Washington D.C. Day 6: Dupont Circle / Embassy Row

Since we returned to our hotel after midnight the previous night, we got a late start on this day, sleeping until 10:30am. We therefore decided it'd be better to eat in Northern Virginia rather than starve until we made it to D.C.

For lunch, we went to the Einstein's near Reston Town Center, at which I had the same quality bagel (with lox) I've learned I can consistently expect from Einstein's. The sandwich was perfect -- exactly what it should be. We also shared some fresh orange juice. It was obvious it was squeezed recently. In all, a very satisfying meal. I'd give it a 4? on my rating scale.

As we left the area, I declined to see the Reston Town Center again. I'd seen it many times while growing up and didn't feel the need to see it again; I remembered it well enough.

Then, a drive, a Metro, and a long escalator ride later, we found ourselves in Dupont Circle. We'd spend the day visiting a museum and walking Dupont Circle and Embassy Row in particular. The route we walked and the pictures I took serve as the primary documentation of what we saw.

When we stopped by the National Geographic Society, we briefly explored the museum inside. It's a small, fairly traditional science museum. We were really looking for a giant glass globe of the world which only one of my guide books (published in 2007) mentioned. When we inquired, the staff said the globe hadn't been there for six years. Ah well. We did find some nice topological maps.

When in the vicinity of Scott Circle, rain started coming down hard. We jumped into the lobby of a Marriott Courtyard, oddly the same chain in which we were staying in Virginia. The rain quickly departed, so we hurried onward to the museum I wanted to see so we could see it before it closed. Because of this need for speed and worry about the return of the rain, I didn't get to photograph Scott Circle. I would've liked to as it had three sections, each with a statue. (Zoom in the Google map to see the different green parts.)

As we walked down Massachusetts Avenue to the Phillips Collection, we realized why the part of town was called Embassy Row. (Well, it actually houses more than just embassies. But it does house many embassies.) Within two blocks we passed the embassies for Australia, Trinidad & Toboga, and Uzbekistan, along with buildings for the Congressional Black Caucus, IEEE, the Brookings Institution, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

We stopped to explore the Phillips Collection. It's one of my favorite museums. It mainly shows art that I like (impressionist and other art from late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) and not much else. It thus has a high density of enjoyable art, yet is small and therefore unintimidating. I took more pictures than I'd expect for a museum this size. In addition to the artists/works represented in the pictures I took, I noted rooms devoted each to Cezanne, O'Keeffe, Rothko, Klee, and Arthur Dove, as well as paintings by Mondrian, Pollock, Miro, Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, and William Scott, and photographs by Stieglitz.

We left the Phillips Collection to continue walking the neighborhood.

When rain approached, the park we were in at the time emptied. Even the chess players disappeared. We heard it coming as well--the thunder is a give-away--but later than the locals. I guess the natives have a better sense of impending weather than us tourists.

We retreated to Kramerbooks, an independent bookstore. It's a small place but has a good selection. We browsed for while. It has a bar/cafe, Afterwords Cafe, but the cafe is for sit-down restaurant dining; it doesn't serve snacks like Starbucks.

Hence, we went next door to Starbucks. We sat in the corner by windows looking out onto the nearby circle and people-watched. We ate a Go Raw Banana 'Bread' Flax Bar that, while walking around D.C. earlier in the week, someone gave me as a sample, and also ate a brownie and an oatmeal raisin cookie, both from Starbucks. My mom liked the banana flax bar.

I wrote in my notes at the time that Seth would like this area because it has many young women. A bit after this trip, he moved to Washington D.C. and I learned I was right.

Somewhere along this walk, by the way, we found a nice field of day lilies. "Oh, I love it," said mom.

We didn't make it to Adams Morgan--I hoped we would--before needing to turn back to head to dinner.

For dinner, I took my parents to Restaurant Nora, allegedly the country's first certificated organic restaurant. Basically, it's the Chez Panisse of the east. The menu notes that everything they use is organic except for certain types of food (foraged mushrooms, some seafood, some wines and spirits) that have no certification body. The back of the menu has a statement of philosophy and a long list describing how and from whom they source every ingredient and how each of those farmers does his or her own thing in an organic, sustainable, healthy way. I think this disclosure is the opposite of many restaurants, who are tight-lipped about who their suppliers are for fear that disclosure will reveal to competitors where to get the best quality ingredients.

We enjoyed our meal. The dishes were all fresh and creatively put together. The portion sizes were good; after the main course we had room for dessert. Later, we left dinner not overstuffed, "very comfortable."

After dinner, we had a long train ride home with lots of waiting for trains, sitting at stations. Actually, today was a slow day for the metro overall. I love the your-train-will-arrive-in-x-minutes. Usually x was less than ten except for this day.

No comments: