A recent quick trip back to our nation’s capital reminded me how amazing it is … in small doses. After almost 20 years of living in the region and commuting daily to different offices in the heart of downtown, I don’t miss the traffic or steamy August weather. I do, however, miss the majesty of iconic structures that ring the National Mall.
A neighbor, Kathleen, joined me on this particular trip. She’d only visited DC once, many years ago, and said she never really got to see anything. I came up with a plan to show her a few sights while avoiding the “hazy, hot, humid” summer forecast. Add in the threat of daily thunderstorms and we were essentially precluded from any outdoor activities
We lucked out! Our cross country flight landed on what pilot’s call the “River Visual” approach which takes you down the Potomac for a bird’s eye view of the city. The sun was fading as we landed about 7pm, but it wouldn’t be dark for another hour or so. I decided the best plan would be to hit up a favorite restaurant fairly close to the airport then head into the city for a nighttime drive of the monuments illuminated after dark.
The nice thing about being familiar with the area was the ease of picking up the rental car and finding a parking spot near Osteria da Nino in Arlington. If you like Italian food, there is no better place I know than this mouth-watering find. The biggest problem with it is there are too many unbelievable options on the menu. Soups, salads, appetizers, pastas, meat, fish … you’ll want to plan ahead so you arrive hungry!
We selected a peach and parmesan arugula salad and a beet salad and shared bites (aren’t friends the best?)
For dinner, though, we relied on the advice of our waitress, Giovanna. I marveled at the tagliatelle bolognese, while Kathleen fell in love with the veal scallopini, picatta style. Sadly, there was no room left for the oh-so-tempting desserts, but it gives us a reason to return.
Bellies full, we hopped back into the rental car for a cruise to the National Mall. After dark on a summer weekday, I knew the city streets would be mostly deserted and I was right! We even stopped in a couple of places to ensure Kathleen could snap a few memories with her iPhone.
It was a whirlwind tour to be sure, but allowed me to show off a little of the town I know so well in its best light — at night.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Some places are best seen and celebrated AFTER the sun sets!
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