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Quick DC Trip for the Weekend (4/13-4/17)


Apr 18th, 2017, 05:03 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Quick DC Trip for the Weekend (4/13-4/17)

Few of us came down to DC from CT for a long weekend. It has been a yearly trip for us but the first time in a few years now. We knew this was going to be a very busy and crowded time so we planned accordingly with less popular sites timing for some stuff.

They got on Amtrak in Windsor while I got on the train in New Haven after taking ShoreLine East from Old Saybrook to New Haven. Easy transfer. Only issue on the train was someone using the cell phone in the Quiet Car which a few people pointed out to her. We got into DC on time and straight to our hotel to drop off our backs and refresh. Easy Metro ride to the Marriott Wardman Park. We got a great rate for the hotel.

Back onto Metro, we went to the Woodrow Wilson House. We enjoyed this tour and learned a lot about him that we hadn't previously known. Over to Ford's Theater we went and the first sign of how busy DC is at this time of year! The lines at the Theater and Peterson House were insane even when you have tickets ahead of time. We skipped the part in the actual theater and visited the Peterson House and the Aftermath Exhibit which is in the Education Center next door. Line moved relatively quickly but it was definitely crowded. After this, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for a few beers next door.

We then took Uber to ChurchKey. Last week was the Craft Brewer's Convention in DC so 15000 brewers were in town. All of the brewers and a bunch of bars had special events and beer releases. This obviously made them extra busy. We got to ChurchKey and the line was out the door. But we got in quickly and got a table upstairs amidst the chaos. It was ChurchKey's Mountain IPA Day where they had chosen 3 breweries to highlight (Melvin Brewing from Wyoming, Lawson's and Foam from Vermont). We did flights of beer to try a bunch of them. We really liked Melvin's and met their brewers. While we were there, we ran into the brewmaster of the brewery I frequent at home (who had told me about CBC and also said to not go to ChurchKey...hung out with him for a while) and then we went to Mad Fox Taproom for dinner. Excellent food there and decent beer. At this point, we were wiped out and back to our hotel to crash.

Friday morning, we got to the Zoo just as it opened and were planning on just the top half but we ended up covering the entire zoo. Enjoyed it and got some great pics as the bison and elephants were up front as were the Lions and gorillas. Only crowd was near the Pandas. By the time we left here, it was time to go to Nationals Park. It was a bobble head (for Daniel Murphy) giveaway so we knew to expect a large crowd and we found one as we got there at 1:30 for a 4:00 game and the gates were already filling up. Once they opened, we got in quickly and went to the Bud Brew House. They have Devil's Backbone beer on draft. First time I have had any of their beer and enjoyed it but it is now an Anheiser Busch product as they bought the brewery out. Good for the brewery but I am not a fan of AB buying craft breweries. Awesome game to see with the Nats winning 3-2 in 10 innings on a walkoff hit by Murphy. The electric crowd went nuts! Well-played and awesome pitching.

We took Uber from here to Right Proper Brewing in Shaw for dinner. Excellent food and decent beer but service was quite slow (my dinner got forgotten while others got theirs. Waitress did comp me a beer so not a big deal). After this back to the hotel and we crashed.

Saturday morning we got off to a later start and straight back to the ballpark we went. Got there at 11 as the gates were opening and went up to the Devil's Backbone Lodge on the Upper Deck in LF. Had a few beers here and then walked around. Decent game but the Phillies won it...

We hightailed it to the Portrait Gallery as we wanted to see the Babe Ruth exhibit there. We really enjoy this museum and were glad to be there again. We didn't have much time here and just went to the exhibit on Babe. Lots of great pics on him and took our time. We then hightailed it back to Bluejacket Brewery (figured we would wait a while after the game and we got there as their mad rush was ending. Really good beer but the food was not as good as we were expecting. They make a lot of lighter farmhouse style beers sothey would be perfect on a hot day.

When we were leaving Bluejacket, we opted to head to the Mall and took Uber to Lincoln Memorial. I have never seen so many people around it. Still enjoyed it and spent a lot of time here before heading over to Korean, Vietnam and World War 2 Memorials. The 3 of us just took our time hanging out and enjoying it. Walked back up to the Smithsonian Metro Station and back to our hotel. I crashed immediately.

Sunday morning, we had brunch at our hotel for Easter then headed out to Lincoln's Cottage. Our only issue with Uber all week - our driver was using Skype as she drove. I reported it to Uber.I really enjoyed the tour of the cottage. What a quiet spot but lots of history and an enjoyable tour. The tour guide was energetic and involved everybody in the discussions.

We then took Uber to 3 Stars Brewing. We have been here before but they have expanded the size of their taproom and brewing system. Really enjoyed this stop and tried all of their beers. They had extra due to a bunch of CBS releases including collaborations with other breweries, Next stop was Hellbender Brewing. Good stop and good beer. We watched the Nats walk off against the Phillies with Harper hitting a 3 run homer. Would have liked to see that!

We then went to DC Brau. Enjoyed the stop though we had found their beer in CT so no new beers. Onto Atlas Brewery - another repeat stop. We really enjoyed this stop and got a few 6 packs to bring home (their Rowdy Rye IPA). Back to the hotel to drop our bags off and then we went to the FDR Memorial. Lot quieter there that night than the previous at Lincoln.

Monday morning, we were planning on going to the Library of Congress as they have a baseball exhibit on display now but we were running ragged and it was raining so we just hung out at the hotel before taking the train home. Easy ride home.

I really enjoyed the Marriott Wardman Park. But you need a map and a compass to find anything in the lobby with how giant it is! major conference hotel. But employees were great and we got rooms just off the lobby so it wasn't that bad. Why do hotels still charge daily for wi-fi? I didn't pay for it. Would have been $50 a night for parking. Everything in the pantry (grab a go breakfast etc) was expensive even for hotel standards. Room was fine and had a microwave / fridge in it. My only complaint was the bathroom door swings in towards the shower. Given the small size of the bathroom, you have to practically stand on the toilet to shut the door to take a shower. Also, doesn't help for air circulation during the shower! I would definitely stay here again.
tchoiniere is offline  
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Apr 19th, 2017, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,169
I'm taking some medication that doesn't act well with alcohol, so I read your posts with envy. You don't realize how much you love a good IPA until you can't have one.

I have completely given up on business class conference hotels for the reasons you mention: constant grubbing for every last nickel on top of substantial rates. Charging for wifi is like charging for air. I haven't stayed in a Marriott property in maybe 10 years because their policies are so egregious. My company stopped booking meetings with them for the same reasons.
Ackislander is offline  
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Apr 20th, 2017, 08:36 AM
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Love your trip reports. Glad to hear it was another very successful visit.
sf7307 is offline  
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Apr 20th, 2017, 02:48 PM
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Thanks. We definitely covered a lot of ground this time without hitting crowds
tchoiniere is offline  
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Apr 21st, 2017, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I am always amazed at how much good stuff you fit into your trips -- with good planning you maximize your time so well. Although I am wondering if beer has the opposite effect on you and makes you even more energetic!

Thank you for another fun trip report!
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