National Memorial Day Parade and Newseum

Trip Start May 29, 2011
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Trip End Jun 05, 2011


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Where I stayed
Hotel Lombardy Washington DC
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Newseum Washington DC
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Monday, May 30, 2011

Wow –we must be on vacation. I slept in until 8am and Marshall until 10:00.  Obviously our bodies had some catching up to do.  We start our day slow and realize this is the first trip in some time we are not on any particular kind of schedule except for planned dinner reservations. Usually I am all about trying to see and do as much as possible when we travel and am up to the last minute choreographing timelines as a guide to keep us on track with some time for spontaneity built in.  This time we decide it is all about the R&R since we have seen many of the DC sites in the past.  Good thing, we walk outside to eat brunch at 10:30 and it is already 92 degrees and the heat is radiating up from the sidewalks.

We head to Founding Farmers for breakfast. Even though I know we will eat there for dinner later, I chose this as many downtown restaurants are closed on Sunday and we didn't want to pay the ridiculous prices our hotel restaurant offered.  I did notice on our walk over that Starbucks and Subway was open for breakfast as a cheaper alternative.

Founding Farmers (http://www.wearefoundingfarmers.com/ ) abides by the local and fresh green standards so many are applying these days so I had to try it.  We are seated quickly.  It is busy with people coming and going, waiters everywhere as I watch huge plates of French toast go by.  Their French toast must be 2 inches thick!  I settled for the Benedict Arnold combo (with my eggs scrambled upon request) with their homemade sausage and country red eye gravy with a fruit bowl side -$10.  Marshall went for the normal eggs/bacon/hash browns combo $9.  I did taste his hash browns which were cooked with sliced leeks in them, very flavorful.  I don’t know what came over me but I had kept seeing these paper sacks of beignets coming out of the kitchen and I just had to try them. OMG –a sack of fried donut like balls as light as air inside with caramel, chocolate and raspberry dipping sauces -$8!).  I realize I am going to have to do a lot of walking and sweating today to pay for that.

We pop into a nearby CVS store to purchase Marshall some sunglasses he neglected to pack.  Good thing, unlike yesterday which was cool and cloudy, today is bright and hot. We are literally sweating by the time we walk 3 short blocks to the Metro station.  Even down in the tunnel it was hot.  Fortunately it didn’t take long for the train to come and we were off to the Newseum Museum. 

When exit the Orange/Blue subway at Archives-Navy Memorial we are so glad we brought our water bottles with us.  Since we went green 4 years ago, our Rubbermaid water bottles go with us everywhere and can easily be filled at water fountains.  I know I feel good every time I fill them, both for the environment, as well as the financial savings (here water is $5 a 16oz bottle).  We just empty them before boarding a plane, fill them once past security and keep them filled until we get back to the airport and keep stowed away in the backpack for easy carrying.

We take our time wondering around towards Newseum and realize it is getting near time for the National Memorial Day parade as we see people have begun to assemble and realize we are right where it will happen.  I assume that it will be something to see so we roam around looking for a good shady viewing spot.  After sitting a few minutes, we realize which way the sun is moving and move down Constitution Avenue past the dignity tents sweltering in the sun (and they are in suits!) and find the perfect spot just on the edge of sunshine about to be shady with granite fence tombstones that are plenty big for sitting on.  They also end up being high enough we can see over passerby heads.  We settle to wait and are just close enough to the dignitaries to hear the pre-parade music play.  All the traditional American tunes are played and it is quite relaxing and moving listening and watching the parade watchers searching for their perfect perch.  Volunteers are handing our free t-shirts and mini flags.  Peddlars are hocking bigger flags, ice cream (big hit today) and cold drinks. 

On time the parade starts with all the fanfare I had expected. We see all kinds of Memorial tributes from all branches of service, fire fighters, police, 9/11 memorials, all US Wars, high school bands (in dark wool uniforms –I wonder to myself how many will faint before the reach the end).  We see some famous people too: Pat Sajak –Grand Marshall, Gary Sinise –Honorary Grand Marshall and Vet, Buzz Aldren, Joe Montegna, and even Miss America 2011. We see civil and revolutionary war re-enactors.  We watch for an hour on our cool shady perches and then start making our way to the museum before the crowds start breaking.

It is only 3 blocks to the Newseum but we are drenched by the time we get there.  We learn later the feels like temp is 104 degrees!  No wonder we were melting.  I think to myself I hope that beignet is sweated out by now.

I had read about Newseum on TripAdvisor.com as one of those secret gems no one knows about.  Of course once it gets on TripAdvisor.com the secret is out.  I had went to their website and found a coupon for 50% off admission on Memorial weekend visits (http://www.newseum.org/) Good thing too, admission was $21.95 per person. 

The museum is slick and contemporary and filled with 5 centuries of newspaper and some TV highlights. There was a special exhibit to Katrina and 9/11 showing different newspaper highlights across the world and the US points of view and what was reported.  I particularly like the area that was chronologically sorted with pull out hermetically sealed newspapers from the earliest printed papers to current.  It was interesting see how both the news and the content evolved over centuries.  We spend 2 hours in there wandering around the 4 story building. 

We sweat our way back to the Metro and change over to the Red Line as I’m thinking some nice cold beer is in order after all this sweating and the Savor Events have begun.  We exit at DuPont Circle. I can tell already this is a neighborhood people like to live.  Lots of shops and restaurants line the main street giving resident plenty of choices.  Our first stop is Scion (http://www.scionrestaurant.com/ ) where we enjoy a very nice Ithaca Ground Break Saison that was a perfect complement to the heat of the day and Marshall a Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA.  We chat with the bartender and he suggests Bier Baron around the corner.  I had read about it but didn’t realize it was so close so off we go.

We pull up to the Bier Baron (http://www.bierbarondc.com/ ) bar and are entertained by a couple at the other end thoroughly enjoying themselves after a Nostradamus. They say it was their only one but we thinkg they started out somewhere else if this is true as they were quite happy. This pub has one of the largest tap and bottle collections of beers in DC with over 500 selections.  We realize we are now pretty beer worldly as we have a hard time finding something we haven’t had.   We settle on a Stillwater Cellar and Founders Centennial IPA and are once again pleasantly pleased.  Here Eve our bartender tells us of Pizza Paradiso which I had also seen on the Savor Event pages and we head over there having finally cooled down and no longer sweating bullets.

Pizza Paradiso (http://www.eatyourpizza.com/news-events/ has several locations and based on the aromas and delicious pizzas I am seeing served I can see why.  Unfortunately pizza is not on my list of must haves this week and I go for the Mikkeler USAlive! And Marshall a Troegs Troegenator both DuPont style beers.  Both were very good and we are now a little slap happy so decide to head on back downtown for our dinner reservations before we get carried away.  On the ride back, I am again struck by what an amazing find of good beers and beer locations are to be had in DC.  I had no idea.

We arrive back at Founding Farmers where we started our day and realize we haven’t eaten anything else since breakfast and are starving.  Kind of glad it worked out that way to save a few calories considering the many we consumed in beer but we are on vacation after all. J

At breakfast I read about how Founding Farmers does special things with bacon like marinating them and then cooking them. Intrigued by this I order the Bacon Lollies and precede to OMG myself with how amazingly delicious they are.  Maple and brown sugared candied bacon dusted with cinnamon.  Words cannot describe how salty, sweet, decadent they were. I now have a mission to reproduce this at home!  Followed by Chimichurri skirt steak for me and Shrimp and Grits for Marshall we left with smiles on our faces.  Good thing to because unlike the breakfast great service we had our server messed up Marshall’s order and brought shrimp with pasta (which I was quite tempted to snag from the look of it).  Marshall had noticed on the menu a reference to 'ask about our cellar beers’ so of course we did and were pleasantly surprised with Brooklyn Brewery Black Ops (http://www.brooklynbrewery.com/blog/2009/12/10/theres-black-ops-on-the-horizon/ ) bourbon barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout.  Let me tell you it was the bomb. They did offer us a free dessert and when we passed comped the Bacon Lollies so all in all we remain positive of the experience.   We will sleep well this evening.

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