The finale, the end, the conclusion, the close, the finish…..or is it! Or could it be the beginnings of something new as the posts change from their usual content of our life, travels and adventures throughout the USA to encompass so much more.
The capital of the USA and where the eyes of the world are so often focused. This beautiful city on the Potomac River is chock full of museums, iconic monuments and history. It is a place where even in the midday heat of a blistering summers day the power broker will not relinquish his fine wool suit and where the narrow margin of wearing runners with skirts, stockings and corporate respectability is very much accepted. It is also the only place in the world where you can walk down the street and see Dorothy’s ruby slippers, a nuclear missile, stand at the Lincoln Memorial on the exact spot where Martin Luther King Jnr gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech in 1963 and see life size images which barely grasp the consequence and horrors of war all in one day.
We have been so very fortunate to have visited Washington on two occasions now. Both times I have walked this incredible city wide-eyed and awe struck. On my first visit last year I did all of the tourist things. The museums, the monuments, the history, the flag flying at the Capitol Building etc. etc. etc. however this time I did things a little differently. I saw the charmingly sweet row-houses, the neighborhoods and I went off the beaten and well worn tourist tracks of DC.
Here’s a little of what I got up to:
I found the Lincoln Book Tower. Just seek out the winding stair case in Ford’s Theatre and you will find a 34 foot tower of books (around 6,800 books to be precise) all relating to Abraham Lincoln. Impressive to a book lover to say the least!
Very luckily I was able to volunteer for a day at an amazing community program which promotes education, food and opportunity. For over 35 years, the lovely Martha’s Table has been working very hard to build a better community for the poor by trying to break the circle of poverty. Martha’s is a beautiful and kind place to find yourself in and their thrift shop, which is located right next door, is pretty fab also. Being in places such as this makes you appreciate how truly blessed and thankful you should be for all that you have.
Another interesting quirk I found was Darth Vader on the Washington National Cathedral. I kid you not. He is a grotesque, which is not to be confused with a gargoyle. Gargoyles spout water when it rains and grotesque’s are purely decorative. For all the stiff suits and white collars in Washington, someone had a sense of humor. I thought it was pretty wonderful.
Fabulous Vintage! Anyone who knows me well will know I love vintage, recycled, thrift shop and op shop clothing and DC is a mecca for fabulous vintage. There are some really great stores here and I picked up a couple of quirky and super cute pieces in Martha’s Outfitters which were as cheap as chips. Later in the week I found a beautiful vintage 70’s disco dress which I adore in Junction Vintage – one of my all time favorite vintage stores now and I purchased a dear little 1940’s clutch from Meeps (another now favorite store). Look, I realise my wardrobe resembles that of one belonging to a bag lady but I love it and every eccentric and unconventional little piece in it.
Row-Houses and suburbs……
Honorable mentions on this trip: The notoriety of the restaurants, bars and cafes in DC are not undeserved and I will list a few that FB and I enjoyed together.
- Pearl Dive Oyster Palace: I love everything about this place from the oxidized sign hanging out the front to the weathered floor boards to the amazing seafood studded salsa. Great cocktails, freshest of oysters and fab seafood. This place is a 10/10 for all the right reasons. It does however get very busy and very noisy – you may struggle to hear the waiter reel off the specials but if you can handle that then head to 1612 14th St NW Washington.
- Teddy and the Bully Bar: A Theodore Roosevelt inspired bar! What could be better. Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt was an icon and one of the most popular and endearing presidents of the US. The Bully Bar is the go to place if you want to indulge in strong dark inebriating liquor – I love that word, we don’t use it in Australia we say spirits. Anyway, the liquor comes by the barrel full or indulge in a fabulous ‘back in vogue’ cocktail just as they were served in the Golden Era. Now some of the hits straight up are a little tough to get through if you are not used to straight strong spirits but just remember the famous quote by Teddy ‘believe you can and you’re half way there’. So with an ‘I can do belief and attitude’ I downed some pretty impressive cask-aged Old Fashions and hard liquor. This is a great place for a late night drink and I could not recommend it more highly. Located at 1200 19th St NW Washington and the best seat you will find is at the bar.
- Dolcezza – Georgetown I love gelato and I love great coffee and you will get both at this uber cool little café bar. Hand-crafted gelato made from local ingredients and creamy aromatic espresso. And what better way to enjoy both than by indulging in an affagato. ‘Stupendous’…..I have absolutely no other word that would have described how good this was. I actually felt like a cigarette afterward and I don’t even smoke!
- Ping Pong – Chinatown This is a chic, cosmopolitan little tea house offering up some of the best dim sum around. They serve neatly made little steaming parcels of perfection. Match this with one of their stunning and aromatic cocktails or choose from their selection of delicate and sweetly scented teas which all makes for a pretty near perfect meal.
Other things we got up to:
- National Zoological Park: By enlarge, I’m not big on zoo’s per say (and please don’t get me started on circus’s!!) but this zoo is pretty darn good. It does appear they take great care with their animals. It is also the oldest zoo in the US and it is part of the Smithsonian Institute. As with most attractions in Washington, it is free entry. And did you know that an adult elephant can poo more than 200 pounds in a single day!
- Street art and street music: This is such a vibrant, creative, dynamic and artistic city. While out walking the streets we came across some locals and their street art and after that, happened upon some pretty hip and very cool musicians. A melting pot of these small things all go in to making this world a little brighter and a little happier.
So there we go. Washington done and dusted. And as with most travel or exploring, your beautiful paths and the interesting things and our amazing world will not be discovered unless one can get themselves lost…… even if only for the briefest and most magical of moments xx