In early November I went to Washington DC to visit some family and friends. I had visited DC and the surrounding Maryland/Virginia area previously as a teenager, so it had been some 10+ years since I was on the East Coast. It was my first time experiencing fall in that area since my previous visits were always in the summer. Needless to say, I found myself scrambling for some weather-appropriate layers. Here’s what I ended up doing + snapshots from my time in the Capital:
One of the first things I did was walk around the National Mall.
Some of this happened:
Made a quick pit stop for an iconic meal:
Here’s what my wardrobe-in-action looked like with the blue REI fleece as a focal point:
Not shown in the photograph: I wore Uniqlo Heattech shirts and socks throughout my entire trip. Total lifesavers! If it weren’t for the Heattech, the wind cutting through the fleece would have completely done me in. As it stood, I was only cold when I stood in place and as long as I was outside. Still, I envied the other women in cozy down jackets and wool coats. Almost impulse-bought a down parka in Nordstrom Rack but I didn’t want to lug home more weight.
One full day was dedicated to visiting the Capitol area.
I saw the US Senate in session! Pretty neat, and completely free–you just need to get a pass and check all recording devices at the cloak room. There were no photographs allowed in the Visitor’s Gallery, but I did get to hear California state senator Barbara Boxer speak about late-term abortion and the woman’s choice (I think it was another reproductive bill being debated on the floor.) I don’t remember the exact argument anymore, but I was really glad to see the democratic process being applied. However you feel about an issue–your power lies in your voice and in your vote. You can’t help but feel pretty damn patriotic after visiting the Capitol. America!
After lunch, I took the Capitol tunnel to the Library of Congress. I knew it would be a photographic smorgasbord, but I really underestimated the place. I could have easily dedicated a whole day to just sitting in the Library staring at the walls and columns and artwork.
The Library of Congress is not a standard library–you can’t take books out of it; and only adults 18 and over may apply for a library card–usually those who have true academic research needs. But fear not, a lot of its collections are accessible online for free. Amazing place and I highly recommend the tour. There is a preserved Gutenberg bible on display in the public areas, not to mention the several small exhibits regarding the Library’s massive collections on the second floor. This was one of my favorite stops on my trip.
I took a night off to go see one of my favorite guitarists/soloists live in concert. I also tried DC Brau’s Corruption IPA. I’m not a big drinker (at all!) so I can’t tell you how it was compared to other beers. I liked it. I sat at a table with several other couples and a few people who attended solo. It ended up being a pleasant time and I even got to meet Andy McKee after the concert.
Oh, and the outfit above is exactly what you see here:
Again, cute but it hardly did anything against the cold. After the concert, I went outside to walk back to the bus stop to go back to the hotel. I didn’t last long. The wind and the drop in temperature from low 60s in the morning to high 40s at night cut right through my paltry layers. I ended up cabbing it back home because I didn’t want to wait for the bus another 10 minutes in the wind. Hence my “on the hunt” post for a true cold-weather jacket and why I’m waiting for another Heattech sale so I can buy all the shirts and socks. Coldproof all the things!
The rest of the trip was filled with more architecture:
I love seeing cool architecture. These locations were off-beat attractions suggested by friends who lived in the city. I wanted to go to places that had no admission fee and where you’re welcome to sit and hang out for as long as you’d like. It was an exercise in patience and mindfulness to choose to sit still in one location, to let go of that “fear of missing out” anxiety rampant in this generation. I use photography as a tool to help me slow down, stay put, and just enjoy what is in front of me and not worry about rushing somewhere else.
And more monuments:
Since I traveled the weekend before Veterans Day (Nov. 11), there were respectful tributes to fallen soldiers such as this wreath that was laid along the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
My last day was spent visiting with friends and getting to know this adorably handsome young fellow:
It was a really nice trip and I’m so glad to have witnessed part of an East Coast fall. In my corner of California, there’s no beautiful foliage, but there are 75-degree temperatures up until mid-November. The visible change in the seasons is a novelty for me. I also learned a lot about selecting the proper items for a cold-weather wardrobe–I lack a lot of pieces like a good serviceable coat and lined gloves to keep the wind and cold at bay. I can’t wait to go back or at the very least visit another location on the opposite coast. Back to scheming and plotting for next year’s adventures!