Last week, I took a four-day weekend and went on vacation!
It’s been awhile since I’ve traveled anywhere but my hometown, so I was pretty excited to head out to Washington, D.C. for a few days. I’ve wanted to destination race for quite some time, I’ve wanted to hang out with Alex for quite some time, and I’ve wanted to visit my cousin that lives in D.C. for quite some time, so I was definitely excited to do all of those things during my short trip.
I arrived in D.C. Thursday afternoon and successfully navigated myself from the airport to Alex’s office.
After Alex wrapped up her work day, we made our way to Chop’t, making me feel like quite the D.C. blogger. As far as I know, we have nothing like Chop’t in the Chicago area, so I had certainly never had anything quite like it before. I had a delicious Palm Beach salad, which featured romaine, avocado, tomato, cucumber, and hearts of palm, which are somewhat similar to bamboo shoots and really tasty!
We had a low key night on Thursday, and then used Friday to do a bit of sightseeing. First up: The Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
One of my absolute earliest memories (possibly my earliest memory, period) is seeing the pandas at the National Zoo, so I was pumped to get the chance to see pandas again. It was a bit chilly Friday morning, so a lot of the animals weren’t wandering around outside while we were there. We did see the pandas, though!
He was having a rough day.
Bao Bao, the baby panda, was curled up taking a mid-morning snooze, so I didn’t get to see her precious baby panda face, but hey! I saw a baby panda! That’s not something you get to do every day.
After the National Zoo, Alex had to pop into work for a quick meeting, so I entertained myself wandering around Georgetown. I didn’t have the suitcase space (or the budget…) to buy anything in Georgetown, but it was fun to window shop and enjoy the sunshine. We grabbed lunch in Georgetown after her meeting wrapped up and then moved on to what was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me: the Newseum.
My print media professor in college recommended we visit the Newseum if we ever found ourselves in D.C., and OH BOY was that a solid recommendation. If you are at all into journalism, you absolutely must visit the Newseum. No, it’s not free like all of the Smithsonians, but it is 100% worth the price of admission. They have exhibits covering all aspects of journalism–broadcast, print, new media, the evolution of reporting, global free press, current newspapers, historic newspapers–and it’s just incredible. My personal favorite part of the Newseum was the newspaper exhibit (which is not surprising, considering my journalism experience is exclusively in print) where they had an enormous display featuring the front page of newspapers published after significant events (the beginnings and ends of wars, deaths of prominent figures, etc.) from the 1500s all the way up through the 2010s. I was in journalism heaven.
We had another low key night on Friday in preparation for our 10 miler Saturday morning. Alex did her best to put a dent in my limited movie and TV repertoire and introduced me to both Scandal and Wedding Crashers (I know, I know. I’m just really not a movie or TV person. Like at all. This is why I don’t have Netflix. Or cable.).
After running the Georgetown 10 Miler on Saturday morning (which I will recap later this week), Alex and I headed down to “brunch” (…at 2 p.m. Haha) with my cousin and my cousin’s boyfriend at Founding Farmers. Though the menu was a bit overwhelming (so many choices!), the food was phenomenal. My cousin said the blackened chicken wings alone were a good enough reason to go to Founding Farmers, and I completely agree with that assessment. It’s right near the Mall and all that as well, so it’s very convenient if you’re in that area.
Alex and I went our separate ways after brunch, and I spent the rest of my time in D.C. with my cousin. First up, per recommendation of my cousin’s boyfriend: the Old Post Office. My cousin’s boyfriend said the tower at the Old Post Office had the best views of D.C., and I think that was a fair statement.
The Old Post Office itself is kind of a sad, empty building right now, but apparently Donald Trump recently leased the building and will be converting it into a luxury hotel. The tower, owned by the National Park Service, will still be open to the public, but as renovations on the Old Post Office are expected to begin in May, the tower will soon be closed due to construction. Thank goodness I went to D.C. in March!
Later, we drove to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (which is on D.C’s Michigan Ave! That made me smile ). I didn’t know this place existed, but it’s a beautiful cathedral and I enjoyed both seeing the church and seeing parts of D.C. I had never seen before on the drive over. My cousin told me a lot about D.C.’s history, especially the history of its neighborhoods, while we were there, which I loved. I’m super, super into history, so I really enjoy hearing about how things used to be, when and why they changed, and how they are now.
We had dinner at my cousin’s place and hung out for awhile before briefly going out on (in?) U Street. We were all pretty tired, though, so we made it to roughly 11:00 before calling it a night. Party. Animals. Sunday was, once again, low key, with homemade breakfast, a lot of solid cousin bonding, and finally, a trip back to the airport to get myself back to reality.
I haven’t had a vacation vacation in quite some time, and I’ve got to say, I had an AWESOME time in D.C. It was so fun to meet Alex, run a destination race, hang out with my cousin, and just experience D.C. in general. I’ve definitely been bit hard by the travel bug and really hope I don’t go so long between now and my next trip!
Where did you last go on vacation?
Have you ever been to Washington, D.C.?