Had a phenomenal Memorial Day weekend road trip through DC, MD, WV, and PA! Here is the breakdown, day by day:
Saturday Day 1, D.C.:
We left Long Island at 7am (drove from Albany the night before to family so they could watch our cat Sassy, and we could be a bit closer to our destination) and shockingly hit no traffic at all. We made it to DC by noon, parked in a lot I researched, and walked into Eastern Market feeling stupendous. The market is part farmers and part flea; it had both inside and outside components. After walking around a bit to get a lay of the land, we decided on lunch. We got really big and delicious Cajun chicken sandwiches from an indoor merchant called Canales, and took them outside to sit, eat, and enjoy.
After our stomachs were satisfied, we walked around the farmers market sampling local produce, chocolate and honey and mascarpone ice cream, and pour over coffee (similar to drip coffee, but a new concept to me).
We entered the flea market and I enjoyed seeing the different selection of crafts in the area. There were tents selling maps, stamp art, aluminum crafted animals, and fabric art. There was a table with free books, and a picked up a copy of fear and loathing, awesome. So many unique and interesting vendors.
There is a small garden section of the market as well, with out unusually colored hibiscus flowers.
After the market started our long journey of walking the city. We took Independence Street down to the museums, most of them are free in DC. We popped in the National Botanical Gardens and looked at some orchids, pitcher, jungle, and desert plants. This was a great museum, but I am spoiled being a member of the Bronx Botanical Gardens, which is at least equally as nice, and much less crowded. We stopped in the National Museum of the American Indian; the most striking feature in my opinion here was the architecture. It truly stands out against the marble and concrete buildings surrounding it, and interesting sculptures border the building. Inside there are a multitude of exhibits, as the museum is about all different American Indians, which is a lot of information to cover. Art, statues, stories, and videos provide multimodal means of interpreting these people.
Next on the list was the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The few sculptures on the grounds were to ponder, more appealing to us than the art inside!
Unfortunately the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum had a long line to enter, so we skipped it for next time. After supersaturating our brains with museums, it was off to see the monuments and prominent buildings. We saw the Capitol Building on the way to the museums.
Our route took us to the Washington Monument and reflecting pool
Then we saw the World War II Monument and Vietnam wall, which I did not photograph. Being here Memorial Day weekend was a sight, so many people, so many flags, so many stories. I always feel proud to be an American, I come from a military family, and I work on a Navy ship. It was good to remember our heroes this weekend in the place, and always.
The Lincoln Memorial
Then we walked to the White House
By this time we were getting hungry again. I booked a reservation at a tapas joint named Jaleo. Time was truly on our side this trip, we got there perfectly and enjoyed a really fine meal with outstanding service. The place was trendy, packed, and had people from all walks of life. I had a glass of sangria and Jeff had a local beer Dc Brau The Public Pale Ale. We ordered divine dates wrapped in bacon, sea urchin (a first!), Patatas bravas (a delicious Jaleo specialty), Flamenquines (local pork roll filled with ibérico ham and cheese, breaded and deep-fried), a recommended shrimp tapas, and huge in season asparagus. We got a chocolate hazelnut cake for dessert. It was great, we were stuffed, but after walking 7 miles around the city we earned it.
The journey back to our parking spot allowed us more time to enjoy the art and architecture of DC. We wandered through a random sculpture park, enjoyed marble statues, and a mosaic garden. There isn’t much street art on the walls, but there certainly isn’t a lack of art to see on the streets.
It was a glorious day in the city, everything went right, and we enjoyed a beautiful sky as we drove to our Maryland hotel. When we got in, I saw the person who sparked this whole trip, one of my best friends and bride to be! We enjoyed drinks at the hotel bar and later on some deep sleep.
Sunday Day 2, Maryland:
After an awesome breakfast buffet at our hotel, Double Tree Hilton in Columbia Maryland, Jeff and I went off to a local green space, Centennial Park. The park was big, beautiful, full of life, and something shiny caught my eye. Paddle boats! I didn’t know they were there, but happily rented one for an hour. We went off blinging through the lake, taking pleasure in all of the life on the water, the sunshine, and some exercise. We saw a great blue heron, mallards, Canadian geese, kytes, red tail hawks, and lots of turtles.
We relaxed for a bit, caught some rays, and then went off for some lunch. Maiwand Kabob had delectable Afghani cuisine. Chicken kabob was delightfully flavored, there were chunks of veggies, rice, greens, and satisfying bread. This meal would fill me for the long day of bridesmaid duties ahead.
The rest of the afternoon, evening, and night was spent at my friends wedding venue, Martin’s West in Baltimore. It was a beautiful place full of beautiful people and memories. We really had a blast.
Monday Day 3, West Virginia:
After a big breakfast at the hotel, we packed up and hit the road to West Virginia. Our destination right over the state border was Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. We were shocked this place wasn’t insanely mobbed on Memorial Day. Sure there were people there, but on our hike we only ran into a couple of quiet couples, which was so nice. We hiked just over two miles, a bit tired from the day before, but this trail easy to follow and well maintained took us to many interesting points. We saw an old farmhouse, cannons, a great overlook, learned historical information, and saw some beautiful nature.
After our hike we hopped on the free shuttle to downtown Harpers Ferry. Here in this lovely little town were many free museums, old time shops, restaurants, and things to feast your eyes upon.
We climbed some stone stairs up to a beautiful church, old ruins, and a rock which Thomas Jefferson one stood.
We winged lunch, and it ended up amazing for us! We sat outside at The Coach House Grill ordered a grown up grilled cheese and a turkey Panini. We swapped halves, and enjoyed them immensely with chips, coleslaw, and ice water under an umbrella. After the great meal, we got some great homemade ice cream next door.
We wandered with our ice cream into the C & O Canal National Historical Park and enjoyed some beautiful views. After a long wonderful day it was time to hit the road to our next hotel and rest up for our next adventure.
Tuesday Day 4, Philadelphia:
Our last day on the road we visited Philly. We ventured into the city and parked at a garage I researched, and walked right towards Independence Square. We got our free tickets for Independence Hall at the Visitor’s Center, and had time to kill before our 12:15 tour. After looking at the Liberty Bell, we took a walk to see the Dream Garden mosaic. In the lobby of an unassuming building is this beautiful piece of art. Huge and made of tiffany glass, gleaming in the sun, and totally free to take a look at!
From here we wandered down to Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited street in America. It didn’t look too different from our brick houses in Albany; they were just a bit smaller.
We went in to a few of the free museums such as Carpenters’ Hall and the Second Bank of America, then went through security to see the Declaration of Independence, get a twenty minute tour of Congress Hall, and at long last a thirty minute tour of Independence hall, the birthplace of America! The museums and tours were all free, interesting, informative, and worthwhile, but they sure worked up an appetite.
Last but not least on our list of things to do was visit the Reading Terminal Market. The market was large, and the smell of food impressed Jeff (I’m pretty sure this was his favorite part of the trip).
He lined right up at DiNic’s to get the proclaimed ‘best sandwich in America.’ He told me the pork was tender, juicy, and marinated well. However, he agreed with FUSSYlittleBLOG, maybe not the BEST in America.
There were so many diverse options, but I found myself ordering a sandwich from the Dutch Eating Place, it had a large crowd eating there and had a mean turkey club.
As I’ve mentioned before, I certainly have a sweet tooth, and this is a devilish place to be with that problem. I couldn’t settle on one dessert, so we sampled a few. Jeff got a chocolate and peanut butter cookie from Famous 4th Street Cookie Company. I took a bite and it was REALLY good. I got a lavender cupcake from Flying Monkey Bakery; the frosting was so light, tasty, and perfect.
We saw the donuts at Beiler’s Bakery, and that was it. We got half a dozen to take home, and they were gone by the next day. So many different varieties, but I’d have to say my favorite was the Salty Caramel.
Our trip was too good to be true, but it happened. It was Memorial Day weekend, we hit no traffic, driving in the cities wasn’t problematic, we never lost our way, I saw one of my best friends marry the greatest guy, and we did a hell of a lot of great eating and sight seeing. Traveling elsewhere always makes me think is New York really where I want to stay forever? Who knows what the future will hold, but I hope if you ever feel like taking your own road trip this write up will help you.
If you are interested in any of the places I mentioned, check out their websites: