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Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

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Munich, Germany
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Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

Hi, all,

Thanks again for all your help. This is a great forum. Here is my trip report. First the brief summary and then the long post.

Brief: Great weather, great city. Clean, comfortable, accessible, and approachable. Beautiful buildings and archicture. Terrific atmosphere. And thanks to the advice on this forum, I got a lot out of our brief stay.

Two observations:

First, the best part of my DC trip was meeting all the people (locals and tourists alike). People were friendly, approachable, and genuine. There was a lot of human contact (hand shakes, laughing patting a shoulder, eye contact, etc) and a lot of laughing and sharing. Very nice.

The other observation for my brief report is that the overwhelming feeling of living in a police state that I felt last year and three years ago is pretty much gone. I didn't see an abnormal amount of police or security or warning notices or snipers or cameras. It was refreshing. I think Boston is more in that paranoid-over-security frame of mind than DC. Yes, there is still all the security on entering buildings, but overall, things felt more "normal" than they have in a while.

Here's the detailed post, if you are interested:

We arrived Friday afternoon, rode the metro from the airport to Dupont Circle (Biggest escalator I've EVER been on!) and walked to our hotel. We loved the Palomar hotel for decor, happy hour (read: free beer, wine, and apps), and the overall service personel. The room was small but very comfortable and quiet. The only slight complaints are that the room was not as uber-clean as I might have wished for upon check-in, and it was not maintained well while we were there (obviously dirty dishes left in the room; waste basket not emptied...stuff like that). The elevators were slow and cranky and small, but I think that it would only be an issue for folks needing plenty of room. But I would absolutely stay there again!

We walked and walked and walked Friday night (U Street, Adams Morgan, Dupont, Embassy Row). A delightful evening and I always felt comfortable and safe, even into the post-midnight times. We met a charming shopkeeper as she was cloing up and had the pleasure of her company for a few minutes. She recommended U-topia. We stopped there, but decided not to stay for dinner as it was still early and we wanted to keep walking and exploring. We had a drink at the Reef and we ate at the Eithopean restaurant next to the Reef (The name escapes me...starts with a M.) I appreciate the tips that the bartenders at the Reef gave us about Eithopean food, it made ordering and consuming much more enjoyable, because it was indeed a new experience for us, one that we will happily try again. We talked with two young women originally from Uganda, now from midwest, and also with a French family visiting the capital and their daughter who is studying English in Iowa. On our other side were local college students having a great time, too.

Saturday was a beautiful day (downright hot by the afternoon). We took the Metro to the Mall and went into the National Gallery of Art, guessing correctly that on such a beautiful day, it would not be too crowded. We took in the Exibit of Paris in Transition. It was wonderful and I only wish there was more of it. We then explored the Dutch and French of the 17th and 18th century. Some absolute treasures there, and that they are so accessible is marvelous.

From there we wandered the mall a bit. We ducked into the Native American Museum for lunch and highly recommend that. Different, tasty, and a real meal (not just burger/fries for $15.)

We popped into the Air & Space museum in the hopes of checking out the Treasures of the American History museum, but the queue was so long that we took a pass (we weren't sure what the exhibits were, and as my husband was more interested in Revolutionary war/Civil war history, we guessed there might not be enough to make it worth the wait). The A/S musuem was so incredibly crowded in the afternoon (2:30 - 4:30 range), that it was not easy to see the smaller exhibits, but what we could see certainly was impressive.

After that we walked to the US Botanical Gardens (I went there last visit but mistakenly thought it was the aboretum). Happy it was easy to get to. We enjoyed strolling through -- they have some great displays and delightful sculptures.

After that we strolled around the Capitol. There was a wedding party getting photos, so we lingered there for a bit a people-watched.

We made our way back to U Street and cooled off on the roof deck of Local 16 -- a terrific place to relax with Paulaner on tap, but it filled up very quickly on such a nice afternoon. After a while, we continued to stoll back to our hotel. We grabbed a small pizza from an award-winning shop right by our hotel (Pizza Paradiso) as a little appetizer and then stolled through the neighborhoods again. We ended up on 17th St for a very late dinner at Floriana's. We had to wait for an outside table, which was fine as we were able to wait in the Little Red Bar and enjoy some well-poured drinks.

Dinner was delicious and after-dinner conversations with the staff (it was very late) was also fun. Some great people doing some great things, planning great things, or just being. All around a fabulous time. We meandered through the charming neighborhoods all the way back to the hotel.

Sunday a.m. we checked out and made our way back to the metro but were happily delayed by an amazing farmer's market right in the circle. Then to Union Station (also a cool place, that I had never been to) to get our rental car. We rode-tripped back to Boston, this time via Gettysburg.

We had a terrific, refreshing, recharging weekend and won't soon forget it.

Thanks again!

DC
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1. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

Hiya KimmerU,

I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay in DC. A few years we got a very bad reputation as Murder Capital, USA. But that has changed. 9/11 also hit our tourism badly, but it is beginning to rebound.

DC is a great walking city. Another thing many out-of-city people don't realize is that we are a very handicapped accessable city. All our curbs have wheel-chair cuts in them, 99pc of our buses have wheel-chair lifts, and our subways were specifically designed to accomodate many types of varying abilities.

If you notice on the subway platforms, there is a granite edge with a bumped surface before it. That is so the Blind can feel with their cane or their feet that they are close to the edge. All subway stations have elevators. Of course, the lights at the platform are to let the Deaf know a train is coming. But, all my deaf friends can tell when a train is coming even before the lights come on - they can feel the change in air pressure.

The most least noticible feature of our subway is that all platforms are gently pitched AWAY from the plat form, so that if a wheel-chair or baby-carriage begins to roll, it rolls away from the edge.

I'm glad y ou liked 17th Street. I live one block for Floriana's. I love the area.

Thanks for letting us know how your trip went.

Cheers,

Dev

Westerville, Ohio
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2. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

Thanks for the great "peek" into your vacation in DC. I too LOVED the Nat Gallery of Art. It really has a fabulous collection! Again, thanks for sharing.............

Sterling, VA
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3. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

What a great report! I'm glad to hear that you were able to chat with so many friendly people. BTW, could the Ethiopian restaurant you tried be Meskerem? You certainly accomplished a lot when you were in town!

Munich, Germany
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238 posts
105 reviews
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4. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

Hi, SueFee,

Yes! Thank you! That was the name and it was very interesting and very tasty. (and looking at TA and Frommers, I guess we lucked out on our random choice). With so little time to plan, I didn't get to research what to do and where to go in detail. While I am not usually completely spontaneous, it seemed to work this time. And I think DC lends itself to spontaneous entertainment. Great time. I'm still smiling at the memories of the weekend.

LA
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5. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

KimmerU:

I have a few questions for you. I will be in dc in a little over a week. Did you get the metro from dulles to palomar? How was that? Where did you catch the metro? How long was it? Second question i will also be staying at the palomar did you say free beer at Happy hour at palomar? My last question is where in dupont circle do you catch the metro? Witch line takes you to union station? How often do they run?

Thank you very much Dan

Munich, Germany
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238 posts
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6. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

Hi, Dan,

Happy to help any way I can. First the good news: Yes, free beer and wine during happy hour for guests at the Palomar (limited selection, but a decent selection).

Now the not-so-good news: My arrival was a little odd in that I flew into Dulles where my husband (there on business) picked me up. We then drove to Regan International Airport to drop off the rental car. From there we grabbed the metro. I'm guessing you won't be doing that. :-) But, from an earlier post from this forum (credit to jzstldc) I see that "there is a shuttle from Dulles to the West Falls Church Metro station for $8.00. it runs 7 days per week and there is a bus that leaves both the airport and the Metro station every half hour http://www.washfly.com/metro.htm" So that might be your best bet.

The Metro was very easy (intuitive) and clean and safe. Dupont Circle was on the red line. The stop is a couple minutes walk from the hotel. It was an easy, enjoyable walk, and I felt comfortable at all hours. Now, keep in mind I had a roller board (carry-on suitcase) as I was only there a couple of days. But if you can manage your luggage alone for a distance of a block (wheels, backback, etc) you should be fine. Similarily, Union Station was also a straight shot on the Metro and very easy to navigate.

But my knowledge of the DC Metro is not very deep. Search this forum for metro and you will find quick, comprehensive, and helpful info. I'm not sure about LA, but Boston transit is a little different than DC. In DC you purchase the fare card at automated kiosks. The card needs to be swiped at the gates entering *and exiting*. I never really got the hang of that, and fumbled for my card at every exit.

Hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. I hope you have a blast!!

LA
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7. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

Thanks for the info kim,

Sounds like I'm going to be drinking at the palomar during happy hour. As long as they have bud light or miller light I should be fine.

What time is happy hour? Naw I won't have anyone pick me up. I will be arrive at Dulles at 530am on a redeye from L.A. I dunno I might have to catch a supershuttle from dulles to Palomar because i have to get there before my gf goes to a meeting at 8am. I think that might be my best bet to get there before she leaves. I will only have a carry on bag my gf will have my clothes in her cuitecase so i can save time. So you have to have the card and swipe it? Whats the diff. bwtween the metro and the marc? and fair? I will be taking the marc at union station to baltimore to catch a game one night. Any other info you might have for me? What to do? Where to drink?

Sterling, VA
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
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8. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

Metro is the subway system (www.wmata.com). MARC is the Maryland commuter rail (www.mtamaryland.com). Metro uses farecards. Actually, you don't swipe them, you stick them in the turnstile-like gates. The gate opens and your card comes out of another slot--unless you've used up the value on the card in which case you don't get the card back. Instead, it will say "farecard captured". The exception is the Smartrip cards which are swiped--but that's a whole 'nother explanation.

Just wanted to point something out about the Super Shuttle--it takes other passengers so it may be a while before it gets to your hotel.

Kimmer--I hope you don't mind that I answered some of the questions.

Munich, Germany
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9. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

Thanks for jumping in, SueFee -- I certainly don't mind, especially since I do not know all the answers. And thank you for clarifying about the card swipe/feed -- that's a good point.

Dan, how long will you be staying? And what are things that interest you and your gf? Knowing those things will help the Local Experts and people like me recommend things for you.

I think the roof deck of Local 16 on U Street was an excellent place for a beverage. I heard the Roof Deck of the Reef is also a great locale (it was closed for a party the night we were there, so we only saw the first floor).

You will have no problem getting from Dupont Circle to Union Station for the night of your game, but if it's late, you will want check on times for the last trains, so that you are not stuck somewhere at 3 am.

LA
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10. Re: Trip summary from the weekend. Thanks for your help!!

Thank you ladies for your info.

Thank you for clearing up the marc and metro for me. I will be in dc for 4 days and 3 nights. Tues- Friday. I will Use the marc on 1 day to go to the ball game. The rest of the time i will use the metro to get around. Is there metro passes? How much is it to ride the metro? If i arrive to dulles at about 530am I'm guessing i will be out of the airport around 6am. Whats my best bet to get to dupont circle around 730am? Supershuttle or metro? Well im into sports and the outdoors on the other hand my gf will out working around the capital. Any cool spots like sports bar or cool spots for happy hour besides the hotel? What time is the hotel happy hour?

thanks for all your help.