Hi, long time no blog! Spring is here and I just got back from a sweet girls’ getaway with my mom and aunt. In celebration of my mom’s health after her battle with breast cancer, Joe sent us to Washington, D.C. to see the cherry blossoms. Alas, global warming had other plans and we missed the blooms by about a week. If they had bloomed when they usually do we would have hit it perfectly, but they showed up early this year. We didn’t let it ruin our fun, though. We ate wonderful food and walked around the city enjoying the sights and each other’s company, and I wanted to share some photos of our trip here. This blog is time capsule of sorts for me and I like having my thoughts and memories organized in one place, so here are some from my camera and some from my phone.
We stayed at an adorable Airbnb in Capitol Hill. This was my second time booking a vacation through Airbnb and again it blew me away. More affordable and comfortable than a hotel and just as nice to stay in, decor wise.
We had two bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a living room, full kitchen and dining area. Right outside our living room and bedroom windows were (I think) Kwanzan cherry blossoms, which open up their darker pink flowers a little later than the Yoshino blossoms that surround the Tidal Basin. Such a pretty place to rest my head.
We flew in because Jet Blue had a deal too good to pass up, and the flights were about an hour each. Our apartment was ready earlier than check in time so we went straight there from Reagan International, to unpack and regroup. It was way colder on the first day than any of us realized it would be, and we all had to double (and triple!) up on layers before we did anything outside. After we were settled and slightly more properly dressed, we went to Union Market to eat lunch and look around. Union Market was full of delicious food and we all settled on sandwiches from The BBQ Joint, and then my mom and aunt split a genuine Belgian Liege strawberry waffle from Saison Wafel Bar.
Also of note at Union Market: Righteous Cheese. All cheese, all the time.
Union Market had some fantastic street art outside.
Afterward, we headed to the US Botanic Garden, which ended up being a good choice because it was really warm inside! We actually had to strip off all our layers when we got to the tropical room of the conservatory. There were so many different breeds of beautiful orchids, especially, and we all loved wandering through the different environments and seeing things in bloom.
We were all pretty tired after the gardens so we went back to the apartment for a catnap, which ended up lasting a few hours. We wanted to keep relaxing when we woke up later in the evening, so we put on our PJ’s and had food delivered. We decided on Panache, a Mediterranean tapas place and it was SO good. Such a typical girls’ night, yummy food in in pajamas watching HGTV, but it was so nice to be able to relax and just enjoy not having any responsibilities or problems to take care of.
We decided to forgo alarms the next day and just wake up whenever. We headed out around 10 to find somewhere to eat breakfast and we ended up at Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken, which will forever haunt my dreams. If you had asked me a week ago if I would ever eat fried chicken on a doughnut I might have gagged. But something in the moment, standing at the counter, made me want to try it and ugh. UGH. There should be one in every city. The breakfast sandwich was nothing short of AMAZING.
From Astro Doughnuts, aka Heaven on Earth, we went to the Renwick, one of the only things on our agenda for the trip. I had read about the Wonder exhibit, where nine artists used ordinary objects and materials to create art and transform spaces in unexpected and surprising ways. I was most excited to see Plexus A1 by Gabriel Dawe, and my God, it did not disappoint. Dawe used 60 miles and 15 colors of embroidery thread to create an incredible indoor rainbow.
I could have sat down on the floor right there and just stared at this for hours. It was just amazing.
Another installation by Tara Donovan was made entirely of index cards, stacked and mounded high to the ceiling. They seemed softer from a distance and almost overwhelming up close.
Upstairs was 1.8 by Janet Echelman, which hung suspended from the ceiling above a giant rug and changed colors. It was really cool to stand (or sit or lay down) on the rug beneath the installation and watch it change in front of your eyes.
In the Midnight Garden, by Jennifer Angus, was designs on the walls comprised entirely of insects. Aunt Sharon’s least favorite piece 🙂
Folding the Chesapeake by Maya Lin (who also designed the Vietnam Memorial years ago) was made of marbles lining the floors and walls in the shape of the Chesapeake Bay.
My mom said over and over again that the Renwick was her favorite part of the trip, so I’d call it a success. If you have the chance to go see Wonder before the exhibit closes this year, I highly recommend it.
Next we went to see the outside of the White House and the monuments, since it was a beautiful, clear day with blue skies.
Gettin my CJ Cregg on.
We met a sweet couple supporting Hillary who said that a lot of people have lots of mean things to say to them, but it was inspiring that they still go sit out there and show their support. They were friendly and kind and receptive and I’m happy we crossed their path.
That night, we went to Georgetown for dinner and dessert. We tried to get into Filomena but there were no tables available (still sad about it) but we had a delicious dinner at Clyde’s. We stopped at Olivia Macaron where we learned the difference between macarons and macaroons (seriously, they’re different) and got some treats to take back to the apartment.
We waited about 10 minutes in line at Georgetown Cupcake, which wasn’t bad considering I’ve heard about lines close to an hour wait. While standing there, a group of about 50 kids on some kind of field trip got in line behind us, so we definitely hit it at the right time.
We headed back early to pack and get ready for the next day – White House Tour!
Now, I’m going to preface the recap of the next day by saying we knew it was going to rain. We were (mostly) prepared for rain. What we weren’t prepared for was inches of sideways, torrential downpour, though I doubt we could have prepared properly for what we had to stand in. When you go to the White House for a tour, you have to wait outside before you go through the security checkpoints; we knew that, they tell you that. And yet…
This photo was early on. When it was just raining, not pouring. The tours were running a half hour late and we got there a half hour early, so we ended up standing in what can only be described as a monsoon for at least an hour and a half. You know that scene in Forrest Gump where he’s in Vietnam and says “sometimes it seemed like the rain even came straight up from underneath”? That’s what it felt like. It only rained harder the longer we stood there, and it didn’t let up until we got inside, when it miraculously stopped and the sun came out. As we were standing there, I took my shoes off on two separate occasions and dumped at least a cup full of water out. Our pants were soaked, our shoes were soaked, everything was soaked. But when we got inside, we all agreed afterward that we forgot we were wet. You can thank Michelle Obama for the White House Tour photos, because she recently lifted the photography ban!
Green Room bouquet:
Red Room Bouquet:
Looking out on the Jackie Kennedy Garden:
After the White House Tour, we went to Astro Doughnuts for one more indulgence and then went to pick up our bags at the apartment. We went to the airport a little early and ended up getting delayed because of the storms moving through the area. We sat in front of the windows and watched a beautiful double rainbow appear after the storms cleared and recapped how much fun we had together.
My mom, aunt and I typically have our girls’ days once every couple months and call ourselves The Ballerina Club because one of our first days, just us girls, was years ago when we went to New York for the day and saw The Nutcracker. It was one of those perfect days where everything seemed to go right, and that show will hold a special place in my heart forever. Ever since, we make a point to plan days together – either exploring a pretty town, shopping, or just hanging at my aunt’s house – to catch up and bond. It’s wonderful to be an adult and not only consider them my family, but two of my favorite friends. This was our first Ballerina trip and we all decided that it won’t be our last. So to my travel buddies, thank you for so many sweet memories to add to our bank…
and to my brave mom: you are so strong and beautiful and wonderful and everything good in the world. I loved planning this trip and seeing how happy it made you!