This was the weekend of free stuff. And I almost found it completely by accident! So, every year, the historic houses and museums in the Dupont-Kalorama area host the Walk Weekend. All the museums are free and there are shuttle buses ferrying people around if you didn’t want to walk around in the heat. I chose to walk around because I’m sucker like that.
One of things I’ve been noticing in the neighbourhoods is just how green everything is, and not in a way that I’ve seen in North America before (except a decade ago in California). It’s sometimes downright tropical, with plants that I used to see in India. Not to mention how lovely and distinct the houses look. I could get used to this.
I also love any city that takes brunch this seriously. Even this great Korean place called Mandu that I tried had a brunch special with its take on steak and eggs and the most delicious scallion pancakes I’ve had.
Fuelled by all this deliciousness, I went off in search of the Dumbarton House. One of the first houses in Georgetown, it has been well preserved, with furniture and gardens giving you a glimpse into a time before our own. I also found my spirit chair.
I ended up just chilling for a while in the garden while I waited for my friends to meet me at the house. I’ve been reading “Giving Voice to Values”, which was on the reading list for our Leadership Fundamentals class in the core. It’s been a good way to calibrate, and to check in to see how it is to be back in the real world. I really do think that values and choices around them should not be game time decisions, but rather need to be the outpourings of careful thought. This was an important re-affirmation as I dealt with my own hypocrisy around some of the choices I had made. Anytime I get too comfortable on my high horse is usually the moment just before I get bucked off.
Once my friends came by and quickly toured the place, we went off walking the main street in Georgetown. But we needed a snack. And that is where I have found the new love of my life.
Baked and Wired is this amazing cupcake place with the best ratio of cake to icing I’ve ever had. They also have amazing coffee so the whole place smells like what I think Heaven will smell like! I know I’m going to find excuses to come here again.
Since J&J decided to a BBQ at their house, we decided to go to the local butcher shop to grab some foods. Stachowski’s was a revelation. Everything in there was so good, with attention clearly paid to quality over quantity.
Our spoils from Stachowski’s gave rise to this feast.
Since I had only one more day of free museums that were not the Smithsonian, I made an early start and made a beeline to the Heurich House. Not as old or as fancy at Dumbarton House, it was nonetheless this weird mix of old and modern, which made sense as it was from the turn of the century. It was the first fireproof house in DC, but its insides were pretty glitzy, including a gold piano in the music room.
Then it was off to the Anderson House. I had passed this imposing structure on my travel in and out of the city for work. Going inside did not disappoint.
The Andersons were a diplomatic couple, connected with the DC elite and connecting them to the wider world. Larz and Isabel loved to travel and collected art as a way of remembering their adventures. They also loved throwing huge dinner parties and generally being active in their community. It’s always nice to find kindred spirits from the past.
Isabel was also a straight up G. She wrote children’s books, helped with the war effort as a nurse, served as a model for famous painters, travelled, went to the Republican convention, and generally broke the mold.
My final visit was to the Phillips collection. It was fine, but with the free weekend, as well as the D.C. Jazz festival taking place at the museum, it was a little crowded. I had seen many of the artists before so it wasn’t as novel. But still seeing this Miro was like seeing an old friend.
Everytime. It gets me everytime. I see a Miro and immediately I’m transported 10 years ago (almost to the day) of standing in the Tate Modern, a huge life-changing chapter ending and feeling the onslaught of anxiety, panic and fear of the unknown, and just realizing that it wasn’t the next chapter that I was anxious about, but about who I was leaving behind. Similar feelings, albeit with less hormonal instability, are surfacing as I think of life after SOM.
All in all, a grounding way to end the weekend.
P.S. Checked out Ezme with some Red cohort folks during the week. Delicious!