My Washington DC journey…..

I had a fun time in Washington D.C. despite the humidity and down pours of rain. Even though this was my 4th time in D.C. this was actually my first time staying over. The rest of my visits were just day trips with family. I was looking forward to all the things my husband and I were going to do over the course of 11 days.

We originally, during the conference, stayed at a hotel in D.C.’s Chinatown for the first 6 nights and then when the conference was over went to a vacation house for the next 3 nights with several of our friends. Then we stayed one night in Alexandria at another hotel closer to the airport the night before we flew back home.

While we were in DC we were able to visit several of the Smithsonian Museums, which included the American Art Museum, National Museum of Natural History, and the The National Zoo. We were able to see many of the Monuments around the National Mall as well.

My husband and I trekked many miles and had sore feet by the end of our 11 day adventure. We walked to the The Washington Monument one night way after dinner to see all its splendor by moon light. Then crossed over to see the The Lincoln Memorial but never quite made it that far that night. Instead we strolled the World War II Memorial and was in awe of that Memorial before running the streets trying to catch the last Metro back towards our hotel. Did I mention running the streets in sandals and humidity for BLOCKS!! The two of us were a sweaty mess — like sweat dripping down our backs and faces. I am sure the people on the Metro loved us that night!

The Washington Monument | Small Town Living in Nevada White House World War II Monument  IMG_5233

Most of my days while my husband was attending the convention, I was occupied by sleeping in, lounging in my hotel room with uninterrupted internet playing (yes I love Facebook – or writing on my Blog) until lunch time break snuck up. Don’t get me wrong — some mornings housekeeping woke me up (they weren’t consistent on their cleaning times) and I rushed to get dressed and then was forced to change up my routine, LOL. But for the most part it was relaxing to be able to do as I pleased and not have to really take care of anyone, except for myself.

When Lunch break came up, most days my husband, myself and a few others would go out to lunch at near by restaurants. One lunch break brought us to Legal Seafood on 7th Street NW for a business luncheon. I was very impressed with their menu. It either had gluten free items marked on the menu or they would definitely see if an item could be converted to gluten free. Lets say 75% of their menu was able to be converted to gluten free. THAT WAS AWESOME!

Now what was really impressive was our waiter, Ian. He was informative, entertaining and just an overall great waiter. He suggested the Lobster Roll and their crabmeat stuffed baked potato as one of their must haves and his favorites at Legal Seafood. Even though I listened to his suggestions, I went with their Crab Incrusted Flounder special instead. While my husband ordered their crabmeat stuffed baked potato with the Lobster Roll in addition to a side of grilled asparagus. When our food came it looked and smelled wonderful. And even though my lunch was very tasty — I kept stealing bites of my husbands meal and have to say the Lobster was to die for and the crabmeat stuffed baked potato was something that set me in taste-bud heaven. Yep it was that good!

Legal Seafood - Washington D.C. Crab encrusted flounder

Ian at Legal Seafood

Now, I really can’t forget to mention the gluten free rolls they serve. So delicious, moist and springy like real bread that my husband said they were really good. He and I HATE gluten free rolls. They are chalky and just plain nasty — but these rolls were so good that Ian actually gave me 6 rolls to-go cause we were raving over them. THANK YOU IAN!! Of course I later asked what the brand name was and JoAnne O’Neill (the Manager of Guest Services) was happy to indulge me by saying, “The brand on these are a local New England company in Woburn, MA called Something Sweet Without Wheat.” Yeah, I am gonna have to buy some of those rolls!

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls from Something Sweet Without Wheat
Now Ian was top notch and told us of some must attend restaurants while in DC. And while I actually didn’t hit many of them — we did end up going to Co Co. Sala on F Street NW. It is a luxurious chocolate boutique (the restaurant wasn’t open when we were there). I sampled some of their chocolates and ended up buying a few of their Artisanal Earl Grey Dark Chocolate. Wishing now I had bought more than just 3 pieces. The chocolate was smooth, creamy and full of flavor!

Co Co Sala IMG_5375

My husband works for the US Postal Service and that is why we were attending the conference in the first place. That Tuesday their convention agenda for the day was to go to the ‘Hill’ and speak with the congressman or women from their districts for postal reform. Well none of the congress(men/women) were in town due to the upcoming holiday so instead they had to speak with the congress(men/women’s) representatives. I tagged along for the experience in addition to photograph the meetings. It was very interesting watching all the politics unravel around me.

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Wednesday night everyone at the convention was bussed over to the National Harbor in Harbor, Maryland for a night of ‘fun’. One of the ladies we were with said, “Look! The Crab Cake Cafe’s crab cakes are all gluten free!” I love when others look out for me. So I ordered a crab and shrimp cake (this was a before dinner appetizer, right)?! I have to say their crab and shrimp cakes were WONDERFUL! This is one of those foods I haven’t eaten out and have been able to order in years. It was such a nice treat! Thanks De for the suggestion and thinking of me!

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After our appetizer we took the water taxi over to Alexandria, Virginia to explore their shops and then to really get dinner. Well a lovely torrential rainstorm hit probably 15 minutes after we arrived. I ran into a shop and bought a very overpriced umbrella… which it didn’t even matter at that point if I even had one.

Welcome to Alexandria
Our friends jetted into a swank little pizza joint, Pizzeria Paradiso, to dry up and stay out of the rain. So we followed them in. And then I read the restaurant made their own gluten free pizza crust. I was like cool lets order a pizza! Worst decision ever!  After one bite it was the worst pizza dough I have ever eaten. I mean I have made pizza dough from scratch before and it was WAY BETTER than this. I ended up scraping the toppings off and leaving the crust. And I will say I begrudgingly paid the $16 for this pizza. I just can’t express how bad it was. Even my husband couldn’t eat it beyond a bite.

And to top it off while we were at the pizza place everyone’s cell phones went off alerting them of flash floods for the area for the next couple of hours! Wonderful! Once the rain let up we took the free trolley to the King Street Metro and headed back to to the hotel.

The next day my husband had the afternoon off so we decided to take the Metro over to the National Museum of Natural History. My favorite part was visiting the Live Butterfly Habitat Garden. It literally transformed me into a kid. My husband and I were able to walk among the various live butterflies and exotic plants! It was just a really cool experience to get up close and personal with a variety of different butterflies from all over the world. They were so delicate and beautiful, that I could had stayed there all day.

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The next morning several of us took an Uber ride to the vacation house which was probably 5 miles away, but not really any where close enough to the Metro while carrying luggage. It was my first Uber ride and I have to say I was impressed. So much so we used the program twice while we were in DC.

Saturday morning, which was fourth of July we took our time and visited a few of the monuments. First off we went to The Jefferson Memorial. While at the The Jefferson Memorial we got stuck in a torrential rainstorm and were stuck at the memorial for at least 45 minutes. I mean the rain was coming down so extremely hard that the water was cascading down the steps at The Jefferson Memorial. Once the rain let up we continued on to The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and then we ended up at The Lincoln Memorial where we arrived early (about 3 hours) to stake out a seat while waiting for the Fourth of July fireworks display to begin.

Martin Luther King Jr Monument Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

I couldn’t believe the troves of people that came together for the fireworks that night. Unfortunately, the fireworks were a little hard to see since that night since the air was thick and the humidity was high from all the rain we had that morning and afternoon regardless of how close we were sitting to the display from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool because the smoke from the fireworks just kept lingering.

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Nevertheless, it was nice… but a little sad since it was the first time in 8 years that we celebrated 4th of July and didn’t have our children with us. Did I mention 4th of July is my wedding anniversary?? Yes, my husband and I got married on 4th of July…. so through all of this and being on vacation I made a sad looking, yet very yummy anniversary cake for the two of us.

Long story short — Every year for at least the last 9 or 10 years, I have been making an anniversary cake. For the last several years I have been making a gluten free cake. Now, normally it is heart shaped and cute, but this year I was out of town and came across challenges!

Anyway, Friday night I made a gluten free anniversary cake while we were at the D.C. Vacation house. I didn’t have a mixer or rolling pin or even a measuring cup for that.  Can you believe I rolled the fondant with a bottle of Pepsi?! I just wasn’t gonna miss making my cake because we were not home. Unfortunately, not having the right tools, the only thing that was wonky was the text didn’t come out too well on the cake, but hey it is what it is!! And the cake was mighty tasty and moist! So it all worked out!!!

Gluten Free Anniversary CakeSunday we decided to go to the National Zoo. Before we even got to the zoo, my husband and I packed sandwiches since we knew we’d be spending our money buying the kids souvenirs presents. Anyhow, that morning was so hot and humid that a 1/4 of the animals like the Wolves and the Sloth Bear were hiding due to the heat. I love zoos, but because this zoo is actually free to attend IT WAS PACKED! Nevertheless, I had fun seeing all the animals that weren’t hiding like the Orangoutangs climbing the O-Line, the Giant Pandas, Gorillas, Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Spectacled Bear, birds (like – Cardnials, Eagles, and many others), amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and all the rest! But to be honest the gift shop was a nice stop because it had a/c!!!! And most of the buildings that housed smaller animals were cooler to relax and walk around than being outside. But all in all it was a great trip.

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And for our last day/night in D.C. we decided to go to the Arlington National Cemetery and then try our luck at King Street in Alexandria once more.

I was actually looking forward to Arlington National Cemetery. When we got there I took my camera out and realized I forgot my SD card. I think I loudly said “Damn it!!!” But luckily the visitor center sold one, unfortunately, at $22 for a 4 GB card. I am still kicking myself for forgetting my card in my laptop.

Even though my husband had been to the Arlington National Cemetery before this was my first time and I wanted to take the actual tour instead of putzing around. It was sad and interesting all rolled into one. We saw the J F K Gravesite, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Arlington House, flowers, rabbits and thousands of graves! It was a little overwhelming to say the least.

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Then we hopped back on to the Metro and headed back to Alexandria’s King Street for some dinner at the Fish Market. I have to say I was shocked to find out their Clam Chowder was gluten free. I never get to order Clam Chowder so this was a total treat and oh man was it soooooooo delicious and filling!

Fish Market's Clam ChowderMost of their menu was gluten free and so hard to chose what I wanted. Normally back home I am limited and never have so many options that it was wonderful! So i went with their Crab Norfolk which was a 1/2 pound of blue crab meat sautéed in butter. Yep, it was oh so delish!

After we were back at our hotel room I was  thinking…. It’s been fun. But it is totally time to come home. I am tired (physically and mentally). And I missed my kiddos and my nice comfy bed!

So we got up early, ate breakfast and headed to the airport to start a long journey home. Our travel adventure then consisted of 1 shuttle ride, 3 planes flights (via Southwest Airlines), a 2-½ hour layover in Chicago and an hour car ride home for a total of 14 hours to finally get home from Washington D.C. I don’t like travels that take twice as long as necessary, but flying this way saved money while enduring a long flight home. I will say getting to DC was a breeze and only took 7 hours! The sky was pretty heading home though.

Anyhow, it was very nice to finally be home and see how much my kids love me and saw how much we were missed!

I was very thankful that my parents were able to hold down the fort for us while we were gone!

So as of right now it is good to be home. Until my next adventure, 🙂

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