Swamp Soiree ~ D.C. Summer Weekend

There were a few reasons I wanted to visit D.C. this past weekend but the #1 reason was to visit my good friend Maura – the one who ran the Paris Marathon with me.  She recently moved and BOUGHT A HOUSE!  My other friend Emma has been living there for the good part of last year and it was about time I went to visit them both.  Four of us from NYC picked out a weekend and scheduled our various forms of transportation.  Jackie and Jess were smart and snagged trains when they were around a decent price range, probably $100 each way if I remember correctly.  I was in procrastination mode and waited until they got to $200 and refused to pay that much.

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Down to D.C. For Some Blossoms and Miles

One of the many wonderful (and one of my favorite) things about spring is the wide variety of flowers blooming all around.  Even in this concrete jungle, we have our own array of floral but this past weekend was a treat to travel down to Washington D.C..  A few of my friends and I had all lucked out with the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler lottery, so of course we decided to make a weekend out of it.

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There are a number of ways to make your way down to D.C. – bus, train, car, plane – and we opted for the speedy Amtrak.  Of course by the time that we booked out tickets, the only reasonable priced train was at 6am.  Hello Penn Station. Just three and a half short hours and we were there.  First stop was of course food and off to Founding Farmers we went.  Since this place is one hot spot in the city, a reservation is a must.

Founding Farmers
1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006

IMG_8418 IMG_8410 ^^ A stacked menu that left us drooling and deliberating over options.  We of course had to start with the beignets for the table, drinks all around, and countless refills of coffee.

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~ bloody mary for jackie {infused pepper vodka, FF spicy bloody mary blend…tested this and it was out of this world} ~ strawberry fizz {american harvest vodka, lime, strawberry, egg white, vanilla} for me ~ mimosa for lindsay ~ pimm’s cup for sam {pimm’s no. 1, curacao, FF ginger beer, lime, cucumber, mint} ~

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Once breakfast was finished, we dropped off our bags where we were staying and went to pick up our bibs at the National Building Museum, perused the goodies and things that we really didn’t need to purchase, and purchase some last minute fuel options (Honey Stinger for the win!)

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Next up…walking ALL OVER D.C.!  This was the first time that Jackie had ever been to D.C. and so I did my best as tour guide to show her the hotspots.  No, I did not walk backwards or carry a little tour guide flag, but I sure thought about it.  Since everyone else and their mom happened to be in the city, museums were out of the question – lines on lines on lines.  Plus it was such a gorgeous day that staying indoors would have been a waste of the weather.

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IMG_8458 IMG_8438 IMG_8448 We also happened to stumble upon a kite festival and supposed pillow fight.  I never actually saw anyone chucking feather filled sacks around but the geo-filters on Snapchat were telling us otherwise.  Because everything is shared and confirmed via social media these days.

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~ Lindsay ~ Jackie ~ Sam ~ Kaitlin ~

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IMG_8463IMG_8465 We must have been up to at least 6 or 7 miles at this point.  Casual jaunt around town, which may not have been the best idea if we were really going out for a PR in Sunday’s race buuuuut since it was more about soaking in the city, we didn’t care.

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Later in the afternoon we walked up to a sports bar in the Adams Morgan part of town.  The goal was to find a place with decent food, maybe some good brews, and most importantly a place to sit and rest our feet while watching the Final Four matches.  Of course the minute we arrive, the electricity went out ALL around the block.  This actually worked in our favor as people then departed the bar, leaving us with one clutch table to sit at.  For the next three hours, we sat snacking and watching Villanova annihilate Oklahoma, and then North Carolina take on Syracuse.

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Stay tuned for the chilly Cherry Blossom 10 mile race and a tasty brunch!

Arlington and Traveling in Our Nation’s Capital

What’s great about Potomac, MD is that it’s just a short drive from the main hub of D.C.  Each part of the weekend, we spent some time down there, but would drive back home for dinner and meet up with some other family friends.

~ DAY 2 ~

The second day of our trip started down at Arlington National Cemetery.  My great-grandfather was involved in the armed forces and so visiting such an honorable place often holds a bit more meaning for my family.  We spent some time walking amongst the thousands of graves before taking the bus tour and my heart went out to the family and friends who lost their loved ones.

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IMG_6113IMG_6114A veteran’s group performing a tribute in front of the Tomb of the Unknown. 

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“The energy – the faith – the devotion which we bring to the endeavor will light our country and all who serve it and the glow from that fire can truly light the world” – @ Arlington National Cemetery (JFK Memorial) 

Later in the afternoon, we met up with a retired professor, who specialized in what seemed to be every piece of American history.  The conversation started surrounding the Arlington cemetery, it’s creation and uses, and later expanded into the Civil War, the history of Washington D.C. and more.  I swear, my grandma and I could have sat outside that pub for hours in gorgeous afternoon and listen to him speak.  I especially loved seeing her so engaged in the conversation and throwing all these fabulous facts out about our nation’s history.

IMG_6111Did you know that the Lincoln Memorial was once going to be placed around 16th street because he was the 16th president?  Well, plans changed mostly due to the symbolic meaning of the current location.  Most importantly, it’s at the foot of the Lee Mansion and having Lincoln look over Lee’s property for eternity to come, was almost a dig at the Lee family.  They had lost their property to the Union during the war, but would be forever reminded by the location of the Lincoln Memorial, just across the bridge.

~ DAY 3 ~

On Sunday we took a trip down to the canal and Potomac River, where I ran for the first time in a few weeks (thank you plantar fasciitis) and Nance and Joan went for a stroll.

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I was in love with the dirt path and nature all around me – enough to unplug my iphone and run simply to the sound of the water and the conversations of people passing by.  We showered and brunched at a local Irish spot and then it was off to the airport.  I’m pretty pooped out from flying, or rather unreliable airports.  Even though I was set to depart at 5:20, my plane encountered two delays, which left me in the airport for about 4 hours longer than planned.  Ah well, we can’t win it all.  But, I am truly blessed to have such wonderful and inspirational family to look up to and travel with.

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“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

One Marvelous Adventure to D.C.

This past weekend I took a trip south to stay near our nation’s capitol.  There, I met up with my grandmother and her family friends for some fabulous adventures, excellent site-seeing, and tasty eats.  Even though I knew we were staying in Potomac, I somehow told people I was staying in Alexandria.  Where I came up with Alexandria, I have no idea but seeing as it was a bit far to the capitol, I had to save the November Project for a separate trip.

My mom had actually grown up in the area and so for years I had heard stories about the town and their home.  Finally I was able to piece it all together and loved seeing my grandma’s face light up as she recalled different memories and hilarious stories.

IMG_6331The first and last time that I had visited these family friends was when I was just over 2 years old and had been traveling back from living in England.  Here’s a little then and now picture.  Ok, we all know that throwback pictures are always cuter 🙂

~ DAY 1 ~

IMG_6073 IMG_6075good friends in front of the capitol ^^ below, it looks like they are trying to copy the Louvre, no?

IMG_6079can you spot one of the newest museums in town?  the NEWSEUM!  something I will certainly check out on my next trip to town 🙂

IMG_6080our point of destination – the national gallery of art

IMG_6081 so artsy, I know

IMG_6332 our main goal was to visit the Degas/Cassat exhibit, which was only going to be open until early October!  It highlighted the relationship between the two impressionist artists and the impact they had on one another’s art and the movement.  I much prefer impressionist art to anything else, so I was one happy camper.

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After a couple hours of education, we drove out of the main center and up into Georgetown.  There we spent some time shopping and gawking at the people in line for the iphone 6.

IMG_6091While there are plenty of wonderful shops on the main drive, we did the most damage at Vineyard Vines.  There, I was proud to pick out my first pieces of whale clothing and they may be the only thing I’m looking forward to about winter.  Oh, and I swear, if any man dressed in Vineyard Vines (got to love those patterns) comes up to me, I’m sold. 😉

IMG_6328Joan insisted that I take a picture in front of the famous canal – the same canal that we were walk along on Sunday morning. This reminds me of when I was in Amsterdam and took a picture in front of their canals.

IMG_6094 IMG_6100the school my grandmother attended in the 4th and 5th grade!  Back then it was named the Hardy School and has since changed hands, but the structure remains the same.

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After a day of travel, we were ready to dig in.  Of course, now that I write that sentence, I’m completely ready for a juice detox (and I NEVER say that).  Anyhoo, off to the famous Peking Restaurant for some gourmet Chinese food.  I let our hosts handle the ordering and we ended up with more than enough beef, pork, and noodles to last us for days.

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Their claim to fame is the Peking Duck, which is carved right at your table.  Nancy and I were not really in the mood for some duck, but maybe another time.  With full bellies, we drove back home for some baseball and a good night’s sleep.  Day one complete and ready for more marvelous adventures anon!

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Exploring Washington D.C.

First off, Happy Veteran’s Day.  I would like to acknowledge all the brave men and women who have fought for our country.  I saw a few older vets down in D.C. as they visited the various memorials.  I swear, it just about melted my heart.  God Bless America.

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Have you ever been on a trip by yourself?  No, not taking the bus to see someone.  Legitimately solo.  Sure, I traveled across the country without knowing anyone and happen to walk to and from work by myself each day, but taking a trip to a different city is something else.

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Growing up, I learned to be independent.  I would run errands on my own, go running on my own, go to the farmer’s markets, and I even went to see a movie on my own.  Why?  Well, even if no one was around or interested, I still wanted to do it.  People often say that life doesn’t happen when we have everything settled in our lives.  In fact, it’s often occurring while we are making plans, so why hold out?  This mentality probably is related to my go-go-go personality, sometimes a bad thing because it creates the “fear of missing out” mentality.  I didn’t want to look back on my life and realized I didn’t take those chances, make those trips, or do the things I wanted to do.

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Because of my independence, I have a high sense of confidence and am confident in my ability to navigate life – both in terms of literally navigating directions, but having awareness of myself as well as my goals and expectations. There’s a lot more to this conversation than a simple paragraph, but it’s something I wanted to touch upon.  This also comes with the fact that I may trust myself and my surroundings a little too much, but that’s why we learn and keep money on my for taxi fare (Thanks to both sets of grandparents for that lesson).

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Often there are times where I feel different.  Others where I feel invincible. Times where I feel this sense of confidence has hindered my ability to relate to some of the people at school, especially during those college years where it’s normal to just go into your friend’s room and chat, vent, or simply crash for a few hours.  Even other times where I feel as if I’ve experienced so much more.

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Anyways, this past weekend I decided to make an impromptu trip to Washington D.C.  My options were between Boston and D.C. and since my friend in Boston wasn’t going to be around most of the weekend, D.C. it was.  I had finished my internship on Thursday and didn’t start my new job until today (Monday), so it was a great excuse to leave the city.

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I left on Megabus (a first time for me!) around 9:30am on Friday, only to realize that this was the first time I would be leaving the little island of Manhattan in over 8 weeks!  I guess there was so much to keep me going that I didn’t notice the time fly by.  After about 4.5 hours, we arrived in the capital and I was ready to conquer the city.

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We had traveled to D.C. about 8 or so years ago and done everything from the National/Monument Mile to Ford’s Theatre to the Spy Museum.  So, I went into this trip with  a few items on my checklist, but nothing too specific.  Quite a big step for someone who has made excel sheets for her previous vacations and weekend getaways.  Curious how this girl made it through Europe?  Oh I have excellent itineraries.  Guess I haven’t really fit in with the societal expected mold of the college party child.

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I ended up traveling to some of the same monuments and museums and found myself amidst various families and school groups.  Because I was on my own, I made it through much faster than I anticipated and so I continued to wander the city.  Some of the conversations that I overheard were too darn funny.  None very blog worthy, but I got a kick out of casually eavesdropping none the less.  Actually, it’s not really eavesdropping if they are standing inches away from you as you look at the Declaration of Independence.  The zoo was one of my favorite spots simply because of the animals.  I sent a few pictures home and of course my family thought they looked like our dog, Bodie.  It seems to be a running joke that any animal that is sleeping or looks pensive looks like Bodie.

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The best part of the weekend had to be Sunday morning.  I woke up around 6:45 so I could meet Sarah for a Veteran’s Day 10k.  I’ve been following her blog for sometime and it was the first time we could actually meet!  I mean, I’ve been on the west coast for some time, so actually being in the same time zone was fabulous.  We originally were just going to meet for dinner or breakfast, but of course two obsessed runners would get along great at a 10k.

People often think this whole blogging thing is odd – the fact that I can relate to some bloggers, whom I’ve never even met (and may never meet).  I feel as if we’ve all experienced something that brings us together and it’s really a phenomenon I can’t adequately explain.  At least not right now.  I could relate it to my elementary school friends; people I didn’t really hang out with a ton, but have reconnected with and would consider my best, best friends, simply because we understand each other and know what one another has gone through.  Not to mention we’ve all found how similar one another is and it makes life great.

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Back to the 10k.  We agreed on an “easy” pace but ultimately ended up going around 7:51ish.  Oops.  I guess that’s what happens when you feel great (maybe after popping an advil), have a GORGEOUS course (running along the water and the monuments…what’s better?) and have a great conversation going.  We actually both needed to fit in 9 miles on Sunday so after finishing the 10k, we set out for 3 more.  Once that was through, we drove up to Georgetown for breakfast.  I swear, this area was TOO DARN ADORABLE.  I really wish there was a better way to access the area because I totally would have spent a majority of the weekend there, wandering and window shopping.  I was simply limited by public transportation.

My food selections throughout the weekend were less than noteworthy.  This is because there aren’t too many good places to eat around the monuments, all places where I felt my stomach rumble, I was left to eat at Starbucks and Corner Bakery.  So adventurous, I know.  The highlight of my eating happened to be when I went with Sarah to Clyde’s in Georgetown and practically inhaled some epic grilled cheese with fried egg and side of pumpkin butter.  The butter wasn’t included in the actual meal, I just saw it on the menu and decided to ask 🙂 I love my sauces and creams, even if they don’t love me.

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Once breakfast was complete, Sarah was oh so kind to drive me to my hotel, I packed up in a rush and narrowly made my 12:30 bus ride.  That’s right folks, I like to live on the edge and probably make my mother and grandmother down right worried.  I’d like to think I’ve learned enough from my dad about pushing things too tight, yet still work out 🙂 Thanks TFred.

Well, this was certainly a different recap than I expected, but a recap none the less.  I will certainly be back to D.C. in the future, probably with my grandmother when we visit family friends in Maryland.  But, I also hope to get out to Boston to see some friends, maybe my cousin, and definitely Sarah when she is home from school for break.  Until then, it’s off to my new job and MAMA is coming this week! Girls WEEKEND 🙂

a0427422f636f3fcd8f482106cb81e81Have you ever taken a trip on your own?  Favorite parts/restaurants of D.C.?

Happy Veteran’s Day