Mini Trip to D.C. - GTG Icing on the Cake

Sep 8th, 2019, 07:42 AM
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Mini Trip to D.C. - GTG Icing on the Cake

Sept 7, 2019 was the official DC gtg. Dona (yestravel) put together a wonderful dinner on that date. Congrats and thanks to her.

I drove in to D.C. on Friday and would like to share my activities. I invite others to add info about where you visited, and your photos if you wish.
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Sep 8th, 2019, 06:28 PM
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Dinner at Petit Plats on Saturday





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Sep 9th, 2019, 04:38 AM
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Thank you, yestravel!
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Sep 9th, 2019, 05:32 AM
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I’ll add to it. I was just in for an overnight and the gtg. I took Amtrak from Richmond to Union Station and walked to the Hotel Monaco at E and Eighth. I love Kimptons and usually stay in one when I’m in DC. The Monaco is across the street from the Portrait Gallery so it’s in a wonderful location if you’re interested in visiting the mall sites. The rooms are spacious with high, high ceilings due to a previous life of the building, built in the 1840’s, as a post office.


I dumped my luggage and headed out for some food and a wander. Fellow Fodorite, yestravel had recommended Piccolina and it was exactly what I needed. A crusty ciabatta with mortadella and olive oil cake. Perfect! The casual restaurant and take out counter is on a nice pedestrian alley surrounded by very expensive designer shops.


Resisting the impulse to browse in the shops, I headed down to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. When I visit DC, I’m always compromising with other family members when deciding what to visit. This time, on my own, I knew that I was only interested in one thing: the First Lady dresses and the dishes. Visiting the Smithsonians museums at 3 is a bit of a nicer experience than in the morning or midday. There isn’t a mad crush of people. Granted, the weekend after Labor Day and school may have kept families home. It was a quick visit because I had to get back to the hotel to watch Serena play. I went down to the bar and ordered Port City Brewing’s optimal wit. The entire bar was pulling for Serena. Sadly, it was for naught.


I intended to take the metro up to the gtg but I remembered how confused I was by the automatic ticket machine the last time I took the metro. Ok, no problem, there’s google. Uh uh, that just made me more confused so... hello Uber.


Petit Plats was a great choice. Thank you, yestravel. The food was great and the company better.


I didn’t have a lot of time before my morning train so I just went out for a run over to the Mall the next day. After walking through tourist and food truck clogged streets the afternoon before, the peace and quiet of the neighborhood on an early Sunday morning was very enjoyable.


Another easy walk to Union Station and I was on my way home. When I made my train reservation on Friday I noticed that about 25% were canceled, due to the hurricane, I assumed. I had to drive up to Richmond from Williamsburg because the Northeast Regional was one of them. Things were back to normal for Amtrak by Sunday which of course meant a 45 minute delay but I did enjoy the drink service in business class on the Carolinian. You don’t get that on the regional.


Thanks again to all the planners. TDuette I meant to tell you in person how much I always enjoy your trip reports. Thank you for starting this one.
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Sep 9th, 2019, 08:28 AM
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Wonderful, Birdie. Hotel Monaco is near one of my favorite Museums!

In fact, here are the shots I took there on Saturday morning.

It was a surprise to find Mrs. O's portrait on the floor above President's Obama's. Some, but not all First Ladies' photos were near or with their husband's/


This cool sculpture was on the north (?) side of the Portrait Gallery. The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) is also a part of the building.


Here's the history of the sculpture and the artist:


President Obama's portrait was not the only one to depart from formality; JFK's and Clinton's were very unusual. Sorry, I didn't take shots.
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Sep 9th, 2019, 08:47 AM
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I arrived on Friday and stayed at the Marriott Marquis as at the 2016 gtg. Dinner that night was at Zaytinya's (thanks again to yestravel). Not all shots are in good focus but I think you can see how happy everyone is!
Menu link: https://www.google.com/search?q=zayt...F-8#iqh=Dinner



The colorful front of the restaurant:




The wonderful waiter on the left navigated us through Zaytinya's amazing menu.


Saturday morning, I strolled down 9th Street, NW to the Portrait Gallery. It opened at 11:30. AGM, so that gave me 1.5 hours to visit the presidents and then get to lunch at 1:00. Vt and annhig and I decided to meet at the Pavillion Cafe by the National Gallery of Art (NGA). https://www.nga.gov/visit/cafes/pavilion-cafe.html/ It actually took me over an hour to walk through the presidents section and run upstairs to see Mrs. Obama.

The Pavillion has both outdoor and indoor seating. We chose to sit outside as the day was absolutely gorgeous. I had a super Hawaiian sandwich and the others had salads. They'll have to let you know what they ate. https://pavilioncafe.com/menu/
We lost valuable talking time because of the rather awkward way one orders. You order, are given a "beeper", and then wait (trying all the time NOT to be in someone's way) for your food. We decided to go 2 at a time so we wouldn't lose our outside table. While waiting, annhig and I witnessed a theft. Mr. Squirrel took, bag and all, someone's snack! He then focussed on that family for the course of their meal. Eat inside if you prefer no entertainment.

We then decided to take a stroll through the NGA. We focussed on the Dutch exhibit. annhig was very impressed to see rooms filled with Rembrandts. We then got a glimpse of the Impressionists' section. I hope the others write about their impressions. We split up to shop or rest up for the amazing Saturday DC GTG!
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Sep 9th, 2019, 01:10 PM
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I spent part of Saturday at the African American History Museum. Almost did not get to go as free timed tickets are gone into December. Then discovered at 6:30 AM daily, same day tickets can be reserved on-line. After a great dinner Friday evening, set the alarm for 6:29 and lucked into an 11AM entry time. If you go, I recommend starting on the top floor which is about culture - music, theatre, food, fashion, sports.

And as someone growing up near NYC and currently living near Boston, shocked to discover that vehicles and pedestrians in DC actually view traffic signals, crosswalks and street crossing timers as something other than street art.
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Sep 9th, 2019, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TDudette View Post
It actually took me over an hour to walk through the presidents section and run upstairs to see Mrs. Obama.
The same for me. A return trip was the plan for me and the Fodorite friend who was coming. We've been to DC together several times but I wanted MORE time in the Portrait Gallery. Katharine Hepburn's portrait (and Oscars) were in the room across from Michelle's when I was there, along with more fabulous ones. I want to return to spend hours there!
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Sep 9th, 2019, 03:35 PM
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Don't know if it's still true, gail, but one could get a ticket for jaywalking in D.C.

Portrait Gallery has a competition every other year, starrs. I've entered unsuccessfully for all the years they accepted photos . Mrs. Obama's portrait was done by one of the winners.
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Sep 9th, 2019, 06:19 PM
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The Portrait Gallery was a favorite of ours and we spent a long time there.
Katharine Hepburn was quite special.


Katharine Hepburn and her Oscars
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Sep 10th, 2019, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by TDudette View Post
Don't know if it's still true, gail, but one could get a ticket for jaywalking in D.C.

Portrait Gallery has a competition every other year, starrs. I've entered unsuccessfully for all the years they accepted photos . Mrs. Obama's portrait was done by one of the winners.
Good luck! I hope you win the next time!

I was blown away by both portraits - Michelle's and Katharine's - but I had to wonder if the positioning was intentional. Katharine Hepburns Oscar for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, steps away from the portrait of the first black First Lady. 42 years. That's mind-blowing to me - in all of the powerful, good ways. As I wandered the room, I knew I had to come back to spend a lot more time - and I thought the timing of this GTG would work out. I had flown up that day for just the morning, to be there as the Honor Flight from my state arrived at the WWII memorial. I only had an "extra" hour to see the Obama portraits, but since April 2017 returning to the portrait gallery as been near the top of my bucket list. Thanks for the wonderful photos!


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Sep 10th, 2019, 04:39 AM
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Sep 10th, 2019, 05:10 AM
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Thanks for more wonderful photos, TPAYT and starrs.
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Sep 10th, 2019, 04:29 PM
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A reflection of us in the VN Memorial......just one days losses. Too sad to comprehend



We also thought the WWII Memorial was quite a beautiful tribute.

Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the Air & Space Museum. The Botanical Gardens grabbed our interest for a long time.
All in all our DC getaway was wonderful with the Fodorite dinner the highlight of our weekend.

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Sep 10th, 2019, 04:46 PM
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Your photo is of one day. Of so many, many days...
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Sep 11th, 2019, 04:10 AM
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I combined the trip for the GTG with a visit to see my son, DIL and young granddaughter who live in Silver Spring MD. I was able to spend an afternoon and three evenings with them which is always fun.

On Saturday afternoon I was part of the lunch gathering at the Pavilion Cafe with annhig, AGM Cape Cod and TDudette described in an earlier post. (I had a good citrus quinoa salad). I really enjoyed our wide-ranging conversation sitting outside at the edge of the National Sculpture Garden.
Since I get to DC pretty often I am fairly relaxed about sight seeing and found our brief time in the National Gallery to see some of the permanent collection easier than many museum visits where I try to cram in all the highlights.

On Sunday morning after the GTG AGM and i ran into each other at the lobby of the Grand Hyatt. She was off to meet a friend at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market and I tagged along for a while. It's a great market. I probably ate the equivalent of at least two peaches sampling the wares from various orchards. I wish I could have brought a bushel home.

On Monday I went to Georgetown hoping to see the section of the C and O Canal at the park there. My husband and I toured sections near Harper's Ferry, Hancock and Cumberland in July and I thought it would be interesting to see the urban end of the canal. Unfortunately there isn't much to see right now although the park service is working on sections of the canal and a new visitor center. It is a nice place for a stroll away from the main shopping streets, though. I also stopped in to see the Old Stone House.

Other than the GTG dinner and the peach samples, I didn't have much noteworthy food other than some gelato at a new place in Kensington, MD and an excellent chocolate raspberry brownie supplied by AGM Cape Cod.
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Sep 11th, 2019, 05:28 AM
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some additional information about the National Portrait Gallery from a visit there in June: There is a good exhibit about the woman's suffrage movement through January 5th. Much better and more comprehensive that what is currently at the American History Museum although there will be a new exhibit there in 2020
https://npg.si.edu/exhibition/votes-for-women

Also, the Museum of African American History & Culture only requires timed passes on weekends and some special dates.
From the website: Walk-up to the museum without a pass on weekdays beginning at 10am. Timed entry passes are only required on weekends and for groups of 10 or more. Learn More!
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Sep 11th, 2019, 07:52 AM
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More super shots, TPAYT. Thank you.

Vt, I forgot to note AGM's raspberry brownie! Thanks for more SAAM info.

The MAAHC was built with great thought and meaning:
https://www.greenroofs.com/projects/...ulture-nmaahc/

OK, the end of my TR.

I forgot to note that I walked down 9th St. NW to get to Portrait Gallery/SAAM and loved the reflections on this building:


After AGM, Ann, and Vt and I split up, I went back to the room to freshen up for dinner. I took a cab to the restaurant and it didn't cost much more than the other trips I took from the hotel to Zaytinya, and back from NGA.

Petit Plats ( https://www.petitsplats.com/ ) is on Connecticut Ave, NW. Our group of about 40 had our own room on the 2nd floor of what looked like a former house. Dona, we all thank you again for organizing this! I think we need 1/2 a day to talk with each other. It is so much fun to match the face with the Fodor's name! Also fun to discover that places people loved were shared with others.

Dinner was very good. I had the salad, and the beef steak. It was just medium and fine by me. Others can review the other 2 choices. Everyone got the same dessert.

When time to get photos taken, I decided to use the lull to see about getting a cab as I was the only one at the Marriott Marquis. One of the waitstaff kindly called 3 places and was told there were no cabs available. Hmmm. So I took the Woodley Park metro (across the street and very convenient) to Gallery Place (across from SAAM fyi). Amazingly,, a cab came right by and I used my outside voice to hail him.

Sunday a.m. checkout was painless and my car delivered in about 10 minutes. Thinking I could "Go to L", as mentioned somewhere else, didn't work and I ended up in the dreaded D St tunnel. Turns out it leads directly to Pennsylvania Ave and avoids most of the downtown traffic lights.

Based upon a couple of trips only, if the tunnel is convenient, it's a good choice. Unless there's an accident, or road work.

Another super GTG!

Last edited by TDudette; Sep 11th, 2019 at 07:55 AM.
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Sep 11th, 2019, 09:05 AM
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I forgot to write that Dona arranged for a birthday cupcake for annhig's birthday! The staff lowered the lights and marched in whilst lighting the candle challenged!

Any time anyone is visiting SAAM/Portrait and wants company, please let me know!
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Sep 12th, 2019, 04:54 AM
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I’ll jump in and say that my husband ordered the cold pea soup and said it was excellent.
I never order salmon but thought I’d be adventurous. So glad I did because it was delicious along with the salad.



Superb Salmon

Tasty Salad
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