Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and the Compromise of 1790 resulted in the capital of these United States: Washington, D.C. Much more than an abundance of history lessons, D.C. has a lot to offer the weekender and local alike. I took a trip there last month to unwind, bask in warmer spring weather, and get my steps in.
There are a lot of ways to get out of NYC - that's one of the reasons I love living here.
Trains are fun. Penn Station is not so fun. If you take the train, plan on that part of your trip being unpleasant. Otherwise, sit back and relax because you're not going to be stuck in traffic. Once you get to Union Station in D.C., take a stroll to stretch your legs or, head straight for the Metro entrance.
This option doesn't really seem worth it unless you love to change altitudes in short time frames.
Honestly, my most preferred travel method to D.C. is by bus. Forget Megabus (the NYC location is a mess) and book a seat on Vamoose, it's worth every penny. You may hit traffic but at least you didn't have to go into or near Penn Station - sorry Penn Station.
The Vamoose bus drops off in Bethesda, Maryland just northwest of D.C. proper. The good news is it only takes 20-30 minutes via Metro to get into the heart of D.C. You can either stay in D.C. or stay in Bethesda, traveller's choice.
I usually stay in Bethesda at the Hyatt Regency. It is about two blocks from the Vamoose bus drop off and literally on top of the Metro entrance. Talk about convenient. The Hyatt Regency was also renovated last year, bonus points.
Bethesda is a good home base because it’s relatively inexpensive compared to staying in D.C. proper and a fairly short commute to all the sites and sounds. It also has the places you probably want to go... Soul Cycle, sweetgreen, Joe & The Juice, Georgetown Cupcakes...
Inspiring "healthier communities by connecting people to real food," sweetgreen makes great salads and warm bowls. D.C. (and the surrounding area) has multiple locations.
Joe & The Juice
After working out, I love to go to Joe & The Juice for a ginger turmeric shot or an Avo Shake. It's also good to visit if you're feeling a bit under the weather during your travels.
Travel a few Metro stops south to Friendship Heights and majorly treat yourself to a waterless mani-pedi at Varnish Lane. You will leave feeling more than relaxed.
Located in the "Old City" of D.C., this neighborhood has gone through many iterations - including one of the historic locales in the development of American gay identity.
Swann Street NW
If you’re in the mood for a stroll, exit the Dupont Circle Station and start walking towards Swann Street. It’s lovely. You’ll pass sprawling mansions and, most likely, a lot of tour groups (which start to subside as you move away from Dupont Circle).
Once you get to Swann Street, slow down under soaring tree canopies to admire the late 19th/early 20th-century row homes. Also enjoy the residential quiet before you get to busy 14th Street.
14th Street is where it’s at - shops, boutiques, restaurants, locals in gym clothes and/or carrying grocery bags...
Little Leaf Shop
I had never been to 14th Street before, but had two reasons for wanting to visit: one of them being Salt & Sundry's Little Leaf Shop. It definitely lived up to its Instagram pictures (seriously would live on their feed if I could). Can you say, "Welcome to plant heaven?" If only I drove a car from the city... I could have taken a lot of plants home with me!
If you want some really good Instagram material with a side of cold-pressed juice, you should probably stop by Jrink. Seriously, every place I looked I was like, can I low-key Instagram this? To be honest, I had higher hopes for their potion drinks, but their locally sourced, made-in-house juice was the bomb.
Salt & Sundry
If you’re looking for a special gift, or something for yourself, Salt & Sundry will not disappoint. Shop for D.C. -based goods, especially in the pantry section. I'd visited the Salt & Sundry in NOMA before but was glad to finally visit their main location. I couldn’t help myself and bought an Appointed notebook (I am obsessed: American made, grid ruling, where have you been all my life?) ...among a few other things!
This (mostly) food hall is a new favorite haunt when I am in D.C. I always stop here for a Craft Kombucha and a pasta dish from Cucina Al Volo, which I like to enjoy al fresco.
I love kombucha and was hooked on Craft Kombucha the first time I tried it - blue lemongrass (heart eyes). It's easy to see why this local business has a loyal following, especially when you try their unique flavors. My visit coincided with cherry blossom season and you can bet there was cherry kombucha on tap.
Cucina Al Volo
Honestly, I really tried to scope out a different stall for lunch since I ate here the last time I was in D.C. but I still found myself ordering a beet rigatoni with burata and tomatoes. It was so good. The call of well-made pasta is strong.
One Eight Distilling
Surprisingly, One Eight ended up being one of my favorite things on this trip - not that I expected it to be bad! I am not drinking much these days (#sobercurious anyone?) so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up for their $15 tour. The distillery has a front room which serves as a bar and storefront - some long tables, a few couches, and foosball table were quickly occupied once it hit 3:00 pm on a Saturday. I don't want to give away all of the fun facts I learned, so let's just say co-founder Sandy Wood knows his stuff.
A relaxing weekend spent exploring another city felt long in all the right ways but, of course, I soon found myself back on the bus to NYC. After this weekend adventure, I look forward to my next one in D.C. this fall (especially because it may or may not involve the Barefoot Contessa... okay it does!).