DC Roadtrip

Right after we moved into our new apartment, we decided to take a quick roadtrip to DC, since Rob hadn’t been there since he visited me during my internship there 3 years ago. Plus, life was about to get crazy, and we knew it’d be unlikely to be able to take any little trips once school started. Since I could work from anywhere with Internet, we decided to go Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon.

If you go to Washington, D.C. please, please, please go to Lauriol Plaza and order a plate of steak fajitas with a pitcher of swirled margaritas (to share, of course). This is my favorite restaurant in the city, and it certainly did not disappoint when we went straight there Thursday evening with Stephanie. Oh, and their thin, salty chips and warm, roasted salsa are incomparable. Plus, you can’t beat valet parking in DC. After the perfect meal with my favorite people, we took a driving tour around the city. Seeing the monuments and gorgeous buildings at night is one of my favorite things to do there. It just never gets old. The white marble lit up by the moon – so pretty.

On Friday, we decided to drive over to Alexandria, another place Rob had never seen before. It’s one of many DC suburbs, but it’s probably my favorite. It has the cutest historical downtown, is nestled up against a beautiful waterfront, has tons of restaurants and shopping, and feels so Americana. While I worked in Starbucks for a few hours, Rob checked out the Torpedo Factory Art Center, right on Alexandria’s Potomac River waterfront. There, you can visit 82 artists’ studios, six galleries, two workshops, and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. They also have art classes available! The Torpedo Factory Art Center houses artwork in a wide variety of media including painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, stained glass, fiber, printmaking, and sculpture. The artists invite visitors to join them in their studios and observe their creative processes. I had seen it briefly once before, but Rob really enjoyed it!

Once together, we grabbed lunch at a Thai restaurant, worked on some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cones, and then did some shopping before catching the Metro at King Street to meet Stephanie at Shophouse for an early dinner. Many of you know how much Rob and I love Chipotle, but Shophouse is a spinoff of Chipotle, created and owned by the same CEO, Steve Ells. For the longest time, there was only one location in the entire world: DuPont Circle, Washington DC. They’ve just announced, however, that they’ll be opening another branch in Georgetown. I’m hoping and praying that they’ll inch closer to Charlottesville soon! Anyhow, Shophouse serves dishes inspired by the flavorful cuisine of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. You can mix and match all sorts of ingredients to create your unique dish. Another “fast casual” at its finest.

Friday night was the perfect night for a Washington Nationals baseball game. We got to meet some presidents, enjoy ball game food, catch a gorgeous sunset, and even a W for the Nats! #Natitude. If you’re visiting DC during baseball season, be sure to check out their schedule for a game — tickets are inexpensive for such a fun experience.

Before heading home on Saturday, we got lunch at the Museum of the American Indian – a little-known, great lunch spot if you’re on the Mall. The Mitsitam Cafe (meaning, “Let’s Eat!”) provides visitors the opportunity to “enjoy the indigenous cuisines of the Americas and to explore the history of Native foods. The Cafe features Native foods found throughout the Western Hemisphere, including the Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso America and the Great Plains. Each of the five food stations depict regional lifeways related to cooking techniques, ingredients, and flavors found in both traditional and contemporary dishes. Selections include authentic Native foods such as traditional fry bread and corn totopos as well as contemporary items with a Native American twist—think buffalo burgers!” And buffalo burgers, we ate! Then, it was time to walk it off with a tour of the museum. Our favorite exhibition was about Native identity. “For Native people, identity—who you are, how you dress, what you think, where you fit in, and how you see yourself in the world—has been shaped by language, place, community membership, social and political consciousness, and customs and beliefs. But Native identity has also been influenced by a legacy of legal policies that have sought to determine who is Indian and who is not. The issue of Native identity continues to resonate today, as Native people across the Americas seek to claim the future on their own terms.” Really interesting!

Following the museum, we did something we like to do in any city we visit: ride bikes :-). We grabbed a couple Capital Bikeshare bikes near the museum and took them for a spin on the Mall. We rode all the way to the Washington Monument, past the WWII Memorial, along the Reflecting Pool, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and then all the way back toward the Capitol where we docked our bikes. I remember back to when I spent my internship summer with my sister in DC (before they had the Capital Bikeshare program in place) and we would load up our bikes in the car just to ride on the Mall. How great that you can rent for very little cost right there on the Mall! It is the best way to see the expanse of the Mall, because it is a deceptively long distance to cover on foot.

What a perfect little get-away to DC! We had the best time, and are so thankful that Stephanie graciously hosted us at her house. We loved spending time with her in such a fun city! Check out her fabulous Bucket List for summers in DC.

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