When we left North Carolina, we had to get out of our dreamy, sleepy small town mode and into the big city mindset. Our bus, however, got to unwind in the woods while we went out to play. Taking advantage of our State Park system, we set up camp at a surprisingly green and low key park in Maryland, a mile hike away from the Metro rail station and 12 miles out of D.C. I recommend Greenbelt Park to anyone wanting to see the Capital on a budget.
What I don’t strongly recommend is trying to tour the national monuments and museums during summer break. Lots of crowds and lots of waiting in lines that wrap around the block. We would have spent more time doing the touristy stuff if not for the multitudes that were doing the same thing. We enjoyed going up into the Washington Monument, which is way more impressive in person than in photos. The other stop we made time for was the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Sobering and astonishing, we were reminded of things taken for granted, and learned some new facts about the war as well. We got our exercise that day, walking around to see the World War II Memorial fountain, the Lincoln Memorial and a peek at the White House. I was surprised that the White House didn’t seem as grandiose as portrayed in film.
I was also a little dismayed at the city in general. I expected our nation’s Capital to be a bit more polished. But even if the city’s not polished, a lot of the people definitely are. The attire, even at the bars, served as a constant reminder that we are no where near the Northwest. It’s all suit and tie instead of jeans and flannels. Here’s some shots from a cool motorcycle themed tap room near Chinatown, which quickly filled up with some business savvy folks after 5 o’clock.
With three nights spent at the campground, this was our longest stay anywhere yet. The down time was really nice and gave us a chance to accomplish some important things, like reorganizing our home and cooking full meals. Plus some general relaxation thrown in.
After a long day dealing with the crowds and the heat, we were ready to do some dining. Tuesday evening we made our way over to Right Proper Brewing in the Shaw neighborhood. They had great food and drink, a wonderful bartender named Eric and the best mural I’ve ever encountered.
We also took the advice of a friendly local at the Right Proper bar and headed to Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle on Wednesday for lunch. Dupont Circle was a nice area, it seemed far away from the sweaty crowds on the National Mall. The circle itself was home to some picnics and locals catching a break in the shade, while the surrounding area housed many cafes, restaurants, and book stores. We had some of the best pizza of our lives at Paradiso, and loved the very expansive beer selection. I’ll just leave this here:
D.C. was a very enjoyable stop on our trip, full of interesting places and people. It was a great experience to visit our nation’s Capital, and a chance to see the bad and good of the city.