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  • Day 1 • January 15, 2015

    Photo of the front of South Station in Boston, MA. South Station — officially The Governor Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station — is the largest railroad station and intercity bus terminal in Greater Boston and New England's second-largest transportation center after Logan International Airport.[4] Located at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Summer Street in Dewey Square, Boston, Massachusetts, the historic station building was constructed in 1899 to replace the downtown terminals of several railroads. Today, it serves as a major intermodal domestic transportation hub, with service to the Greater Boston region and the Midwestern and Northeastern United States. It is used by thousands of commuter rail and intercity rail passengers daily. Connections to the rapid transit Red Line and Silver Line are made through the adjacent subway station.

    Well, here I go again, back to our Nations' Capital to see a great friend Emily from college! She had just moved down here from New Hampshire for a job, so I’m taking on the lofty task of showing her this wonderful city. So, at 7:00 PM, I left home bound for South Station to take a small railroad called Amtrak!

    Upon arrival at South Station, prior to the overnight train’s departure, I relaxed at an exclusive lounge called Club Acela. Club Acela is similar to the many clubs that airlines have at airports. Club Acela features free drinks, couches, and staff that can assist with travel arrangements. Unfortunately, the train departed a bit late, at 10:00 PM, rather than the scheduled 9:30 PM departure. But, guess what? I was able to sit in business class, which was extremely comfortable! I had a big seat, a foot rest, and a big table, closely resembling a dining room table! It was a great ride, and the café car was great too!

  • Day 2 • January 16, 2015

    A landscape photo of Union Station (Washington, D.C.). Opened in 1907, it is Amtrak's headquarters and the railroad's second-busiest station, with annual ridership of over 5 million.[6] The station also serves MARC and VRE commuter rail services, the Washington Metro, and buses.

    Upon arrival into Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, the major train station. I arrived at Emily’s apartment, in the College Park neighborhood of Maryland right near the University of Maryland, around 9:30 or 10:00 AM, we slept for a bit, and then started our adventure yesterday afternoon around 3! Prior to that, we enjoyed breakfast at Royal Farms, which is a famous staple down here, which is both a gas station and a restaurant! Their specialty is chicken fingers, so we each got a meal, and since we couldn’t pass up the crispy cream donuts, we enjoyed those, too.

    This afternoon, our first stop was a local bar in the neighborhood called the Hard Times Café. Man, what an amazing place! They have a very reasonable happy hour with beers that were between $2 and $3.50, and amazing food! We each got several of the Hard Times ale, and split chicken wings and great hand-cut fries! We will probably be coming back here Sunday night for the Patriots game. Then, after searching for bus stops, we finally made it into the city via the Metro, to the Chinatown neighborhood. Last night, we hit two great bars: Capital City Brewing Company and Clyde’s of Gallery Place! We met some great people, enjoyed many drinks including a late-night happy hour at Clyde’s, and a great buffalo chicken sandwich! At long last, at 3:00 AM, we took Uber back to the apartment. What a great first day!!

  • Day 3 • January 17, 2015

    Photo of the outside front of Shenanigan's, an Irish pub located in the Adams Morgan Neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

    After a good night’s sleep Friday night, Emily and I were ready for next adventure, which included exploring Union Station, the main train station, as well as finding several great happy hours around the city! So around 2:00 PM, we made our way to Union Station. One negative aspect about the college park neighborhood is that the bus only runs about once an hour! So we had to plan very carefully to make sure we were able to make it. Union Station closely resembles Grand Central Terminal in New York City, and there is a big food court, along with many shops and restaurants. Interestingly, the buses now leave from there, which was a recent addition. It was great to explore and learn more about it, especially in preparation for Tuesday’s trip home.

    We then went to Adams Morgan, a laid back neighborhood with many shops and restaurants. It was great to walk around, and we enjoyed happy hour at two Irish pubs: Shenanigan’s and Grand Central. These places had the best happy hour! At Shenanigan’s, we enjoyed $6 burgers, which were great, and at Grand Central, we enjoyed $4 beers! Man, is this different from Boston!

    To cap off Saturday, we took the Metro out to Virginia, to check out the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. It is a huge mall, featuring three floors! It was great to walk around, since it was so cold out. We got back to College Park around 10:00 PM, and were preparing for another day of learning and surprises!!

  • Day 4 • January 18, 2015

    Photo of the inside of Georgetown Cupcake's shop. Georgetown Cupcake is a cupcakery based in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. that has now expanded to 6 other locations nationwide. Sisters Katherine Berman (née Kallinis) and Sophie LaMontagne (née Kallinis) opened the shop in February 2008.

    After a good night’s sleep, we are all set for another day of adventuring! Our first stop was the Friendship Heights neighborhood, where Tyler and I stayed last summer. We ate at a place called Angelico la Pizzeria, and the calzone that I had and the pizza slice that Emily had was awesome! It was awesome to walk up Wisconsin Avenue and check out all of the stores and restaurants. After a good walk and walking around the Chevy Chase Pavilion, we made our way to Georgetown, another great neighborhood. Emily liked it so much that she will probably take her other friends there when they come down to visit! We stopped at Georgetown Cupcake, and the cupcakes that we had were out of this world! It was even more special because we bought them, but didn’t enjoy them until tonight, after the Patriots won! We went to yet another happy hour, at a place which was formerly Chadwick’s, but is now called Mr. Smith’s of Georgetown. We enjoyed $2 drafts, to get us riled up for the Patriots game! About this time, it was getting late, and we wanted to make sure that we got back to Hard Times Café, the amazing bar near Emily’s apartment, for the Patriots game! We enjoyed $2 drafts, $5 appetizers, and burgers that were to die for, as well as a Patriots win! Tomorrow, Martin Luther King Day, is my last day for this Learning Moment, and I’m looking forward to reporting on more surprises!!

  • Day 5 • January 19, 2015

    Silver Line is a 23-mile extension of the Metrorail system with new tracks extending from East Falls Church, through Tysons and Reston, and eventually to Washington Dulles International Airport and further west to Ashburn.

    To celebrate my last day in our nation's capital, I went to visit another friend, Teara, for the first part of the day and we went to Tyson's Corner, which is a big shopping center in Virginia. It was interesting because this was never accessible to get to by the Metro, so it was neat to both ride the new Silver Line, which opened last summer, as well as to check out the new station. Tyson's Corner actually has a mall, called the Tysons Galleria, as well as an outdoor mall, called Tyson's Corner Center. We went to the galleria, and explored. They have pretty much any store, and the mall has three levels. We stopped at Starbuck’s, and grabbed lunch at a place called Crazy Burger, and my chicken sandwich was awesome!

    Then we made our way back into town. Since Emily was visiting the Martin Luther King memorial, I had about an hour so I went to a bar in Dupont Circle called the Big Hunt. The door was a bit tricky, and I hit my finger in it! Hey, there are many worse experiences! But this bar, like the others, had a great happy hour, and some of the draft beers were $3. A little while later, Emily met me there, we enjoyed a few beers there, and made our way to Daily Grill for our farewell dinner. It was great! We both ordered the three-course dinner for $35. We both ordered crab cakes for the appetizer, steak for the entrée, and I had creamed spinach and she had macaroni and cheese, and we both had apple cinnamon crisp for dessert. It was a great end to this wonderful Nation's Capital Learning Moment 2015!!

  • Day 6 • January 20, 2015

    Well, today is the day that it’s back to the grind! This trip to DC went by so fast! But, there is one more unique experience to look forward to, and that is taking Megabus all the way back to Boston! But things went very smoothly. I was able to take the Metro with no problem to Union Station, enjoyed a burger and fries at Johnny Rockets, and got assistance up to the bus deck. The bus was a double decker, similar to those in London. I was seated on the first floor, and had a big tray table. The bus was full and we stopped in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Secaucus, New Jersey, a Burger King in New York, and we got back to Boston a half-hour early, at 8:45 PM. While less comfortable than the train, it was convenient and the drivers were helpful. What an amazing Learning Moment, and I look forward to doing it again, probably this Spring!!

  • 1 comment

    Interesting reading. Food especially sounds good. We have a Crazy Burger in Narragansett and if the one you went to is as good as ours it was fantastic. Love you and reading your escapades. Auntie Denise

    Reply