for Unconventional Women
for Unconventional Women
Last week, I wrote about my travels to Amsterdam that were mostly business with a little bit of fun thrown in. About two weeks after I returned from Amsterdam, I traveled to DC, also for work with a little bit of fun thrown in. Honestly, I don’t actually travel that much for work, but it just happened to work out that these two trip were more or less back to back.
Anyway, I had meetings Thursday and Friday and then one of my best friends flew down from Massachusetts and we stayed for the weekend. In addition, I got to travel with Emma, my exchange student daughter from Sardinia, who is living with us this year—my husband and I figured that it would be such a great opportunity for her to see our nation’s capital while staying here in the US that we pulled her from school for a few days and I brought her with me. She’s pretty independent and travel savvy so I loaded the Lyft app onto her phone and sent her out to explore Thursday and Friday while I was in my meetings. More on that later, but the short story is, she had a great time, saw a bunch of the city, and had an opportunity to explore on her own which I think is an important part of traveling.
So what to say about DC? I will preface this with DC is one of my favorite cities to visit. I love the architecture and the grandeur of the city but it’s still so open (you can see the sky!) and incredibly accessible. Between how easy it is to walk places (it was built on a swamp so pretty flat) and the metro, it’s one of the most accessible cities I’ve ever travelled to in the US.
And then there are the Smithsonian museums. I haven’t been to all, but I have been to many and not only are they free (which makes it a fabulous place to go with kids because you can see whatever you want to for however long you want to and if a kid has a meltdown you can leave without feeling like you wasted your money…not that I would know how that would feel. I would just advise you to never bring a six month old to the Louvre) but the Smithsonians are also breathtaking. Emma visited the Air and Space museum, which is a must see, and she also visited one of the few I haven’t been to, the National Museum of the American Indian. She really, really loved it and made me wish I’d had the time to visit. Together we also visited the Hirshhorn Gallery and the National Gallery. There are really too many museums to mention, but I can’t post this blog without encouraging you to visit the Holocaust Museum—it’s not appropriate for very young kids, but other than that population, I think it should be mandatory for everyone to visit at least once (okay, that’s a bit over the top, but you know what I mean). It’s devastating and raw and inspiring and so important.
So how about some basics? Places to stay? This time, we stayed at the Kimpton in Dupont Circle. My very favorite place to stay is the Tabard Inn—funky, fun, and affordable. The Tabard isn’t for everyone (it is NOT wheelchair accessible or good for anyone who has difficulties with stairs), but, consisting of two connected townhouses, it’s charming with a small lounge/library that in the winter is warmed by a lovely fireplace—guests linger here and locals often come for drinks. You really couldn’t find a cozier place. The restaurant is great (as is the bar), and in the summer they have a small courtyard where you can eat outside. Seriously, if you couldn’t tell, I love the Tabard.
And food? Well, until this last trip, I wasn’t all that impressed with the food in DC. It wasn’t bad, there are quite a few decent places. But as a California girl who lives in the farm to fork capital, I’m kind of spoiled. And picky. But I have to say, we went to a six course fixed price restaurant called Obelisk, and while it wasn’t cheap, it was amazing. Again, not a great place for young kids, but if you want a night out with fabulous food and wine pairings, I could not recommend it enough. It would also be a great place to go for a romantic meal with someone special as it’s a very charming space (and tiny).
What about cocktails? After all, DC is the schmoozy capital of the US, right? Well, to make things short, the POV Bar at the W hotel. Really, there is no other place to have cocktails and see and be seen. It’s a roof top bar with an outdoor space and views of the Washington Monument and the White House. Drinks are (surprisingly) good and they don’t rest on their laurels in terms of location. It’s young and fun and a place you should visit if you like to people watch (and want a unique view of two important national structures).
Last but not least, this time around, I finally had a child that likes ghost tours. I love ghost tours. Really, I do. I actually persuaded Liam, my youngest, to go on one with me in Boston and I think I may have a convert. But Emma happily joined me on a ghost tour of Georgetown. Really, the tours are a chance to see parts of the city at night and learn some history and this tour was no different. We heard all sorts of stories about ghosts, mostly involving the civil war since DC was Union and Virginia, which was just across the river, was confederate, but we also heard a lot of history in those stories. And we got a guided tour of Georgetown which is a lovely part of the city to walk around. I’d highly recommend taking such a tour if you have the time, it’s a fun way to kill a few hours and see a part of the city you might not normally see. We used the Ghosts of Georgetown Tour through Free Tours by Foot and they were fabulous. Our guide was knowledgeable and funny and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It wasn’t actually free, but it was very reasonable.
So that’s my DC wrap up…again, one of my favorite cities to visit. Sometimes I think I’d like to live there, but then I come home to my space, and my olive trees, and my warm weather and I think “no way.” But if I ever did move back to the east coast, I’m pretty sure it’s where I’d land.
About the Author: Tamsen Schultz is an avid traveler and prefers to seek out the different or unusual even when visiting some of the more tourist-heavy spots (Capuchin Monastery in Rome, anyone?). Her contemporary novels are set on the other side of the country from where she lives (which may or may not be an excuse to travel) and she’s currently writing an historical mystery set in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, which adds a new dimension to her obsession by giving her a reason to travel in both space and time.
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