Spending Some Time in DC
Most visits to Washington, DC are a mad rush to see the highlights: Lincoln Memorial – check, White House – check, Declaration of Independence at the National Archives – check, Smithsonian Museums- check, check and check.
We’ve visited DC before, but this time we decided to give ourselves plenty of time and in the process we discovered some hidden gems.
At first Dean wasn’t interested in motoring our sailboat one-hundred miles up the Potomac to Washington, DC. I was going to attend the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual meeting and we figured that I could just get a hotel room with my conference rate discount. Holy toledo, no good deals there! We opted to use our boat Snowcat as room and board for the visit. Best of all, we were able to host some friends for dinner with fish from the local fish market!
5 Hidden DC Gems
This visit to our nation’s capital, we had enough time to find some hidden gems…
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial – Life-sized statues fill this tribute to a great American leader. Throughout this outdoor sculpture garden, visitors are encouraged to get close and experience the life and times of our 35th president. Veterans pose next to a statue of FDR in a wheel chair. Kids tuck into bread lines so common during the Great Depression. This memorial will remind you about America’s ability to face adversity and the leadership that got us through it all.
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
~By Franklin Delano Roosevelt
2. Mitsitam Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian – You know that you’re going to visit the Air and Space Museum…everyone visits the Air and Space Museum. So, after you’ve seen Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis and the Wright Flyer, the world’s first airplane – you’re going to need some lunch. Head on over to the Mitsitam Cafe, the cafeteria of the nearby American Indian museum. The chef, Freddie Bitsoie, has created a menu of indigenous foods from across the Americas. Bison Chili, Green Chile stuffed Fry Bread, Jicama Salad, and Salmon Chowder are a few of the intriguing dishes that they offer.
When you’re done with lunch, take the elevator to the top floor of the museum and work your way through the exhibits back down to the ground floor. There are several places throughout the museum where you can view Native American drumming and dance performances.
3. Eastern Market – Looking to explore the character of some of the DC neighborhoods? Jump on the Metro and take a ride to Capitol Hill to visit their Eastern Market. This food and art market has been in the same location since 1873! One of the few remaining original public markets in Washington, it’s open Tuesday- Sunday. We visited on Saturday when they also have outdoor vendors (probably not in the winter.)
4. District Wharf – I’m a big fan of waterfront redevelopment — boy has it been happening in Washington. The last time we visited Washington, DC by boat was with our family in 2004. At that time, we could anchor off the Gang Plank Marina next to the fish market and for a small fee use their marina showers and laundry. We visited the sights of the city during the day and returned to the boat before dark because the neighborhood was sketchy – no lights, trash and very few people after dark.
Returning to Washington on a boat was vastly different in 2018. The free anchorage was gone, replaced by The District Wharf -a pedestrian mall with music pavilion, high-end restaurants and first-class hotels. Next time you visit DC consider the hotels in the Wharf District. My understanding is that they are often a better deal than most DC hotels and the District Wharf offers a free bus that will take you to the Mall and Metro.
If you’re coming by boat, the Capital Yacht Club was filled with the most hospitable people we met in DC. They don’t have much space for transient boats, so reserve early. There are also mooring buoys available in the Washington Channel, but the close-in anchorage that we experienced in 2004 is long gone.
5. Okay, here’s were I have to admit that Dean and I couldn’t agree on our fifth “gem.” I’d love it if you would leave a comment and let us know what your favorite, unexpected slice of DC is. We will definitely be returning to this vibrant city, so share your recommendations in the comment section.2