A morning walk in Hawkshead.

Just one of the many magical moments during my two week adventure in England. More to come… :)

DC daytrip 2014 #2

Tuesday April 8, 2014

Train 84 Richmond to DC (my standard mode and time of transportation)     seen from the train - a rowboat in the woods                                                                         a wild turkey walking through the trees

Upon arriving at Union Station, and after a quick breakfast at Au Bon Pain, I took the red line Metro to Dupont Circle for  a  leisurely stroll along Massachusetts Avenue (aka Embassy Row) to Q ST across the Buffalo Bridge and into Georgetown.

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I embarked on my first ever visit to Tudor Place Historic House and Garden on 31st ST. I did not opt for the house tour but did stroll through the gardens. There were only a few other people doing the same which made for a very pleasant hour of relaxing.   

Tudor Place is open from  10-4 Tuesday- Saturday, 12-4 on Sunday and they are closed on Mondays. They are not open during the month of January. Admission is $10 for the house tour, $3 for the garden only with reduced prices for seniors and for children. The $3 that I paid to wander the grounds was well worth it.

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After leaving Tudor Place I walked a few blocks up 31st ST to R ST  to Dumbarton Oaks Garden, my main destination for the day and one of my very favorite places. Ever. I arrived as they were opening, took my place in line behind two french tourists and soaked up their accents, paid my admission fee and wandered to my hearts content. I don’t know how best to explain the allure of Dumbarton Oaks gardens except to say that each garden is like a room leading into another room and then into another. It is a magical place.

The hours at Dumbarton Oaks are brief so planning is of the essence when visiting. They are only open from 2-6 PM and are closed on Mondays. Admission is $8 with reduced price for seniors and children. It always the best $8 of my day any time that I visit.

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After soaking up my fill at Dumbarton it was time to walk back down through Georgetown to Foggy Bottom and catch the metro back to Union Station. (There are no metro stops in DC per se. Dupont Circle - about 1.5 mile walk to Dumbarton Oaks,  Foggy Bottom - about a 1 mile walk in to Georgetown proper,  and Rosslyn - about 1 mile as well are generally the stops that I use). 

Lunch on  Wisconsin Avenue at 5 Guys for some fries and a window seat for people watching, a stop by Georgetown Cupcake for a chocolate salted caramel cupcake (all of that walking has its perks which is a guilt free dessert ha ha!) and a quick stop in to The Paper Source (love the Paper Source!) and back to the train station for the 85 to Richmond.

All in all a good day in DC - lots of walking, fresh air, pretty gardens, and a yummy cupcake. And a soothing train ride home.

headed back to England

In 37 days I’m making my 6th (can’t believe this will be my 6th!!) visit to England. I got it in my head that I wanted to celebrate my birthday at the end of May in England and so I started planning this trip a few months ago. I asked my mom if she’d like to come along and she said yes. She’s never been so I am very excited to show her just why I love it so much. The plans are made, b&b’s are booked, airline tickets have been purchased, car is reserved for driving around the Lake District and the Moors of Yorkshire, railpass for all areas around London is in hand and all that’s left to do now is wait!

the last time that I was in London (January 2012)…

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I took another day trip to DC recently…riding the train up to DC is a perfect way to spend a day off :)

I had no agenda in mind really other than knowing that I wanted to take a few photos at the Library of Congress. I did that, and I ended up going on a 2 hour guided tour which was really pretty awesome.

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I decided after that to walk over to the Eastern Market. I’ve never really explored Capitol Hill and I’ve always wanted to go to the market. I didn’t spend much time there but I know now that I want to go back and explore some more…

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After that I really did have no destination in mind and wound up over near the Federal Triangle and at the NGA. Sadly I was misinformed as to the Saturday hours of the Gallery and only had about 30 minutes to spend there. But no worries, I just ended up with more time to wander and relax at the end of the day!

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A few highlights of my day worth remembering…

*when I got off the train at Union Station I ducked into the ladies room and almost ran right into a half naked woman primping at the mirror - she was dressed in black leggings and a red lace bra (at 9:30 in the morning…maybe she’d had a late night, hmm…) - while at the sink I looked in to the mirror and there she was still behind me primping but this time she was braless, bare breasted and shimmying into a sequined halter top, quite a start to the day!

*overheard at the Library of Congress while a woman was taking a photo of her friend…”do you want your whole body in it?” “no, I don’t care about my body”…that really amused me :)

*I can’t remember my LofC tour guide’s name but he was quite the character, very informative and entertaining and at the end of the tour he quoted part of Lincoln’s second inaugural speech “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish, a just and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations” and became choked up while speaking - it was very touching.

*the Eastern Market was full of dogs of all shapes and sizes, little dogs, big dogs, dogs wearing boots, dogs with fancy haircuts…and was full of musicians and musical instruments including a mysterious tuba carrying man who I followed into the market building only to discover a tuba but no man inside the entryway…

*while walking through the Capitol Hill neighborhood I looked up into a window to see a globe and a girl playing a guitar behind the globe…it was like a glimpse into a magic world…

*walking back to the train station I watched a squirrel that didn’t look like the other squirrels (it was white and gray and rather cute) eating a nut…the squirrel saw me watching and dropped it’s nut on the ground and ran up to me, I thought that it was going to jump into my arms the way it was pacing back and forth on the sidewalk and gazing up at me…I gave it a piece of a cookie that I had in my bag and the squirrel seemed quite happy with that.

the DC daytrip - the end.

*Penn Quarter. We had high hopes headed to the Christmas Market near here. The market was a bust but the view here is pretty good.

*In Georgetown. Always something to see everywhere that you look. And I can’t see a fortune teller sign without thinking of this line from the Bob Dylan song Idiot Wind…

I ran into the fortune-teller, who said beware of lightning that might strike

I haven’t known peace and quiet for so long I can’t remember what it’s like”

*fairy lights in the trees, rainy foggy night …Federal Triangle

*we had cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes and didn’t have to stand in a long line AND we got a table! (there are only about 5 tables in there so that is an accomplishment)

*I’ve loved wandering Georgetown for years…this is on M street right after walking across the Key Bridge from Virginia

*and at the beginning of the day…my nieces cheesing it up ;-) The Union Station Christmas tree had to be moved outside this year because there are STILL repairs being done from the earthquake damage two years ago.  

 

DC daytrip cont’d…

*holiday decorations make me happy :)

*the Smithsonian castle on the National Mall and a leisurely stroll with hot chocolate in hand

*on the National Mall…it was a gloriously misty dreary winter day

*wandering the streets of DC near the Willard Hotel

*these atmospheric passageways  made me feel like I was in Europe for a moment

The DC daytrip cont’d…

*the view down Pennsylvania Ave…there’s the capitol building.

*in the  Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery - this is an amazing enclosed space in the interior of the museum

*boarding the metro at Federal Triangle

*at Union Station…always a good spot for a photo

*we took the metro to Rosslyn and walked over the Key Bridge into Georgetown…there was construction work in progress outside of the metro which led us to this fun little area

I took a train to DC last week with my nieces for a day of holiday shopping, birthday celebrating and all around fun for a day of being out and about.

*riding the train from Richmond to DC includes great scenic views from the window

*in Georgetown, the holiday spirit is alive and well!

*ice skating on the National Mall (the snow was  manufactured but still…SNOW! (I happen to love winter very very much)

*Starbucks window feeling all festive…

*wandering around from Penn Quarter over to the National Mall. Sometimes DC has a very Parisian feel to me, in little pockets here and there

I wish that I’d had just a little bit more time for urban explorations while in Costa Rica but some is better than none…right?…

My trip to Costa Rica was primarily about nature and about relaxing but no trip would be complete without exploring the culture and meeting some people…

Costa Rica was pretty amazing…

I just got back from an adventure…

I just got back from an adventure…