A Place You Must Visit: Washington D.C.

capital in washington d.c.

Last month I wrote about a little trip we took to Washington D.C. to speak to a group of women there.  After our presentations, Danny and I were pretty tired after a couple of late nights & all the awesome chats we had with everyone after the event

[I kind of want to relive that experience.  I mean, you should have seen all the women crammed in the kitchen that night listening to Danny (& me) share some wisdom about dating.  I don’t know – it’s just one of those scenes that was kind of unbelievable…like..how did this happen?]  So by the time we got to our hotel, I’ll admit, I wanted so badly to just snuggle up for a nap.  But it wasn’t even a thought in Danny’s head.  Nope, not a bit.  So off we went to play tourist for a bit.  I was grateful Danny kept us going.  Seeing the monuments that night with him was amazing. 
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things to do in washington d.c.

inscription at lincoln memorial

I had such a powerful experience that night.  I mean – you guys – the inscriptions at the Lincoln Memorial would just blow your mind.  I know I’ve read many of his addresses before in school, but what did I know then?  They were just words.  They mean so much more to me now. 

lincoln memorial inscription I especially loved reading Lincoln’s famous words from his second inaugural address…after a hard won victory and a divided nation before him.  Here’s a sampling:
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
things to do in washington d.c.“With malice toward none and charity for all…”

Quite a statement to say, with a country that was literally at war.  I think of that compared to our country that is currently divided on many issues.  With malice toward none and charity for all…very, very powerful words, indeed.  

With the above as his overall guiding virtue, he sets out to tackle the great issues of his day…are they that different than our own?

“Let us strive to finish the work we are in – to bind up the nation’s wounds and care for [others]…”

I am seeing this everyday here in New York (& beyond) right now.  It’s so apparent to me now that the greatness of a community or a nation lies in the individual people.  If you don’t know who needs help in your area, go to your church leader, your community center, or to a senior home and find someone to serve…and go serve them in love. 
“To achieve a lasting peace among ourselves and all nations.”

I can’t help but read this and think not of a peace among ourselves, but a peace within ourselves and with all others.  I hope that is the path you are on.  I hope you are finding that peace more and more each day, that you have the confidence to seek it and know that it will be yours, no matter your circumstance or background.  When we learn to feel peace and develop love for others – even our enemies – other people can feel it!  It’s the greatest ripple effect in the world.  Develop peace and love within yourself, and you can change the world.

arlington cemetary

And now, just a few D.C. recommendations…(we weren’t there long, so I am sorry this list is so short.  There are so many other things we weren’t able to do yet.)

1.  Eat at Rasika, an Indian restaurant in the Penn Quarter (very close to the Mall).  You MUST order the Palak Chaat.  That stuff is unbelievable.  Think fried spinach with the best combination of flavors and spices you could imagine.  I think we have to stop at that place every time we’re in town.  We loved it that much.  It’s no wonder it’s the most highly rated Indian restaurant in the city.  (Also, they are hugely accommodating with preparing a meal without gluten and dairy, if needed.)

2.  Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.  It’s great for kids and adults alike.  We loved the Wright Brothers exhibit.

3.  Arlington National Cemetery.  So breathtaking to see.  Make your way to the Tomb of the Unkowns, which is guarded by soldiers 24/7.  Visit on the hour for the changing of the guard. 

4.  Drummer’s Circle at Meridian Hill Park.  This is one of the most beautiful parks in D.C.  Take a picnic, people watch, play frisbee, and enjoy the music of tons drummers (they play roughly between 3 pm and 9 pm).

5.  See the monuments and the Capital at night!  Many of the D.C. women we met told us we had to do this…and that it was so romantic to take an evening stroll.  It was.  🙂

Have you been to Washington D.C.?  I’d love to hear if you have some recommendations.  We plan to visit again in the spring. 

air and space museum washington d.c.

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  1. Sweet and Bitter November 15, 2012 at 9:31 am - Reply

    super lovely clicks

  2. Serena [verdepomodoro] November 15, 2012 at 10:40 am - Reply

    yes, I went three time to Washington DC and I love it! especially the Smithsonian that is all for free (astonishing!)
    but I always dreamed to be there for the cherry blossom fest. It has to be great!

  3. The Dragonfly November 15, 2012 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Next time you're in town, make sure to go to the Library of Congress! It is the MOST BEAUTIFUL building in our Capital and will blow your mind. Plus,since you know him personally, my brother Chris Carlson will give you a tour . . . he works there!

    • mara November 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Oh my – – THANK YOU! Will plan on this for sure. 🙂

  4. Camille November 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    So happy to see all the fun you had in the District!! AND beyond thrilled that you toured the monuments at night!!! Seriously, one of the most beautiful things ever! (And I'm extra happy that your first trip occurred not long after they finally refilled the reflecting pool). I haven't been to Rasika, but since Indian is my favourite, I guess I'll just have to go! 🙂

  5. Marlene November 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I love this post!! Thanks Mara 🙂 I grew up just outside of Washington DC and used to take the Metro downtown and just walk around the monuments and Smithsonian in high school and college. I loved it, so inspiring. And it's funny you mention the Lincoln Memorial, because that's my favorite. I always have tears every time I'm there – it's THAT powerful. With that new lincoln film out starring Daniel Day Lewis, it's even more aptly-timed. If you're ever looking for a nonfiction book to dig into, the book "A Team of Rivals" about the Lincoln presidency that is probably one of my all-time favorite nonfiction books. Ah, I miss DC!

    • mara November 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      Yes – we are especially excited to see the movie now. Thanks for the book recommendation. I'd love to read that.

  6. Brooke November 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    My husband and I have been in DC for an internship for the last 3 months, and there are SO MANY amazing things to do! Our favorite place to go is by far the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum in Chinatown. Eastern Market is also amazing, especially on Saturdays. We the Pizza is a delicious place down near the Capitol, and you should definitely eat in the cafe at the Native American Museum. It's also a blast to rent bikes and go to all the monuments, or ride through the mall. Basically you can't go wrong with anything here!!

  7. Jane November 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    My favorite line in that speech by Lincoln is "with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right."

    Citizens of the North AND South believed in God, and yet they were so divided over slavery [amongst other things.] How could that be reconciled?

    I think it applies to us all, we are obligated to live with comittment to our beliefs, but God gives to each of us a different understanding of right, or rather, each of us see "right" differently, and yet as Lincoln said, we are still capable of moving forward "with malice toward none and charity toward all."

    I frequently struggle with how something that seems so wrong to me can not seem wrong at all to someone else, even someone who shares my belief in God. It seems impossible to reconcile, but I take courage from Lincoln's challenge to be kind and caring regardless.

    • mara November 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Oh wow – I love this comment so, so much. I'm so glad you shared these insights. I had previously not thought about that line as much as I should have…but what you just shared here is so powerful. This line is now my favorite, too.

  8. Raeface November 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    There's another Rasika now, too, in West End. Slightly different from the original. Still with Palak Chaat. It's one of the few not-free things in DC but I wouldn't miss the Phillips Collection.

  9. Kel November 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    yep, monuments by moonlight is the only way to go! so glad you guys could get in a few moments in DC after the retreat.

    when you come in the spring, this neighborhood in bethesda is worth a visit, kenwood: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/cherry-blossoms-2012-peak_n_1361812.html. with all the spring blossoms it feels like you're walking in heaven. I like it more than the tidal basin!

  10. Anonymous November 16, 2012 at 6:19 am - Reply

    Teaism – favorite tea house in DC. Located in Dupont Circle. Best cookies in the city and great food, too.

    Blue Duck Tavern, The Source, Komi – my favorite high-end restaurants in town. Amazing. A splurge.

    Other fun and/or great restaurants: Founding Farmers, Pasta Mia (my favorite moderately priced Italian place), Tryst coffee house, Jaleo (tapas), BGR (burgers), Tabard Inn (best brunch in the city), Cava, Cork (favorite wine bar, good food), Proof, Meskerem (Ethiopian), Proof.

    Cool bars & Lounges: 18th St Lounge, Jack Rose, L'Enfant, Tabard Inn (really cozy lounge with a fire).

    Dupont farmers' market (Sun) and Eastern Market (Sat and Sun).

    National Gallery, Phillips Museum, Corcoran.

    Walking a loop of Dupont, Logan Circle and the U St neighborhoods.

    Biking through Rock Creek Park.

  11. Anne February 17, 2013 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    I realize this is an old post (it's been a long boring weekend so I'm filling the hours with your archives), but I can't resist adding my 2 pennies. I have spent many a sunny afternoon with a picnic (sandwiches from the Italian store are a fave), a book and a cozy blanket in front of the Netherlands Carillon which sits in between the Iwo Jima memorial and Arlington Cemetary. It boasts an amazing view of the Lincoln memorial, Washington monument and Capitol. The chimes ring every hour, and occasionally you'll hear some patriotic tunes. It's lovely and relaxing.

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