a quick trip to D.C.

With graduation right around the corner, the past few weeks have been all about finishing up my remaining class work and completing my thesis (I think I’m about 90% there). This is how I’ve been spending most of my “free” time, but I’ve still managed to have fit in some fun new experiences. And I didn’t want to miss out on writing about my recent trip.

On April 21st, I hopped on the Amtrak down to Washington, D.C. to meet my sister Emma (who would fly in from Nashville) for the Science March on Earth Day. I booked the 5:30 train so I would get to D.C. early and we could make the most of the trip. I hadn’t seen her since New Year’s so we were overdue for some quality time together. I arrived at Penn Station a little after 4 o’clock in the morning. In retrospect, I didn’t have to be there that early, but I don’t like to risk it. Penn Station is unpleasant at the best of times, but in the early hours of the morning it really is awful, and I was happy to finally board the train at 5:15. It was a quiet ride. I slept for about an hour and then did a little reading.

As the train pulled into the D.C. train station, I reached for my phone to text Emma that I had arrived, and just as we came to a stop, I received a text, “I just landed”. I decided to get an Uber to the hotel since the closest metro stop would still leave me with a 20-minute walk. It was great to be back in D.C. I first visited the city when I was 25 and had visited 4 times since that first trip. I love the history and the architecture. It reminds me of London. Our hotel was located a little north of the downtown area, within walking distance to The Mall. My Uber slowed in front of the hotel to drop me off, right behind a Lyft that was dropping Emma off. What timing!

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Smithsonian Museum of Natural History lobby

Since we couldn’t check into our room yet we left our bags at the front desk and headed out to visit some museums. After a quick breakfast, we walked to the Department of the Interior Museum. Having been to all the main Smithsonian museums at the mall, I decided to find a new museum to visit on this trip. The museum is described as being all about public lands and the environment, so we were excited to check it out. We found out when we arrived that much of the museum is closed for renovations and the only space currently open to the public is a small space displaying a single art exhibit. The exhibit was nice, but with not much else to see, we headed over to the American History Museum, and then the Natural History Museum, where we spent most of the afternoon. We wandered through the exhibits. Ocean life, African mammals, rocks and minerals. Then we saw an IMAX movie about National Parks. All in all, it was a fantastic and nerdy day.

That evening for dinner, we found a great restaurant just a short walk from our hotel called Ted’s Bulletin. It had a retro theme to it and Leave it to Beaver was playing on the televisions inside. I had a grilled cheese and tomato soup, which was amazing, and we got dessert to go. Peanut butter chocolate cake (incredible), a homemade oatmeal cream pie, and tarts, one apple cinnamon and one blueberry cheesecake. We didn’t eat it all in one night, but it was all gone by the end of the trip.

The next morning it was time to march! We got up early and walked to the mall. It was so much fun seeing all the people carrying signs and wearing science shirts. The activities for the day were centered around the Washington Monument, where there was a stage set up with speakers and music throughout the afternoon. It was rainy and a little cold so we ducked into the art museum for a couple of hours but made it back to the Monument in time to start marching. It was slow going at first, but I guess that’s what happens when 40,000 people walk down the same street. The crowd chanted things like “save the EPA!” as we marched down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol Building. It was a great experience.

On Sunday morning, we both had to leave early so Emma called for a Lyft and I called for an Uber and we waited on the front porch of the hotel. Our cars arrived at the exact same time.

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