Saturday, June 8, 2013

Our nation’s capitol

Washington DC the first week of June was hot! And don’t even talk to me about the humidity that caused us to change our clothes in the middle of the day and feel sticky and smelly most of the time. We managed to do quite a bit and get around town and have fun despite the heat though.

We spent last weekend in DC for no other reason than to be a tourist and enjoy the city. And enjoy we did!

First, transportation. I had assumed we’d spend most of our travel around on the Metro or on foot, but we actually ended up mostly using Capital Bikeshare and it was awesome. We bought a three-day pass for $15 each and away we went. It’s the perfect way to see the city. You get to cruise by grand museums, through old neighborhoods with big trees, and through lively business districts all from the seat of a bike.

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It has been a while since I’ve been to DC and I never really spent much time on the street on a bike. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the plentiful and innovative bike lanes throughout the city. In addition to the typical striped bike lanes, there were two way bikeways between the parking lane and the sidewalk with vertical buffers.

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There were some green bike lanes and bike boxes. Most interesting were the lanes in the middle of a busy street in downtown DC. Yep, right between buses and cars whizzing by was an ample bike lane! Despite the traffic, I felt pretty safe – especially because there were so many cyclists and many of them using bikeshare bikes.

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Speaking of bikes, we happened to be in town during the DC Tour de Fat. We couldn’t resist the Colorado-based New Belgium event. We were particularly drawn by the main stage having an hour of The Moth! Not only did we get to drink a Ranger beer and see people ride ridiculous bikes (see below), but we also got to see true stories told live on stage without notes – The Moth (I highly recommend the podcast!).

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The first night in DC we took advantage of free jazz in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. It was a relaxing way to end a day of walking and biking around the city.  We sat at the edge of a pool, watched people, drank sangria, and soaked our hot feet in the cool water all while listening to Chopteeth (“afrofunk big band” music).

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Our trip was definitely fueled by snacks and coffee! We visited Filter coffee near Dupont Circle (they had a Salvagetti sticker on their grinder), which was quite good and had this amusing but hilarious sign on their wall:

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We ate red velvet cupcakes from a cupcake truck and thick blueberry pie from Dangerously Delicious.

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I want to make note of a fabulous place that had the most eclectic list of beers on tapChurchkey. I started with a New Zealand IPA called Epic Armageddon, but we quickly moved on to share a sampler of beers and get a sense of the variety. We had a tripel from Belgium – Dulle Teve, a farmhouse ale from Belgium – Saison Dupont, a coffee-infused imperial stout from Canada – Peche Mortel, and a Belgian strong pale ale from Switzerland that was brewed with pinot noir wort – L’ Amoureuse No. 2. So good…

We visited Eastern Market on Saturday morning. The market is part farmers market, part urban flea market, and part indoor artisan food market. While we enjoyed perusing the various flea market items and outdoor plants and jewelry, I think our favorite part was the indoor market. It was well-lit with overhead skylights and full of fantastic looking foods – fresh meats, cheeses, seafood, fresh pasta, pastries and pies, and more! Here are some shots from both the indoor and outdoor portions:

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Of course, we took in a few museums. The only two we spent any real time at were the National Building Museum and the Hirshorn (modern art). We popped into the Museum of Natural History and a few others but found that the crowds were a bit too much for us. Here are some shots from the museum portion of the trip:

National Building Museum

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National Museum of the American Indian

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The Hirshorn

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Seth adding to the art at the Hirshorn.

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One of the highlights of the trip and something I was very much looking forward to was the journey to Arlington, VA, for food at Ravi Kabob! Their kabobs and bread and chickpea sauce are my all time favorite foods. If you ever get a chance to go there – do not hesitate! Not sure my photo does it justice, but this photo represents a little bit of heaven for me.

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After a sweaty but enjoyable few days in DC, we headed out for National airport on the beautiful Metro (hard to ride a bike with luggage…).

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That was our weekend in DC. That is all.