The Washington DC Spring Break Extravaganza - Day 2

March 28, 2013

Our hotel is perfectly fine. I thought we had a free breakfast, but we can't find any record of that. But besides that, the hotel is fine. We're two blocks away from a Metro stop and after a bit of trying to figure out how the cards work (and first where to buy the cards), we were on our way.

We knew we had an 1130a lunch date with Diane and her daughter, but we were a little late to eat breakfast before our lunch, so we had the next best thing. Starbucks. You can never go wrong with Starbucks. Chai will soothe your grumbling stomach for as little or as long as you need it to. It's magic, I tells ya!!

Drinks in hand, we went along our merry way to see where the White House was. Or we thought we were. I should have known better than to trust the map on my phone. I thought we were traveling along the right direction on Pennsylvania Avenue. But I didn't remember the basic rule of traveling, "Pay attention to your surroundings and don't rely solely on technology." We started at 13th Street. By the time we were at 7th Street, I realized we were going the wrong way. We should have only walked 3 blocks to 16th Street (1600 Penn, anyone??). The cool part was that we walked by the National Archives and the massive line around the block to see the Declaration of Independence and other important documents from America's past. It would be cool to see, but we didn't have time to wait in line. Lunch was waiting.

Well, lunch was still some time away, so we decided to try to go where we originally wanted to go. The White House. We got to the general area and I spent more time looking at my phone and staring off into the fringe areas wondering where the White House would be.

Me: "Ok. I think it's around here somewhere."
Elias: "Yeah. It's right in front of you."

And it was. So twice in a short span of time, I broke the cardinal travel rule about technology. I am a moron.

We tried to set up a White House Tour before we left Chicago, but it was already going to be a hard ticket to get. Once you added the Sequester to the mix, the gates of the White House were as close as we were going to be. And I will go on record...I understand why they shut down the tours. It's disappointing, but that's why the Sequester is all about, right?? Disappointing everyone and ruining everything??

At this point, we were only a few blocks away from our lunch stop, so we made our way over to Chef Geoff's. Diane had offered this up as a place to try because it was close to where we thought we'd be during the day. It actually ended up being pretty perfect. Diane brought her daughter along and we had a lovely lunch. Chef Geoff's had a bunch of items on their "Bacon Bar" menu and as we all know, bacon makes everything better. Elias got the brownie with the bacon and coconut frosting. Mighty tasty. Oh, bacon...

During our walk to the White House (after going the wrong way initially), we saw some of the Smithsonian museums. And we scoped out the American History Museum. We knew this is where the Ruby Slippers lived. And Oscar the Grouch. And Diane said there was a whole section on the Inaugural Gowns of the First Ladies.

We never did see Oscar the Grouch, but we did see the gowns. We saw Kermit the Frog (Yes!!) and one of the first Apple Computers. The museum was pretty cool. Sometimes when you think of history, it always is the oldest crap that you immediately think of. The knight's armor from the 1400's. But seeing the cloaks from the Suffragettes or Calvin Coolidge's overcoat from his swearing in as President (I think that was his. He was a...large president), that was pretty cool. It wasn't all clothes. But there was the Elphaba costume from Wicked. That was pretty fab too.

We sat for a few minutes to figure out our game plan for the rest of the day. The decision was to head west. We could blow through the Washington Monument, then the World War II Memorial. Once we were done there, we could head towards the Lincoln Memorial and turn back through the Vietnam Memorial before we met up with Jim for dinner near the White House. It was a plan.

And for once, our plan totally worked out.

Please don't think I am glossing over the monuments and memorials in any way. We spent time at the WWII and Vietnam Memorials and gave them the respect they deserved. I tried to give Elias some of the history I knew about these memorials. The Vietnam Memorial did give me a lump in the throat when I saw a letter addressed to a man c/o the US Army: Heaven was seen on the ledge where the man's name must have been. It's hard to think that these were real people. It also made me wonder what the Iraq/Afghanistan Memorials will look like in 20 years.

Jim was going to meet us near the White House and gave some vague directions on where to meet. Considering I had been unable to actually see the White House until it was pointed out to me, I was understandably wary. Luckily, we were running late(ish) and Jim was having traffic issues. So we were both driving/walking towards each other and we were able to coordinate where we were. We luckily found each other and jumped into his car quickly like we had just committed a crime. Then, we were on our way to Georgetown for dinner.

Dinner was at Murphy's Tavern. It's a nice neighborhood pub where JFK proposed to Jackie (Elias was very surprised by this...cause it wasn't a big, fancy restaurant). It was also nice to see a bit of Georgetown. And it was really nice to not have to drive.

I can't stress enough that it is really nice to not have to drive. I would be a mess at this point. I'm a suburban girl and a suburban driver. I would have been a nervous wreck, worried about parking, worried about traffic, worried about everything. The Metro is sooooo the way to go.

The tavern was really fun. Not pretentious. Good food. We got oysters that Elias sucked down hard (and hasn't stopped talking about). We got there pretty early and the place was packed by the time we left. Elias loved that a seeing eye dog came in with its owner near the end of our dinner and the dog just hunkered down and laid on the floor all quiet like. As we were leaving, the dog was itching its face. Sure, we had to walk the long way around, cause the dog was kind of in the way, but it was a fantastic dog.

On the way back to the hotel, we realized we were just over the bridge from our hotel. We pulled out the map on our phone to see where our hotel was and like earlier...it was literally on the corner in front of us. Bah!! Technology!!

Both Elias and I collapsed into a heap when we got back in the hotel. It was a long day. But it was a good day. We started planning out Friday's adventure. It was going to be a good one. If our plans had anything to say about it.

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