Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

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National Gallery of Art, East Building

After our tour around Georgetown, we dropped Sidney off at the hotel and caught the Metro back to the National Mall area. Our first stop was the National Gallery of Art‘s East Building, which houses the modern art.

Beth and Matisse

There’s lots of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse pieces and other paintings and sculptures. There are also Andy Warhol pieces, mixed media and shadow boxes.

One gallery, located in the tower, also featured a contemporary artist — Kerry James Marshall. He deals with concepts of African American experiences. Marshall’s paintings are very colorful and many contain similar images, such as a red cross. His exhibit was one of my favorites at this museum.

Before we left, we checked out an exhibit called Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes on the mezzanine. It featured lots of beautiful costumes and films of Russian ballets. Lots of rich colors and textures.

I like Richmond’s modern art museum better. It has more contemporary and interesting pieces and I enjoyed it more. The national museum, however, should definitely be on your to-do list. It does contain many good pieces.

Sweet Water Tavern, Falls Church, Va.

Sweet Water Tavern was where we spent our evening on a recent Friday. It turned into an early birthday meal, which was a great choice. (My birthday was the next day.)

I had a glass of pinot grigio to go with a mahi mahi, cheesy polenta and vegetables.

My meal

Chris had a salad, mashed potatoes and a 12 oz. ribeye.

Chris' meal

Dessert was a white chocolate bread pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream (Chris) and a chocolate waffle (which chocolate sauce in between the two halves) and vanilla ice cream and whipped cream (me).

Chris' dessert

My dessert

I almost finished this before remembering to snap a photo for you. Oops! It was that good.

Great atmosphere and food. Lots of people were there with their kids. The place was busy, so it appears to be a favorite among the Falls Church residents.

The waiter, Kunal, was also celebrating a birthday in August. He and the staff made me a birthday card, which I though was really sweet.

Happy birthday!

Hope you had a good one, too, Kunal!

Café La Ruche

Café La Ruche is a small French cafe on 31st street in the northwest section of D.C. During our visit to Georgetown, we stopped here for lunch.

Across the street are some quaint buildings.

Neighborhood of La Ruche

The menu features several brunch items. Chris picked out sausage, eggs and a croissant for lunch.

Chris' lunch

I got an avocado and shrimp salad with eggs, beets and onion. We also shared a mimosa.

My brunch

Sidney wasn’t left out either. The owner brought her a bowl of water.


Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

We walked a little ways on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail (C&O Canal Trail) in Georgetown one morning. This portion is known as the Cow Towpath.

Section of the C&O Canal Trail through Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Section of the C&O Canal Trail through Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

We were a little disappointed in the trail. We were expecting a greenway, but  it’s more of a dirt path. It’s a heavily used trail, though. Because of the large amount of bikers, walkers and fishermen, we had to walk single file for the majority of the walk. Chris suggested we walk around the Georgetown community instead.


Georgetown Market

We really like the Georgetown area. It’s very quaint and filled with lots of restaurants and shops. Very walkable. Lots of greenery. Lots of beautiful buildings.

We found Rock Creek Park along the waterfront. There were people boating, biking and walking along the water. Kids played in a water fountain.

The Georgetown Waterfront

The Georgetown Waterfront

Water Fountain

Back on the main streets, we found the Old Stone House, completed in 1766. It is the only remaining  pre-Revolutionary building in the capital. It is also part of Rock Creek Park.

Old Stone House

This house (1766) is the only remaining pre-Revolutionary building in D.C.

The large backyard of the Old Stone House.

The large backyard of the Old Stone House.

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National Natural History Museum, Washington, D.C.

I loved the National Museum of Natural History! We had so much fun visiting it on a recent Friday evening.

Inside the National Natural History Museum.

Inside the National Natural History Museum. After walking the Mall, we moved our car to Madison Avenue so we could spend as much time as we wanted in the museum. We arrived at 5, so had until 7:30 p.m. to browse the museum before it closed.

After walking the Mall, we moved our car to Madison Avenue so we could spend as much time as we wanted in the museum. We arrived at 5, so had until 7:30 p.m. to browse the museum before it closed.

The coolest exhibit was the Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code. Chris was surprised to learn that the amoeba had 670,000,000,000 base pairs (bp) but humans only have 3,200,000,000 bp. There were really cool interactive exhibits For example, on exhibit allowed you to click on various body parts and it would tell you the genes associated with that organ or body part. If you clicked on a woman’s breast, it showed the BRCA1 BRCA2 genes that are linked to inherited breast cancer. The pancreas showed genes linked to Type II Diabetes. Very cool.

Chris wanted to go into the Butterfly Pavilion on the second floor, but he didn’t think $6 was a good value for such a small exhibit. The museum seemed to have a nice selection of moths and butterflies, though.

Instead of the Pavilion, we went to see the Insect Zoo, hosted by Orkin Pest Control. Ha! There were lots of tarantulas, beetles, ants and other insects. I really liked the stick and leaf bugs.

Green leaf bug

Brown leaf bug

We also saw the Korea Gallery and Mummies exhibits.

The museum also has the Hope Diamond in the Gem and Minerals section. We didn’t go to see it, but I wish we had. It’s 45.5 carats and blue. It sounds gorgeous!

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National Mall, Washington, D.C.

Our first night in D.C., we headed to Constitutional Avenue to check out the National Mall.

It was hard to take photos of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial in the dark. I did like how there wasn’t a crowd on the Mall or at either monument. I think nighttime is a good time to check out those sights if you’re not too worried about getting great photos.

We were tired from our stop at Harpers Ferry, so we didn’t visit anymore monuments the first night.

The distance between each memorial was surprising to me. I thought they would be so much closer. It would definitely take a few hours to walk to each monument to see them. Chris and I wanted to make it by the WWII, the MLK, Iwo Jima and Lincoln monuments sometime before we left, but we didn’t make it, at least not on foot. We did drive by most of them.

The next day, we visited the Mall during the day. We parked, for free with a limit of 3 hours, at the Jefferson Memorial and walked the length of the Mall, all the way to the Capitol Building. There is also 3 hour, free parking along Madison and Jefferson Avenues, which run along either side of the Mall. If you’re luck to find parking, I’d park there. There is a Metro station at the Mall and at nearby Independence Avenue.

The Capitol Building

The Capitol Building

A flower garden along a road near Jefferson Memorial.

A flower garden along a road near Jefferson Memorial.

Info on the visitor’s map says the National Mall is 2 1/4 miles long from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building. It’s a nice way to spend an afternoon. I didn’t realize how long it was!

Many of the capital’s museums line the Mall. All of the museums are very large, so you can spend a few days just visiting them!

Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

After visiting the National Arboretum, we headed to Dupont Circle, which is in the NW quadrant of D.C., for lunch.

A side street in Dupont Circle.

A side street in Dupont Circle.

We parked on Massachusetts Avenue NW and walked over to Connecticut Avenue NW for Kababji Grill, a Lebanese restaurant.

Chris got chicken and rice served with khyar bi laban (cucumber yogurt). He seemed to really like his dish, especially with the yogurt on top of the chicken and rice.

Not a great picture, I know.

Not a great picture of the chicken and rice, I know.

Cucumber yogurt

I got feter kabab sandwich (portobello mushroom wrap with lettuce, tomato, garlic paste and pickles) and shorbit al Addas (lentil soup). I really loved the soup, which was thin and light. The portabello is the best I’ve ever had.

Lentil soup and a portabella wrap.

Lentil soup and a portabella wrap.

Next we stopped up the street at hello cupcake for dessert. I had the Heart of Darkness cupcake, which is chocolate with chocolate ganache on top, and Chris got the Tiramisu cupcake. The store is really cute and the staff is friendly. You can grab a cupcake to go for $3.25. Well worth the visit!

Some yummy cupcakes from hello cupcake in Dupont Circle.

Some yummy cupcakes from hello cupcake in Dupont Circle.

After scarfing down the cupcakes, we took a short walk around Dupont Circle in the drizzling rain.

Corner in Dupont Circle

Rain in Dupont Circle

Fountain in the middle of Dupont Circle

Fountain in the middle of Dupont Circle

One thing that will probably always come to mind about this neighborhood — honking. There are some really angry drivers in this area. I swear one driver laid on his horn for a minimum of 1.5 minutes!

I think this is in large part due to the craziness that is Dupont Circle, which is by far the craziest and most confusing traffic circle I’ve ever seen. It could be more accurately described as a traffic corkscrew. Walking around the National Mall later, I couldn’t help but notice how much quieter it was, despite the emergency sirens and other noise.

Other than the stressful honking, Dupont Circle is a really interesting and beautiful neighborhood. However, instead of driving, consider taking the Metro.