Washington DC

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Happy Monday, friends! I am still in NJ, finishing up my weekend with my family, and will be back in Boston in a little bit to get cracking on some new PR and Marketing projects. Yay for more work! I am excited to spend a few weekends in Boston without major plans. I love weekends away, but there is something so nice about spending aimless summer weekends at home.

Since I didn’t do much cooking or food photographing over the weekend, I thought I would wrap up my trip to Washington DC. I, like other bloggers I love, have been thinking about writing slightly less about food and more about general stuff, being out and about, and life.

After Eat, Write, Retreat was over we spent an entire day sightseeing. Eric had already done all of the museums possible, so we spent the day outside, soaking up the heat and humidity that DC has to offer in May.

Our first stop was Arlington National Cemetery. I have been before, but my husband hadn’t.

Arlington National Cemetery

He wanted to see JFK’s grave, always a moving site.

JFK Eternal Flame

My reason for going was to visit a fairly new grave, that of the late MA Senator, Ted Kennedy.  It made me cry. A lot.

Edward M. Kennedy Grave

Arlington takes your breath away. Rows after rows of graves make it solemn, and we spoke in whispers the whole time. Unfortunately, other people didn’t feel the need for the same. We saw a couple making out, parents letting their kids climb on grave stones. . . gotta love human beings.

Arlington National Cemetary

We left Arlington and walked across the Potomac to the Lincoln Memorial, spotting the Korean War Memorial and Vietnam wall on the way. I had already been to both, and Eric had gone the day before, so we didn’t spend much time there. Instead we visited the Lincoln Monument and saw that the reflecting pool was empty and under construction. Sad smile

 

Washington Monument

We stopped to cool off and get out of the sudden rain at the Blue Duck Tavern, truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever eaten. We needed to fuel up before running up the Exorcist stairs, you know, the one that the priest falls down. You have seen The Exorcist, haven’t you? Devil My friend Julie went to Georgetown, so I have been on these stairs before. They are great exorcise. . . muahahaha.

exorcist stairs

I tried to run up them like my 20 year old self was able. I made it, but there was lots of huffing and puffing.

We wandered around Georgetown for quite awhile, finding a bar with Happy Hour. . . something Massachusetts does not have, and eating a few half price appetizers and sipping on some great discounted beer samples. I didn’t even get the name, but it was a great place to relax and once again cool off.

Our day ended with about an hour and a half of more walking, including an attempt to stop by the White House. The President was leaving for Ireland though, and streets were blocked off for several blocks around his casa. We were not getting anywhere near him.

So we did the next best thing, visited the gorgeous lounge on the roof of the W Hotel.

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From this spot, we watched the sun go down over the White House, the second building from front, in this photo. We reflected over our day and how patriotic we felt being in DC over a couple of peach bellinis.

Washington DC

Our nation’s capital is a beautiful city, laid out well for walkers but also offering great public transportation. And many things are free, making it a family-friendly place if you can find inexpensive accommodations.

We are looking forward to a return visit with a side trip to Virginia Wine Country!

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Inspire, enlighten, invigorate. With hundreds of new photos and dozens of new blogs to read, I don’t even know where to begin. I have posts up my sleeve: a D.C. Metro Food Tour, lunch with wine at McCormick & Schmick’s, tons of photos of wandering D.C., cocktails overlooking the White House from the roof deck of the W Hotel. There were lots of great moments, but most importantly, and first, I want to share my takeaways from the conference, along with a photo journey of the opening night events.

woolwich dairy

Nibbling cheese from Woolwich Dairy and Jarlsberg

California endive

Learning about endive and gobbling down endive boats

fresh rolls

Dining on “street food” inspired by various US cities

Barboursville wine

Sipping on Virginia wine from Barboursville Vineyards. . . I do love Virginia Viognier! And I need to find a way to get to the Wine Blogger’s Conference! These wines might need their own post at some point; they were seriously good.

Barboursville Viognier

Barboursville wine

Swirling organic white whisky, distilled in Virginia by Catoctin Creek. . . white whisky! Have you had it? The distiller, Scott Harris, was kind enough to walk us through the Mosby’s Spirit white whisky, Roundstone Rye, and Watershed Gin. And my husband arrived just in time for a taste and a chat. A visit to Catoctin is definitely on our future travel agenda.

Catoctin Creek whiskey

PS7 dessert cocktails

Eating Drinking desserts become cocktails from the fabulous mixtress, Gina Chersevani, from Washington, D.C.’s PS7. All wine-based, dessert cocktails included Strawberry Rose Granita, Chardonnay Vanilla Granita, and Chocolate Zinfandel Granita.PS7 Mixtress

Rice Pudding cocktail (St. Elizabeth’s Allspice, Catoctin Creek Whisky, Jasmine rice, cream, and vanilla)

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And dessert inspired by cocktails, Hibiscus Margarita custard with hibiscus granita

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Sure, there was plenty of food and lots of beautiful, creative, locally-inspired drinks, but I think what I, like many other bloggers, took away from the weekend was inspiration from one another and from the phenomenal experts. And so I close with my Eat, Write, Retreat Top 5, in no particular order.

1) Getting a refresher course in pitching from Monica Bhide through an exercise pitching Lindsay Olives to various publications, changing angle depending on the publication. I spend my days pitching, and this was a nice reminder to mix it up again!

2) Everything about listening to Gluten Free Girl at the Beyond your Blog session, the not-so-gentle reminders that blogging is not about stats or followers or hits or being famous or getting a book deal and that the posts we write should be about what we absolutely love. Everything  that comes after that is just icing on the cake. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, but I just have to warn you, there will be more wine, travel, events, and general life posts coming up because I am more excited about those things than my dinner!

3) More from Monica Bhide. . . letting it flow, reading more of just about anything and everything to write better, and taking a day off of ALL media. No Twitter, emails, TV, magazines, nothing. I’ll let ya know when I get around to that.

4) Fran Brennan’s keynote, talking about working outside the box and her journey to Food News Journal. Being surrounded by women who “went for it” is something I need to be reminded of. Daily.

5) Leaving work behind in the hotel room on a Friday (even if it makes you hyperventilate a little)  to enjoy a sunny afternoon in a new-ish city with some great blogger people (Lara, Kimmy, and Mike), is more than worth it. The work was still there when I got back. Winking smile

And finally, Casey Benedict and Robyn Webb are completely lovely and on top of that, conference-planning rockstars! They gathered an astounding group of sponsors, speakers, vendors, and bloggers for an intimate, educational, fun weekend, by far the best blogger weekend event I have been to.

Minus my horrific allergies to just about everything in D.C., it was the perfect weekend!

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