhile and found ourselves enjoying a drink and nomming on the BEST buff-chicken dip in the city at The Ugly Mug. Sadly the rain stopped us from watching the National Boat Parade at the Warf.
The weather was still not great- but at least it had warmed up a bit! We explored The Warf, had lunch at the Shake Shack (umm, YUM again!) What a cool spot to hang out!
Next stop- Old Town Alexandria! This cute town had all kinds of shops and the streets were lined with Christmas lights. This town felt homey and welcoming. I can see why people want to live here- that’s for sure!
After making back home to relax for a bit- it was time to go see the National Christmas Tree! As we were walking to the metro we noticed a lot of activity happening at the local park. We stopped to see what all the commotion was and there was a gathering for the lighting of the Menorah! They were handing out hot chocolate and goodies to everyone. Finally we made it the National Tree! Surrounding it were multiple smaller trees representing every state and region associated with the United States. Here the National Menorah was also being lit. We saw the White House lit up at night and just took in all the sights (and or course did some people watching, because Ted is just as much into that as I am. But who isn’t?!) 😉
We grabbed a quick sandwich at the Organic Market and called it a night.
My last day in DC was also a solo day. I woke up early and had to pace around the house listening to the kids stampeding around upstairs. I caught the metro and made my way to China Town. Let’s just say- nobody warned me about how sketchy this area was! There wasn’t a lot to see so I explored a while and made my way to the Museum of Art and the National Portrait Gallery. Outside the museum the Christmas Market had come alive. I strolled through the market and indulged in a Dulce De Leche churro. Next, I found Ford’s Theater and did some shopping at a few local tourist stops.
Next stop- Arlington National Cemetery!
I took the metro in and walked through the cemetery that houses the remains of so many individuals that died for our country. What a humbling experience this was. I was able to witness the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and see President Kennedy’s grave. Standing on the top of a hill and looking down at graves as far as you can see does something to you. It makes you feel things that you can’t quite explain.
My last night in DC was by far the most memorable.
I happened to be walking past the Capital Building when I noticed hundreds of people gathering to watch the funeral procession arrive for President George HW Bush. As I watched the procession arrive and drive around the capital I realized how lucky I was to be a part of such a moving experience. President Bush was a great man, a hero, the epitome of an American. I stood behind the cannons as they shot off the 21 gun salute in honor of our 41st President.
That night Ted and I waited in line for over 2 hours in the crisp air outside of the Capital Building in order to pay our respects to President Bush. Hundreds of people were lined up in rows inside and outside of the building- some had been waiting for hours before they let anyone inside! We stood at his casket and witnessed the changing of the guards from every unit of the Armed Forces of the United States. Standing along side the casket of an American legend, a man with such integrity and courage left me feeling such gratitude. I am grateful that this man once led our country and I was given this opportunity to pay my respect to him as he left this world. We stood in silence for probably 15 minutes just absorbing the moment and taking it all in before we left and signed our names in the book of condolences.
It was a sad day to lay a President to rest, but I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to experience this moment in history first hand. I will remember this night for the rest of my life.
And just like that- my trip to DC was over! We nommed on some yummy tacos at District Taco and finished the night with over 15 miles of walking! I 5 days I was able to eat all the good food and soak in so much history, culture, and of course Ted time!
I had to be at the airport at an early 6am where I had to say yet another hard goodbye to Ted as I flew back to Florida.
Until next time DC!