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MDW in DC

Over the holiday weekend, my husband, the baby and I traveled to the set of Scandal for a DC getaway and a baby shower in Bethesda.

Sadly, there were no Jake sightings and the only president around was Obama, but we did see this car in our hotel valet.

Fact meet fiction. This can’t just be a coincidence.

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Our weekend completely revolved around the baby shower and eating, but we did get out of our Westin bubble for a few minutes to show the baby some DC monuments and to spend time reflecting on the meaning of the weekend at Arlington National Cemetery.

We took a noon flight from Charleston direct to Baltimore, rode the bus to the rental car station, entered to find a horrifyingly long line, realized we were on the Budget Fastbreak list and headed out to DC. (Ps-to get on this Fastbreak list, you just need to sign up online. Five minutes online verus 40 in line? I’ll take 5). Our first stop, after getting weekend supplies at Whole Foods, was one of our favorite restaurants, Founding Farmers. All-American, locally sourced and always has a line out the door.

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If you’re in DC, eating at Founding Farmers is a must. It’s a little bit local, a little bit touristy, has a very diner meets hipster vibe, and the food is incredible. John and I were both on a seafood wavelength and wanted the same two things, so I went with the Napa fish dish and John ordered the crab cakes. We started with the pickled vegetables and skillet cornbread for an appetizer.

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With about 3,000 post-dinner calories to burn, we decided to walk down to the White House and the National Mall for a little late-evening sightseeing.

I love touring cities by foot–usually by running–and walking around DC at dusk, in the waning heat, surrounded by other tourists, office stragglers, running groups and families was familiar and pleasant. We felt a little by like locals, or city dwellers. Both of which we currently are not.

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During dinner Friday night, John discovered that Founding Farmers opens for brunch on the weekends, so he immediately made reservations for the next morning.

It as just as crowded at 9 am, if not more so, and we pushed our way through the unlucky people without reservations to a table upstairs. Their menu is full of desserts-for-breakfast, carrot cake and red velvet pancakes, bananas foster French toast, more beignets. But after our indulgent dessert the night before, we were both in a traditional breakfast mood and ordered scrambles and bacon. The baby had BYOG. (Bring your own grapes).

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After breakfast, John let me get in a quick treadmill workout (I wanted to run outside, but it was already sweltering), before I had to drive to the baby shower.

My college friend is from the DC area but moved to San Diego a couple years before we left. I was thrilled when she said her shower would be on the worst coast, only a quick plane ride away. Versus a day spent traveling to San Diego.

Driving from DC to Bethesda, I got completely off course, and ended up going through Georgetown. I’ve been there a couple times, but I had forgotten how interesting that area is. It’s a very upscale, but quaint, east coast section of the city, with a huge Saturday morning workout crowd lining up for kayaks, trail runs and boutique workouts. I could find my place in Georgetown.

The baby shower was wonderful, it was so fun seeing my friend, playing ridiculous baby games and meeting her local friends and family. It went a lot longer than I thought it would (which I was happy about, since I got a lot more quality time with her), but John and the baby, who had spent the day exploring the hotel room, were starving when I got back.

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With no reservations and not wanting to uber with all of our gear, we decided to walk to a little noodle place we had seen the night before. To our surprise, it was closed.

And so was everything else.

I was a majorly annoyed. Six o’clock on a Saturday in downtown DC, people walking the streets, tourists outside the White House, and the shops and restaurants were a ghost town.

It took us about 15 minutes to find a decent place within walking distance that Yelp said was open. We reluctantly walked into Lincoln.

This was probably the biggest surprise of our trip. Part of the Presidential Restaurant Group (and aptly named), Lincoln was incredible. Even despite the snail paced service. The manager stopped by to see how our meal was, and he told us there were $8,500 worth of pennies glued to the floor.

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Our flight didn’t leave until 3 pm on Sunday, and our original plan was to go to an organic restaurant John had found and then visit the Air and Space museum. On a whim, John decided he wanted to go back to Arlington National Cemetery, so we grabbed a panic-breakfast at a terrible southern style place in Arlington (that’s not worth mentioning) before heading in.

I have to be honest, while I’ve always had an appreciation for our servicemen and women, it took being a military wife to make me fully understand their sacrifice. And it saddens me to see people that don’t appreciate the meaning of Memorial Day, or just think it’s a day to get drunk and party. There’s nothing “happy” about this holiday. But we were thrilled to see, as we entered the cemetery, that it was packed, tons of tourists, groups, and bikers making their way onto the grounds, to pay respects and to learn, and hopefully understand, a little more about what our soldiers have given for the good of the country.

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