A few weeks ago was Keith's birthday, and I really wanted to do something fun to celebrate, even though he isn't that big on birthdays. We had been talking about taking a trip to D.C. since we moved to Virginia, because Keith hadn't been since he was a kid, and I had never been. I figured this was perfect excuse to go and check it out!
To help put together a game plan, I sent out a Facebook message asking our friends where we should go and what we should do. We received so many great recommendations! A big thank you to Allison G, Victoria, Allison J, and Ashley, for all of your help! You guys really gave us a great framework for a fun trip. We visited the Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the White House, and more. We squeezed in as much as we could in a day, but will have to save some of it for our next visit. There is so much to see and do! We barely scratched the surface! One of the best suggestions we received was to bring our bikes. If you are planning a trip to D.C., I totally recommend this! It gives you a completely different view of the city. We loved it! If you can't bring your own, there are bikes available to rent all around town with Capital Bikeshare.
We had such a great time cruising around the city sightseeing, but ran into a few pitfalls in other areas. We chose to stay at a boutique hotel downtown, so that we would be in the center of everything. We booked the room online and saved a fair amount, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it was inexpensive, and it definitely wasn't worth what we spent. The week prior to our stay, I emailed the concierge to find out about having Keith's favorite cake delivered to our room to surprise him for his birthday, but never received a response. When we checked into our surprisingly small, overpriced room, we found a woman's hair scattered about all over the bathroom floor and shower. Despite being a little grossed out, I decided to let it go. Then, as we were settling in a staff member suddenly let herself into our room without so much as a knock, and seemed a little surprised to see us there! Could it be that she was using our room, and the hair belonged to her? Eww! During our stay, one of the elevators was broken, and the other two were as slow as Christmas. Likely, because you have to use your room key to operate them, which the staff failed to tell us at check in, and most people are prone to forget. When we returned after riding our bikes around all day, we wanted to take a nice dip in the rooftop pool before cleaning up and heading out for dinner. Upon arrival, we were told the pool was closed, but that they would be opening the area for dining soon if we wanted to wait. I couldn't help but laugh a little, as we stood there in our swimsuits and cover ups. We declined to stay, cleaned up, and left for dinner instead. There were other annoyances, inconveniences, and uncleanliness, but I'll leave it at that. I emailed the hotel to inform them of our dissatisfaction, and general disgust, to which they responded by offering us a $50 credit and free room upgrade, should we find ourselves in town again. I was a little insulted, as the $50 would scarcely cover the cost to park our car in the hotel parking garage, and I would have to give them more money to stay at their unimpressive hotel. No thank you!
To put a real damper on our celebration, we went to a rather popular and highly rated restaurant for dinner, and had an equally disappointing dining experience. Before our trip, I had done a little research to find a restaurant in town that served Keith's favorite cake, Tres Leches, since the hotel concierge never responded to my request. This place not only served the tasty treat, but was also on the Travel Channel's top places to eat in D.C., so I subtly coaxed Keith into choosing this restaurant for dinner. We sat at the bar and poured over the delicious sounding menu while sipping some celebratory cocktails. Shortly after we arrived, a large party came in and sat down behind us, which we knew would likely delay our food, but we were in no hurry, and ordered an appetizer, as well as a few tacos each. The appetizer came out, which we enjoyed, quickly followed by an order of tacos that wasn't ours. It was similar to Keith's order, so the bartender told us to just keep it, and it would just be two free tacos. He ate one, and I tried a few bites of the other. That was the only food that was served to us, as we sat for over an hour. When we asked about our order, the bartender realized that our food had been delivered to the group behind us, and sent back to the kitchen, but never brought to us. With the only slightest of apologies, she asked if we would still like our tacos. We didn't. We were tired and over being hungry, so I asked for an order of the Tres Leches and the check. That was the extent of our discussion over the matter. No manager came to speak to us, the bartender seemed less than concerned, and the only thing taken off of our bill was my food. Happy birthday to Keith. I felt terrible, having not delivered on the wonderful day I had promised him. I emailed the General Manager, and never heard back. I worked in the service industry for many years, and this is not proper protocol for taking care of guests when mistakes happen. Major bummer.
In the end, it wasn't all that we had hoped it would be, but we enjoyed sightseeing and are looking forward to a second trip to redeem ourselves. We won't let this sour experience dampen our view of this great city! We'll just have to really knock it out of the park next time! For now, here are some photos of some of the places we did see and enjoy.