Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

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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.

Capital Columns, National Arboretum

First up in our tour of the National Arboretum was the National Capital Columns. These sandstone columns used to stand on the East Portico of the Capital building in the 1800s. They were moved to the park in the 1980s.

Capital Columns

The columns sit in the middle of a meadow. We walked along a mowed path to get a closer look. In front of the columns and in the middle of them are reflecting pools.

Columns Reflecting Pool The park’s website says the columns are the most photographed and filmed structures in the park. I can see why! The columns are also handicap accessible and parking is nearby.

Reflecting pool


A sculpture across the field from the columns.

A sculpture across the field from the columns.


U.S. National Arboretum

On our first full day in D.C., we started out with a visit to the U.S. National Arboretum, which is in the NE quadrant of D.C. There is plenty of parking or you can ride the Metro. The grounds are open Friday-Monday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and pups are allowed.

We walked around the majority of the 446 acre park. It was pretty cool. I really liked how many of the gardens weren’t overly formal and many areas were allowed to grow naturally. The sky looked like rain most of the morning, but the drops held off until the very last leg of our trip. The overcast morning was a welcome change from our hot, muggy day at Harpers Ferry.

There are several gardens throughout the park, but we chose to only visit a few. We made it to the National Capital Columns, Fern Valley Native Plant Collection, Washington Youth Garden, the Asian Collections, the Gotelli Collection of Dwarf and Slow Growing Conifers and the Conifer Collection and the National Herb Garden. We also walked by the Dogwood Collection, the Holly Magnolia Collection and some research gardens. There are more gardens, including the State Tree Collection and the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum (dogs aren’t allowed in the bonsai garden and museum), so there is tons more to see.

Besides education, the park also participates in research. The research gardens were comparing native and non-native plants’ susceptibility to pest damage. The hypothesis is that native plants would attract more native insect predators to help control pest damage. It would be interesting to learn the results! Other research plants included crepe myrtles.

One of two research gardens comparing native to non-native plants.

One of two research gardens comparing native to non-native plants.

Though the whole park was amazing, the herb and youth gardens were my favorites! I’ll share more about each of the gardens and pics in upcoming posts.

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Upcoming D.C. posts

We spent a long weekend in Washington, D.C. recently so in the coming weeks I’ll share posts from the places we visited, including the National Arboretum, restaurants and, of course, the National Mall.

I’ll schedule the first post for later today or tomorrow morning. See you then!

(Don’t forget you can follow along any of my posts by clicking the RSS feed buttons on either the Home Page (for all posts), Beth’s Crafty Things, or Small Travels and Musings. You can also sign up to receive emails.)