Friday, 25 April 2014

Wandering in Washington

Wandering in Washington Part One…

Our daughter choose Washington, when we offered her a weekend 
anywhere you like in America’. 

The nation’s capital was a great choice...

28,000 college students live within one mile of Georgetown!
She had initially been interested to study at Georgetown University for her semester abroad with Melbourne University, but the courses didn’t match her exchange requirements. However, it is an option for a post graduate exchange. So one of the first things we did, was to take the ten minute taxi ride from our hotel at Dupoint Circle*, to the lively student area of Georgetown to check it out!

We were starving that morning and with no hotel breakfast on offer with our bargain room rate, and only a sandwich on board the train the previous night, we weren’t walking anywhere without some decent food, or so we thought!

Peacock Cafe desserts were delicious!
We’re not exactly foodies, but we do all enjoy a good restaurant and we set out with high expectations to find one of Georgetown’s finest brunch spots. With over 100 restaurants and speciality food stores within one square mile, we had difficulty choosing! We turned as we always do, to my trusty Trip Advisor, for a solution. We choose Peacock Cafe* one of those ‘must go to’ eateries in Georgetown, but we had an hour to wait before it opened.

Note to self: check opening hours before promising everyone a brilliant breakfast…

With rumbling tummy’s we set off and were easily charmed into distraction, by the delights of Georgetown’s waterfront area. The town’s rich history, goes way back to America’s early days, when Georgetown was a major port for tobacco, grains, whiskey, furs, timber and eventually coal. 

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Georgetown.
We strolled along the waterfront park at the Potomac River enjoying the perfect Spring day, a far cry from the snow we’d left behind in New England. The river was the main transportation route between Cumberland, Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay but waterfalls made the boat transport impossible. So some clever Engineers created the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C & O), that runs parallel to the river. 

The C & O Canal was real pretty and we enjoyed watching the water gushing into one of the 74 lift locks that exist between Georgetown and Cumberland which is some 190m (610 feet) higher… The canal operated until 1924 and was designated a National Historic Park in 1971.

After our lunch had given us some energy to pound the streets some more, we head up O, P or N street NW towards the University - don’t you think they could have come up with some more imaginative names? Anyone got some good suggestions? Although I must admit the grid system of numbers and letters does make it easy to find your way around. 

The houses in this area are absolutely gorgeous and we walked passed several of the Kennedy houses which they lived in between 1946 and 1964 when Jackie moved out after security issues force her to leave (Tour buses often parking outside her front door at 3017 N Street - yep that would freak me out too!)

Townhouses for sale c $4,000 000
If we had a spare four million (which we don’t) this would be a fun place to buy a town house, although everyone says the humidity is horrible in summer…hard to imagine in April with the town was bursting into spring with cheery bulbs blooming along the streets. 

New York University is pretty much under lock and key and gaining access without an NYU pass, is near on impossible. So for a lot of our daughter’s buildings we’d had to admire from outside. Georgetown by contrast was refreshingly open. We seemed to be able to move relatively easily amongst the sport fields and into the student residences area. We liked it, it had a nice feel, although the conversation inevitably turned to where else in the world she could choose.

‘How about France - INSEAD or the Sorbonne? You could use your French!’ 

We’d lived in Belgium when the kids were growing up and all the kids went to the local French schools. They switched to learn Chinese when we were in Hong Kong, but her heart remained with a love of the French language. 

Georgetown college buildings
Or Switzerland or London? 
'London??? Since when do they speak French in London, we have been gone a long time…'
'What about Canada?’

Can’t you go to Brazil, then we can all come and visit when the World Cup is on?’ My son offered unhelpfully!

These kids have a good life, it is relatively common for Australian college students to take a semester overseas and certainly many Aussie kids expect to finish their education with at least one, maybe two degrees and probably a whole load of stamps in the passport!

‘If you go to Georgetown, we’ll come back to visit, we like it here’, 
I said admiring the charming streets and houses.

Georgetown University was founded as the first Roman catholic (Jesuit) University in the nation (1789)

Back down in the main drag of Wisconsin Avenue, we spot some great looking stores. Like Sephora. This is what happens when your friends also travel a lot you get e-mails like this:

“Heard you were in the States? Any chance you can pick me up some of the following?

So we’re in Sephora, looking for the foundation in a medium, what a brilliant shop. But the men are outside with those can you ‘hurry up’ faces that men perfect, without saying anything and you know the clock is ticking…

Time to ditch the men and have some mother daughter bonding. 
Let’s go and buy some skinny jeans’ 

I suggest. Guaranteed to see the boys disappearing for the hills…

We stop off at Serendipity, not necessarily the best plan before hitting the jean store, but it was one of those 'must try before you die,' things for one of their famous Oreo frozen chocolates to share. 

Serendipity frozen chocolate to share
I hate to think how many calories are in that. I’m sure they would have told us, most everywhere you go the calories are written on the menu - not a bad idea bit sometimes it’s best not to know!

We head into a jeans store…
'Have you any skinny jeans for fat people?'

'Of course Lady, what size you after?'

'About two sizes bigger than before I had the frozen Oreo chocolate at Serendipity.'

'Come this way…'

Gotta love Americans and America

This is the life!!!
I LOVE Georgetown, can’t wait to see the rest of Washing DC tomorrow!

Linking with Alphabe Thursday
W is for Wandering in Washington

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