Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Maryland and DC Visit

Michelle's wedding ended late Friday night and my Dad and I drove back to my sister's house in Maryland. Briana was a phenomenal hostess while I was there. She took me to the Metro station and let me use her Metro card. She let me drink her wine. She even let my friend Megan spend the night at her house so that we could get a good chance to visit. Plus, Briana and Adam took Monday off of work to gallivant with me around Baltimore before my flight left that night. I hope that when they finally come to visit me that I can be as accommodating as they were.

Even though Michelle's wedding brought me to DC, I had a huge agenda to see tons of people while I was there. Because I attended college in Virginia and the vast majority of my friends are in the surrounding areas, I had a lot of visiting to fit into only a couple of days. On Saturday I woke up early and took the Metro into Washington DC. I was on a mission to spend the day with Amanda and Christine, two fantastic friends from college. We started out with lunch in Georgetown then headed to the National Portrait Gallery. I think museum was really wonderful and we loved seeing the Presidents' portraits. We didn't stay terribly long though because museums aren't really conducive to girlfriends catching up after not seeing each other for several years. We walked around downtown DC, grabbed Starbucks, and talked about everything. I even spotted a Starbucks in "Chinatown" that was spelled out in Chinese. I have never noticed anything like that in Seattle, even with our huge Asian population! That night I had dinner with my Dad, Bri, and Adam. We went to a great "French-inspired Vietnamese" restaurant. I'll spare you the picture of my steak. But imagine a steak smothered in a lime sauce with a fried egg on top. It was awesome! On Sunday my Dad left to go home to Florida and Briana and I drove to Arlington, VA. As luck would have it, one of our high school teachers from Germany was in the area for a couple of months. We chatted with Mr. Schmidt and one of his kids, a girl who is now a shy, grown up 12 year old, when I used to babysit her as a precocious 3 year old!

After coffee, we drove back to Maryland to wait for my dear friend Megan to join us. Megan and I go all the way back to 2nd grade. We've stayed the best of friends even though I have moved all over the country in the years since we first met. Megan drove to spend the afternoon and evening with me and left early Monday morning. Our first order of business was to do a little shopping. Then we headed to the Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard. This Maryland winery boasts that they're the only local winery to have their product served at the Kennedy Center. Megan and I tried a 10-wine tasting and then enjoyed another glass in their outdoor seating area. The wine was okay. I'm not sure if it was my favorite wine or worth the prices, but the ambiance of the winery was pleasant and relaxing. On Monday, Briana, Adam, and I went to Baltimore for the day. It was a city that none of us had really spent any time in. It seemed to be filled with history. Our first stop was the Baltimore Inner Harbor, where we decided to tour the USS Torsk and the USS Constellation. The Torsk was a submarine in commission during WWII. And the USS Constellation was one the last commissioned all-sail ship in the Navy. The Constellation help fought slave trafficking in the 1800s. Both ships were really interesting. I had never been in a submarine before; even though you an imagine the tight space, it seems even crazier to see it in real life. We had a mediocre lunch in a charmingly-decorated Italian restaurant. We then went to see the original Washington monument. (The one in DC was created after the Baltimore one.) We wanted to do a lot more historical/tourism things, but we didn't want to continue to spend money and the free locations seem to be closed on Mondays. At any rate, the money we spent on the ship tours was money well-spent and Baltimore is on my to-do tourism list in the future. That night I flew out of Baltimore and headed back home. All in all, a great trip with fun, friends, and family.

For my next posting, I'll get back to our regularly scheduled Pacific Northwest fanfare...

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