We departed the scorching heat of Abu Dhabi on July 3rd flying First Class on the Dreamliner to Washington. Let’s just say it was a once in a life time experience! We checked into the Hotel Madera and wandered down to Dupont Circle for a light bite of dinner. We ordered a couple of cocktails, 6 raw oysters, and a side of bacon. We were pretty tired by this point so we went back to our hotel in hopes of getting a full night’s sleep.
We woke up pretty early the next morning but we were ready to take in the Independence Day festivities. We donned our red, white and blue clothes, put on our American pins and grabbed our flags. Our first stop on the agenda was the White House, the official residence and principal workplace of the current President of the United States, Barack Obama.
It was pretty quiet around there so we made our way down to the west end of the National Mall when it started to rain. Quickly the light rain turned into a torrential downpour and we pulled out the umbrellas as there was nowhere to take shelter. We got absolutely soaked but the rain eventually subsided. We first visited the Lincoln Memorial, a neoclassical monument to the 16th President. We gazed across the reflecting pool and then walked over to the war memorials.
We could see people gathering to watch the parade that was about to start so we got a curb side seat on Constitution Avenue just as the sun was peaking out. We watched the parade for a while and then made our way towards the Washington Monument, built to commemorate George Washington, which is both the world’s tallest stone structure and obelisk.
Our last highlight of the day was the Capitol Building, the seat of the United States Congress which sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern edge of the National Mall. It was late afternoon and the storm clouds had rolled in but lucky enough we were able to find shelter this time. We waited out the storm and then made our way back up to the hotel.
We freshened up and grabbed a bite to eat from the Fireside restaurant next door. We had been reading about the famous crab cakes and we were not disappointed. After our bellies were full, we walked back down to the White House to finish off our July 4th celebrations by enjoying the fireworks!
On Sunday morning, we found a walking tour of historic Georgetown with “Washington Walks”. The tour took us past Julia Child’s old house, 200 year old mansions, John F. Kennedy’s house, and up to Georgetown University. We even spotted Barack’s daughter visiting friends (we could tell by the huge security detail). Our tour ended around lunch time and the tour guide recommended Martin’s Tavern, the oldest family owned restaurant in town. It is also known as the spot that JFK proposed to Jackie. We grabbed a couple of local pints, I got the sliders, and Dan went for the shrimp and grits. We did a bit of shopping afterwards and then decided to cross the Potomac River to Virginia to visit the Arlington National Cemetery. We stopped at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) and then boarded the little trolley which took us around the cemetery grounds to Arlington House and the Kennedy grave sites. We then made our way back to D.C.
That evening was our last night so we decided to go for some more local seafood at Hank’s Oyster Bar. We had the sake oyster shooters to start, Dan ordered the fried oyster dinner and I went for the lobster roll with old bay fries.
The next morning we did a bit of shopping at Nordstrom’s Rack and Macy’s before boarding our 5:00 flight to Chicago, then onwards to Calgary. We really enjoyed spending some time in D.C. but we were looking forward to the next part of our vacation – our summer trip back to Canada.