A Week in Washington, DC

I mentioned this in one of my early November posts, but every trip that I took this summer was for something – a conference, a wedding, the pageant – there was no trip just to get away and relax. So when I looked at Pitt’s academic calendar and realized that we had the whole week of Thanksgiving off from classes this year, it seemed like the perfect time to get away.

We wanted to go somewhere driveable, rather than flying, and for us that puts a tighter restriction on the distance, since we can’t drive for as many hours a day as the average person. You know how you feel tired after a day in the car, even if you’re not actually the one driving? For me, it feels like that plus extra physical tiredness. So DC is the perfect destination for us – it’s only about a 5 hour drive for us, and there’s so much to do when we’re there.

We stayed at One Washington Circle Hotel, which was super conveniently located. We ended up driving a lot, but it’s very near a metro stop, and there were so many restaurants and cafes walkable from the hotel. We stayed in a one bedroom suite, and it was roomy – it even had a balcony! Plus, there was no pet fee, which was such a bonus. Clearly, Lily settled right in. She’s gotten so much better about not freaking out at hotels.

We didn’t want to pack our trip with too much stuff, since the point was to relax a bit, and because it can take us longer than usual to get ready in a hotel, without our usual stuff. So we did a mix of stops at museums, dinners out, and ordering in to the hotel.

Our first full day there, we went to dinner at Jaleo, which was amazing! Zaytinya is one of my absolute favorite restaurants, and both Zaytinya and Jaleo are owned by José Andrés. It was one of those times where I felt like I couldn’t possibly eat anything else, but I didn’t want to stop because everything was just so good!

The next day, our big stop was the Newseum. I had been wanting to go for a while, but when I heard that it was closing at the end of December, I knew that I HAD to go. I got to pose as a news anchor, see the front pages of that day’s newspapers from across the country and the world, and see a really fun exhibit about Jon Stewart and other late night hosts. For dinner that night, we went to North Italia, which was less than a 5 minute walk from the hotel, where I got an incredible short ribs dish and my sister got their “famous” bolognese. So good!

On Wednesday, we went to the National Portrait Gallery during the day. I knew that a portrait of Lin-Manuel Miranda had recently been added, so of course I wanted to see it! There was also a really intimate shot of Anna Wintour in her apartment, and the truly iconic Michelle Obama painting. And those are just a few highlights – there was so much art that I could have spent days in the gallery exploring it all. Wednesday evening, we had our big Thanksgiving meal a night early, at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant. Because our reservation wasn’t until 8 PM, and the rest of the grounds closed at 5 PM, we didn’t actually get to explore the grounds. We did, however, enjoy the extensive buffet spread they had set up! I love seeing the whole extended family on Thanksgiving, but it was nice to do something a little more low-key this year.

We started Thanksgiving Day by watching the parade and eating leftover Pumpkin Pie that the Inn had kindly had sent home with us. Later on, we went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This was another museum where I would have needed a few days to see everything. I loved how the history floors were set up – you took an elevator down to the bottom floor – going “back” in time – and then walked around and up ramps to move between floors and time periods. It was inclusive design done well – I didn’t have to find a separate wheelchair path to get around. I was really impressed! And of course, the museum itself was incredible. There was so much to take in. You used to need timed-entry tickets to get in, but now on weekdays from September – February, no tickets are needed.

On Friday, we packed up and headed back home. We had a great trip, and I’m already looking forward to going back! DC is one of those places where no matter how long I’m there, there are always more things I want to do.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Melissa F.

    I love DC! So much to see and do there. My son and I just spent a few days there for a college visit. I'm hoping he chooses that school so I get to go back. Glad you enjoyed!

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