THE AMERICAN CAPITAL

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After a fairytale wedding that spanned over a full weekend, from the rehearsal dinner in an chic and rustic bar on 14th street to the wedding brunch at the traditionally gorgeous St. Regis, we spent another week in the capital acting like your typical tourists. This is what we got up to.

GEORGETOWN

Georgetown feels, like the name suggests, like a little town in its own. It is the area surrounding Georgetown University, so naturally there is an abundance of cute coffee shops and boutiques, in addition to all your well-known clothing brands.

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Georgetown is also the place to be if you have a love for cupcakes (which is true for all three baking-obsessed ladies in the family). Inspired by each other and the trillion cupcake-recipe books in our kitchen, cupcakes have been the staple dessert at everything from birthday parties to graduations in our home. Needless to say, we couldn’t pick just one bakery to visit. The first one we tried was Baked & Wired, which came highly recommended by everyone we spoke to. The cupcakes are massive but so delicious: they both look and taste homemade. I had the strawberry cupcake myself (with fresh strawberries baked into the batter!) and it was the most glorious thing.

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Featuring the following flavors:

  • Strawberry Cupcake
  • Vegan (oreo cookie)
  • The Tessita (hazelnut & dulce de leche)
  • Pretty bitchin’ (chocolate cake w peanut butter frosting)

We also tried the classic Georgetown Cupcake, which we were familiar with from several seasons of their TV-show. These cupcakes are slightly more manageable in size and more uniform in their design – exactly what is to be expected of a large-scale bakery. We ordered a whole bunch and had a cupcake buffet after dinner: flavors ranged from the classic vanilla birthday cake to earl grey with lavender. Georgetown Cupcake got points for aesthetic, but B&W took home the prize for taste.

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MUSEUMS

There are enough museums around the National Mall and Constitution Avenue to fill up a whole week’s worth of activities. Since we didn’t want to spend our entire week indoors we decided to dedicate one full day to museum hopping, and the rest we visited whenever we had an afternoon or morning free. What made it possible was the fact that all the Smithsonian museums are free to visit (!).

During our so-called ‘museum day’ we stopped by the National Museum of American History (highlights: Julia Child’s original kitchen and a full display of the First Ladies’ Inauguration dresses), the National Museum of Natural History (where the Hope Diamond is displayed) and the National Air & Space Museum (where we saw Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh’s airplanes). We decided against a visit to the Spy Museum since we had been spoiled by the free admission all day. Instead of the entrance fee to museum #4, we decided to spend our dollars on cocktails at Hard Rock.

To make up for our prioritization of drinks > museum, we decided to pay for admission to the Newseum the following day – and it was money well spent. The Newseum is dedicated to the freedoms of the first amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. There was a fantastic and inspiring array of exhibitions: a display of Pulitzer Prize winning photography, an entire wall of first-page headlines following 9/11, archives of newspaper headlines from the last century and a memorial to journalists who have lost their lives for the cause. Don’t miss it if you’re in DC.

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We also spent some time in the National Gallery of Art, splitting our visit to the East and the West wing over two days. The West wing holds classical art; they have striking sculpture exhibitions, showcasing the works of Auguste Rodin among others, and paintings by artists such as Van Gogh. The East wing exhibits modern art: from Matisse, Warhol and Lichtenstein to Mark Rothko and Piet Mondrian. As with modern art there is always something out of the ordinary. Thoughts on sculptures made out of soap vs. chocolate, or a vivid blue rooster twice your height? The rooster is exhibited on the beautiful roof terrace – visit for the view and not the blue sculpture.

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MEMORIALS

As with the museums we dedicated a full day to exploring all of the top sites around the capital. We opted for the ultra classic hop-on-hop-off option, as it would take us to all the desired locations and drop us off promptly at 5pm.

We managed to fit in the following in one day:

  • The Washington Monument
  • The Capitol Building
  • The White House
  • Jefferson Memorial
  • J.F.K. & F.D.R. Memorials
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam War Memorial
  • a lunch break at &pizza (which bakes rustic pizzas in 30 seconds! – ideal for our schedule)

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I think my favorite thing about the memorials was the grand size of them: the massive blocks of white marble, intricately adorned with neat patterns or quotes from the constitution, juxtaposed against the white sky.

Washington DC has so much history and culture to offer and I loved that we were able to fit much of it in during our visit. I also adored walking around the shopping district around 10th and 11th, and strolling by all the bars and restaurants in the busy quarter around 14th street.

One thing that struck me during our visit, which I was both pleased and inspired by, was the amount of likeminded people that we came across and had eye-opening conversations with. On more than one occasion I found myself having political discussions that were very similar to the ones I’ve had with my friends at university. Considering the recent political events it probably should not have been surprising to find that many families were split between liberal and conservative views, between Democrats and Republicans. It was very thought-provoking to speak with Americans and to get their perspective on the past year.

I hope to be back again, mostly for the cupcakes.

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