A November 2007 trip
to Washington, D.C. by sararevell
Quote: Tacking a weekend break onto the front end of a business trip, my husband and I discovered what it meant to be frugal with our time and energy in Washington DC. No mean feat in a city of countless museums, art galleries and national monuments.
Hotel | "Meridian Manor Bed & Breakfast"
One of the owners met us at the house after we’d phoned ahead letting him know that we were en route from the airport. About a 10 minute walk from U-Street / Cardozo metro station, the house was also only The house was a mix of old and new. Deep red and brown brick on the outside, the interior of our room was decorated in brighter blue/grey and beige tones with modern as well as traditional furnishings and accents. Before ascending the grand staircase to our room we were shown the kitchen, dining room and lounge area stocked with newspapers, magazines, tourist leaflets and city maps. We were invited to store perishables in the fridge but asked not to use most other appliances, which were reserved for breakfast preparation purposes only. By happy accident, we were "upgraded" to a bedroom with en suite bathroom. The bed was high but big and comfortable and there was a small lounge by the windows with a sofa, television and fireplace. The bathroom was also a good size and came with an assortment of soaps, towels and a hairdryer. In addition, the B&B offers free Wi-Fi so in some ways it’s also quite well set up for business travelers. The only complaint I did have was that the door to our bedroom was a thin frame with glass panels and the curtains covering the glass obviously didn’t do much in the way of sound insulation. On Sunday morning we were awoken earlier than we would have liked by a rather loud group having breakfast in the kitchen. I imagine that if your room is on one of the upper floors then this is less of an issue but it was quite apparent that glass doors are not the best option if you want total peace and quiet. The breakfast served was simple but healthy with an assortment of tea, coffee, fruit, yogurt and cereal and you could help yourself to toast and jam. The house we stayed in is one of two bed and breakfast properties in the area run by the owners. The prices of all their rooms are quite reasonable, especially when compared to some of the more centrally located hotels and if you opt for a room with shared bathroom the price is cheaper still.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 6, 2008
Meridian Manor Bed and Breakfast
16th St NW
Attraction | "National Air & Space Museum"
We then ventured next door to Gallery 210 and the "Apollo to the Moon" exhibition where the ingenious display of an F-1 engine is mirrored in a way to show the configuration of the actual five engines that sat at the base of the Saturn 5 rocket. The Saturn 5 was the largest rocket in the world and the F-1 was the most powerful rocket engine, enabling the rocket to reach speeds of 6,000 miles per hour shortly after launch.On to the next gallery and we toured the striking Wright Brothers exhibition. Boards and illustrative displays tell of their family life and lead on to their work in the early 1900s that led to the invention of the first powered airplane. In the centre of the gallery is their masterpiece, the 1903 Wright Flyer. The exhibition then continues, looking at the fast development of flight in the decade that followed. In the main galleries, planes and spacecrafts are impossibly suspended overhead, including the Spirit of St. Louis, the aircraft piloted by Charles A. Lindbergh in 1927 from New York to Paris in the first solo transatlantic flight. The National Air and Space Museum at the National Mall could easily occupy a full day and we barely scratched the surface, sadly missing out on many galleries including World War Two aviation, Flight Simulators and the Planetarium. (I can’t imagine how much time you would need at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center though!) It also seemed to cater well to children although I was sad to see that they’ve allowed a McDonald’s branch a berth in their food court on the first floor. www.nasm.si.edu
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 6, 2008
Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Independence Avenue At 4th Street SW
Attraction | "National Gallery of Art"
At the time of its completion, the West Building was the largest marble structure in the world and even from the outside it towers above its subjects, impressing in the same way that London’s British Museum does.
Feeling a little intimidated by the size of the gallery, we picked up a very handy leaflet that identifies West Building highlights that can be covered in under an hour. Normally I wouldn’t want to rush through such a spectacular collection but we still had the East Building to consider and wanted to squeeze in a visit to the National Air and Space Museum across the way before closing time at 5.30pm.
The leaflet highlighted twelve must-see works, including pieces by da Vinci, Raphael, Rubens, Vermeer, Monet and Cezanne. Audio tours are available for $5 and guided tours run throughout the day focussing on particular collections.
Opened 37 years later in 1978, the East Building is home to the gallery’s modern art and sculpture collections. Here you can find permanent installations of work by Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder and Sol LeWitt. Connecting the two buildings is a cavernous underground concourse level where the busy gallery café and bookshop are located.
The East Building has an obvious modern and brighter feel to it and is also quite a bit busier than the West side. The temporary Edward Hopper exhibition was clearly a big draw and the queue to get in was particularly long. It’s worth checking ahead of time on permanent and temporary exhibitions as some of them have limited opening times or may require passes.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you check in your bag in the West Building as we did, it’s quite a long walk back to retrieve it after visiting the East Building. If you only want to do a similar "Highlights" tour you still need about a minimum of two hours to visit both buildings. If you have more time though, it would be easy to dedicate an entire day to the National Gallery and adjacent Sculpture Garden.
National Gallery of Art and Sculpture Garden
4th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20565
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 6, 2008
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia 22211
In the midst of the Adams Morgan area, Ipanema was full of life and evidently a popular place. By some miracle we were seated immediately and didn’t waste any time ordering Caipirinhas and Mojitos. When I arrived, I wasn’t particularly hungry and started looking for just a salad or appetizer to order. I was quickly diverted by the long list of seafood and chicken dishes, in particular the Moqueca à Baiana, not a dish I was at all familiar with. This stew is prepared in a blend of palm oil and coconut milk with fresh cilantro, tomato, onions and green pepper. You then choose how spicy you would like it and decide on an addition of either fish, shrimp, mixed seafood, squid, mussels or scallops. The stew is served in a clay pot with rice and fish broth and besides sounding absolutely wonderful, I’m a bit of a sucker for anything served in a clay pot!
We were seated by the window alongside a few other couples. Being that it is more a place for groups and parties I wouldn’t recommend Ipanema if you’re looking for a romantic night out. In addition the tables are placed very close together, which doesn’t allow for any privacy. That said, this all adds to the lively Latin party atmosphere.
Surprisingly the Mojitos weren’t that impressive but fortunately we had no complaints with the Caipirinhas and stuck to them for the rest of the night. They also went really well with the hearty Moqueca a Capixaba stew and the Frango a Copacabana, which my husband ordered. This was grilled chicken breast served with farofa (grounded yuca roasted with garlic and butter), rice, black beans, vegetables and a fresh vinaigrette sauce.
The restaurant is very long and narrow, with the bar taking up most of one wall decorated with retro Brazilian pictures and fairy lights. The service is slow at times but with so many customers to serve, you have to give up and go with the flow. Besides it’s worth it for the wonderful food.
My stew was $20.95 and the Frango a Copacabana was $16.95. Prices in Washington DC overall seemed to be higher than elsewhere in the US but again I felt that it was well worth the time and expense for a taste of two very excellent Brazilian dishes.
For a look at their full menu, go to: www.thegrillfromipanema.com
Grill From Ipanema
1858 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Restaurant | "Capitol City Brewing Co."
Capitol City Brewing has two other locations, one in Arlington and the other one in downtown DC, which in 1992 was the first brew pub established since Prohibition.
We went in for lunch and the immense bar was mostly empty. We took a booth seat downstairs and craned our necks around to take in what felt like a cathedral dedicated to beer drinking. Tall copper beer vats soared high behind the bar like fat church organ pipes, their tops almost reaching those of the railings of the gallery seating area upstairs.
After a short wait, a server came to take our drinks order. As we enquired about the current list of beers on tap, we were puzzled by the fact that the server was unable to address us directly and instead seemed more comfortable looking off to the left and into the distance. When he left we realized that he’d been reading off the list of ales from a blackboard located above the entrance. We wondered how educated the Brewery staff actually are in the pints they serve. Strangely enough when the same guy returned to take our food order he still had a tendency to look off in another direction. We both ordered fish and chips and thought perhaps he was new and shy, or had an unfortunate crick in his neck.
We had a fairly long wait until our meals arrived and when they did, we were struck by the mediocrity of the food. I’ve tried a variety of fish and chips in my time and generally would expect the dish to be capably prepared at pubs and breweries but at Capitol City the fish and chips were so bland that I didn’t even clear the plate. It was also at this point that the service took a complete nosedive and we had to wait an interminable amount of time to get the bill.
If you want to check out the local DC brews, then by all means come to Capitol City and spend some time at their bar. I would, however, strongly recommend that you don’t waste any time eating here as there are many other restaurants in the city that are far more worthy of your time and attention.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 6, 2008
Capitol City Brewing Company - Postal Square
2 Massachusetts Avenue Northeast
Washington, DC 20001
Restaurant | "News Café – Cucina Italiana"
3056 M St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
1315 16th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
London, United Kingdom