East Coast Vacation Road Trip: Days 1 – 3

Our vacation to the east coast was amazing. We did not have a set schedule just that we had to be in Tampa Thursday to deliver our friends car and catch our plane. The trip was one “in the flow” moment after another.

Tuesday evening our car arrived and whisked us off to the airport. While waiting for our flight we walked through an exhibition of Pearl Jam poster art by Chuck Sperry.

Pearl Jam

We grabbed some food and toasted to our trip. Fireball cinnamon whiskey is excellent cold!

CheersOur layover in Chicago around 4:30 AM [local time] gave us enough time to nab a virtual cache in the airport earning us a souvenir for the state of Illinois. Lots of pretty glass art overhead too.

Glass Art

I was a bit delirious from trying to sleep on a plane (note to self: never flying overnight again) and thought my seat number was our gate number. Gah!

We arrived in Baltimore Wednesday morning and a friend of a friend picked us up at the airport. We were definitely a bit tired after traveling all night. Our new friend Wendy drove us to a Starbucks on the way to our friend Brad and Susan’s house. Coffee and some breakfast revived us even though it was  in the high eighties and humid. We were both dressed for evening Seattle weather and a bit warm.

After getting to their house we borrowed a car to go get B some shorts as he had none and didn’t have time before our trip to get some. We got the lay of the land a bit for our temporary stay in the Silver Springs area of Maryland. On the way back to the house we grabbed a Geocache, scoring us a Maryland souvenir. It was part of a Seven Dwarfs series on a really cool nature trail at a park near their house.

We were both pretty tired and warm so napped and showered. Dinner that night was at Dogfish Head brewery and taproom with our friends Brad and Susan as well as Wendy and her husband.

Thursday morning we headed out to the metro to ride in to DC and see the sights. There are quite a few virtual caches in the national mall area. We started at the Canadian embassy where we saw this amazing sculpture called The Spirit of the Haida Gwaii. This earned us a DC souvenir.

The Spirit of the Haida Gwaii

We wandered in to the National Gallery, Air & Space Museum with another virtual out front [briefly – it was WAY to crowded with busloads of kids groups]. The Botanic Gardens [our last virtual of the day].

Botanic Gardens

We were getting hungry and stopped in the Native Amerian Museum for some lunch. Below totems in front of the museum.

Totems

If you are ever in the DC area, this is a well kept secret. Lunch at the Native American Museum is THE BOMB! I didn’t want to eat a lot as we were to have dinner later with a friend of mine and her fiance that live in the area. I had an interesting salad with asparagus, radish [normally don’t like this] and endive with some Indian cheese bread. B had chili.

I thought the design of the building was amazing and perfectly represented the American Indian.

American Indian Museum

It reminded me of caves in the Arizona area.

Mummy Cave Ruin, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Navaho Indian Reservation near Chinle, Az Cave area was occupied during Pueblo Period, 750-1300
Mummy Cave Ruin, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Navaho Indian Reservation near Chinle, Az Cave area was occupied during Pueblo Period, 750-1300

We walked along the mall a bit more and had a beer near the Smithsonian castle [gasp it was a Budweiser – we were thirsty!]. The mall area is all torn up as they are doing some major construction to replace sod and such. We ended up at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History [the main place both B and I wanted to stop at] and wandered around for a few hours.

Natural History Elephant

Above is the main rotunda in the museum and below, the Hope Diamond. I remember seeing the Hope Diamond when I was in DC about 30 years ago. I was fascinated by it and it’s sordid history. It used to be housed in a different space and is now in the center of the room. The diaz it sits on rotates and stops at each corner of the case for about twenty seconds.

Hope Diamond

There was a wonderful display of photography from Frans Lanting who works for National Geographic. One of my favorite photos was of an elephant walking through the lobby of a hotel in Zambia. The story goes the hotel wanted to make their lobby bigger but there was a path for elephants to get to some mango trees. The contractor said they would just go around after the expansion. Nope, the elephants just go through the lobby the way they always have [notice the guy on the right in the photo below taking a picture].

Elephant Hotel

My friend and her fiance met up with us and we took the metro to Founding Farmers. One of the most amazing meals! I had butternut squash mascarpone ravioli. B had chicken bolognese bucatini. All four of us ended up ordering different items and sharing bites. The first time I have encountered chicken and waffles. B and I ordered the chocolate mousse for two. It was huge and yummy and easily dessert for four which we of course shared. It was a wonderful visit with someone I have known about 30 years and her fiance Lauren was awesome. We will be heading back to DC next Memorial day for their wedding [below Lauren & Hope on the Metro].

Hope and Lauren

Friday we were scheduled to take Brad’s car and start heading south. We got a late start and ended up in Richmond, VA. B had researched brew pubs and we arrived at Legend Brewing. They had an outdoor patio area with live music.

Legend

I honestly cannot remember what I ordered [even looking at the menu online] but B got the Hull Street Station [coffee and spice rubbed smoked beef brisket] with a side of fried Brussels sprouts. So good! Seriously the Brussels sprouts were awesome!

A note of interest which we did not know before we went to Richmond. There is a museum to Edgar Allan Poe. Had we had more time we would have stopped there. Shortly after we found a hotel and logged a Geocache to obtain our Virginia souvenir.

Tomorrow I will share days 4 – 7 [Williamsburg, VA to Savannah, GA] starting with a gem of a breakfast place in Richmond we heard about from locals we met at dinner.

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