Road Trip Series, Part 1: Washington DC (Night)

Georgetown – Though it is older than the City of Washington, the storefronts of this Potomac River facing town seem to have been updated to what now looks like the village version of NYC’s Fifth Avenue. In between the brand labeled facades, Martin’s Tavern is easy to spot for its corner location and Irish pub exterior. Having arrived late into the night, shopping wasn’t on our agenda, but dinner was.

DSC_0977PSChoosing Martin’s Tavern wasn’t left to chance. I had read of it being one of the few establishments still standing since the Great Depression; opened by an Irish family with roots stretching back to the 1800′s in this former blue collar labourer’s port. Perhaps more renowned for its associations with serving¬†monumental figures such as Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and even Richard Nixon*, also knowing that this was the on-bended-knee location of JFK had intrigued enough to make a reservation.

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DSC_0972PSMy husband and I held court in ‘The Nixon Booth’. Its history reads like this:

“Richard Nixon dined at Martin’s Tavern throughout the 1940′s and 1950′s while serving as a Representative, Senator, and Vice President. He enjoyed Martin’s Meatloaf and most often dined with his wife Pat or congressional colleagues.”

Though we cannot vouch for the Meatloaf, the seared tuna, and hamburger-with-the-lot were healthy servings of good pub fare.

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Now, about that booth:

DSC_0991PSJFK and Jackie frequently dined in Booth 3 at Martin’s Tavern. Having returned from covering the coronation of Queen Elizabeth for the Washington Times Herald, Jacqueline Bouvier accepted John’s proposal. The next day the Tavern was abuzz with staff and guests talking about the “nice young Kennedy congressman” proposing to his girlfriend in their favourite Booth. It has been known as “The Proposal Booth” since that day.

That’s how this history reads on the one-sheeter distributed at each table anyway. Cheers!

DSC_0988PS*All quotes sourced from Martin’s Tavern – website and in-restaurant

Road Trip Series, Part 1: Washington DC (Day)

A road trip across the US, from New York to Los Angeles, can be completed in as little as 3 days, or at a more snail like pace if time is on your side. I opted for somewhere in between and devised a plan that spanned 10 days of driving and sightseeing. In hindsight, this resembled the European-city-sampler cruise ship itinerary my husband and I experienced last year. Trust me – you cannot see Rome in a day. Same goes for Washington DC, Charleston, New Orleans…

Nevertheless, a cross country trip is a journey I would recommend to you, readers, despite its inherent double edged sword. The cities leave a lasting impression – they inspire you long after you’ve left, but you will yearn to return and explore them some more.

I’m so grateful for what I’ve seen, and would like to share some thoughts, scenes, and experiences with you. I hope you’ll enjoy.

On the road

On the road

PART ONE: WASHINGTON DC – A DAY IN OCTOBER

Cloaked in vibrant autumnal colours underneath an overcast sky, the moodiness and architectural beauty imparted by the US capital on this particular day felt very Parisian;¬† it looked as if Washington DC had fashioned itself on the City of Light. Walking through the grounds of its vast Mall, lined on either side with elms shaded yellow by the season, I was reminded of the Place de la Concorde but without the car traffic. Here, in place of Paris’ Obelisk, the Washington Monument dominates the landscape.

DSC_0998PSThese grounds served the military during the Civil War. Today, The Mall is anchored by the Lincoln Memorial at one end, and The Capitol Building at the other. The Smithsonian museums, galleries, and memorials – along with tourists – are scattered in between.

The images below focus on the Western end The Mall, where we spent a number of hours at: The Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

TRAVEL TIP: To save money, stay outside of DC and avoid high hotel and parking costs. We stayed in Arlington, Virginia – I scored a great deal at the Hyatt through Priceline.

It took about 20 minutes to get to the heart of The Mall via subway, including waiting time. The method of buying a Metro ticket seemed nonsensical to us at first, so ask for help to save those precious few minutes if you’re in a rush.

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World War II Memorial

From WWII Memorial, looking to Lincoln Memorial

From WWII Memorial, looking to Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

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Looking towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Looking towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Names inscribed on the wall at Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Names inscribed on the wall at Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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Inside the US Holocaust Memorial Museum

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US Holocaust Memorial Museum

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

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A Lincoln Sighting ~ Washington DC

On a cross country trip: time goes by quickly when in port*, but not swiftly enough when on the road.

Here, one of many impressions I will be posting over the next few days while traveling across the US. I’m looking forward to compiling a series of more detailed posts in November.

Below: Abraham Lincoln looking over the Mall in Washington DC.

At the Lincoln Memorial

Image in header: Fall has made its appearance, and provides a backdrop to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

*Those who have been on a cruise ship and followed a swift itinerary will understand the importance of seeing as much as possible in a short space of time.