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  • Day 1 & 2 • February 14 & 15, 2019

    An exterior photo of Capitol City Brewing Company in Washington DC; Capitol City is where this story begins. Capitol City Brewing Company opened in 1992, which gives it a quarter century track record and marks it as the first brewpub in the District. Now boasting a second location in Arlington, the brewery offers class beers like the Capitol Kolsch, Pale Rider Ale and Prohibition Porter alongside half a dozen seasonal and limited release beers as well—all only available on-site.

    Well, here I go again, back to Washington, DC for yet another weekend of action and excitement. Thursday night, I left home at about 7:00, and this time, because the café car on Amtrak is awful, I enjoyed dinner at Beantown Pub, along with a beer. The chicken and the steak were awesome, as well as the garlic mashed potatoes. I then hung out in Club Acela, which is the Amtrak lounge at South Station, and we left on time at 9:30. I sat in business class, which as usual, was very comfortable. I enjoyed some wine in the café car, and it was awesome to socialize with other passengers. I arrived into Washington, DC on Friday early, at 6:45 AM.

    Upon arrival, I took Lyft up to the Embassy Suites at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, which is the hotel that I always stay at when visiting Washington, DC. Since the room wasn’t ready, I went down to Dupont Circle to visit my friend Jen from college. We ate at Bethesda Bagels, relaxed at the house in Dupont Circle, and walked to Capital City Brewing Company. The weather was great, about 60 degrees! The fish and chips and the homemade beer were great.

    We then took the Metro out to Union Market, which is a market with food vendors, both that you could eat there or you could get food to go. It was great to walk around, and we found out that this area of DC is more industrial, since there were a lot of warehouses and construction. After Union Market, we checked me into the hotel, and slept for about two hours. We then enjoyed the hotel’s awesome free happy hour, which is one of the reasons that I love this hotel! We both tried all of their free wine, and the chardonnay was the best. We then checked out Union Station, and had dinner at il Canale, an Italian place in Georgetown. Originally, I wanted to go to Angolo DC Italian Bistro, but they were closed, so il Canale was our second choice. The lobster ravioli was okay; however, I’d prefer Angolo. On the bus back to the hotel, a car hit the bus! So, we had to wait on the side of the road for about 20 minutes, and another bus brought us the rest of the way. Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to more surprises, including a trip to Alexandria, meeting a new friend Rachel, and hearing some amazing Irish folk music!!

  • Day 3 • February 16, 2019

    Photo of a man wearing Aira glasses. Aira, a US-based startup, has developed a pair of smart glasses that can help blind people with everyday tasks. The glasses, which are based on Google Glass, connect blind customers with a network of certified agents that can see what the blind person would be seeing in real time.

    To kick off the day, I enjoyed the hotel’s awesome free breakfast, and had two fried eggs over hard, home fries, bacon, juice, and coffee. I then took the Metro to Alexandria, Virginia to meet Rachel, a friend that I made on the Welcome to DC Facebook group. This time, to get to the Metro from the suite, I used AIRA, and it worked out! AIRA is a new technology that consists of glasses with a special camera and a special phone, and agents can see your surroundings so they can assist with any task! There is, of course, a lot of track work happening throughout the Metro system, so it took a bit longer to get to Alexandria.

    Upon arrival, Rachel and I went to the Embassy Suites, which is right across from the Metro station, and chatted for a while and we enjoyed some tea. Rachel is from Colorado and is really enjoying DC. Unlike last time, the Metro station at King Street/Old Town Alexandria had a lot of construction, so it was a bit difficult to navigate. We then took the trolley down King Street and went to another staple, Hard Times Café! I first discovered this sports bar in 2015, and the beer, boneless wings, and hand-cut fries were awesome. After Hard Times, we walked back up to the Metro Station, and behind that, is the Amtrak station, Some Amtrak routes, including the Northeast Regional and the Virginia Railway Express commuter trains, stop at Alexandria prior to heading further south into Virginia. At that moment, an Amtrak train for New York actually was there. Because of all of the track work on the Metro, I wanted to see if I could take Amtrak back to Union Station, and sure enough the conductor let me on! It was a 15-minute ride, so much faster than the Metro system!

    I then went to Howard University to check out an open mic event that I heard about from Katie, a couchsurfer in DC. The comedy acts were great, and one of Katie’s friends met me at the Metro. I then took Lyft back to the hotel and enjoyed the awesome happy hour. The wine was great, and it was great to chat with some other guests as well.

    Last night, after sleeping until about 11:00, I took the Metro to the Dubliner Irish pub, to hear some great Irish music that was, believe it or not, similar to Tom’s great music. Tom is a great music friend that I’ve known in Boston since 2011. Brian Gaffney, the musician, actually knows Tom, and he played the same songs, and actually played one of my favorites! The Rueben, Dubliner ale, and fries were great, and I got back to the hotel at 2:00 AM. What an awesome day, and tomorrow, will, I’m sure, include even more surprises!!

  • Day 4 • February 17, 2019

    Exterior photo of Ray's Steaks restaurant in Arlington, VA. Rays the Steaks, 2300 Wilson Boulevard, makes a return from its 2013 appearance on the Washingtonian’s “Very Best” list.  Seven total Arlington restaurants made the annual 100 Very Best Restaurants list of 2014. Joining Rays the Steaks, was Liam LaCivita’s, Lyon Hall, Liberty Tavern and Ray’s to the Third. Ray’s to the Third just recently opened its doors in Rosslyn just a few short blocks away from Rays the Steaks, which is located at 2300 Wilson Boulevard.  According to the magazine, the consistency of Rays the Steaks kitchen and quality of the beef hasn’t changed from last year’s award-winning form. Their pepper-crusted filet mignon and mammoth cowboy-cut rib eye appear to be a guaranteed treat for 2015.

    Today, after enjoying the free breakfast, I slept until about 2:00! I was going to leave at about noon, but ended up sleeping in! So, at about 2:00, I took Lyft across town to the Ivy City neighborhood, where they have many breweries. I went to Atlas Brew Works, that was suggested by my friend Rachel from yesterday. I was able to enjoy a free flight of beer, and had two Atlas amber ales, which were similar to Sam Adams. After, I took the metro back to the hotel and met Jen for the awesome happy hour. At about 7:30, we made our way to Georgetown and ate at Angolo DC Italian Bistro, the restaurant that I was hoping to enjoy Friday night. The calamari and the veal in a brandy mushroom cream sauce was great, and I got back to the hotel at 10:00 PM. I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day in DC, and it will include a Dupont Circle happy hour with couchsurfers, and dinner at Rays the Steaks in Arlington, VA!

  • Day 5 • February 18, 2019

    A photo of Duke's Grocery banner which contains an image of the kitchen table.   The result of a couple guys who love good food and cold drinks, Duke's Grocery is a neighborhood pub and supper spot located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The idea is simple: create a fun spot that our friends (you!) can come in anytime and have a fulfilling meal, a tasty drink and great time in an atmosphere that is unpretentious and laid back. Tuck in, drink up and enjoy!  A nod to the ubiquitous corner cafés, bodegas and curry joints of the East London neighborhoods of Shoreditch and Hoxton, our culinary inspiration is as diverse as these brilliantly working class parts of the English capital. East London's funky juxtaposition of classic greasy spoons, hole-in-the-wall ethnic spots and ultra sleek avant-garde restaurants has created a food scene that is truly unique.

    To start off today, I enjoyed the hotel’s free breakfast, and like yesterday, relaxed until about 1:00! However, unlike yesterday, I used AIRA to get down to the Starbuck’s right below the hotel, and then back up to the suite! It felt great to be able to make it to Starbuck’s independently, since the coffee at the breakfast isn’t that good. I then took the Metro to Dupont Circle, and because of a Facebook posting, tried a new restaurant called Duke’s Grocery. I was told that their burger was great, and it was. One thing about this place is that the burger is by itself, with no fries or anything. I then went to Krispy Kream, which was great, and enjoyed a few donuts.

     At 3:00, I met with Therese and a few other couchsurfers at the Madhatter bar, and enjoyed a DC specialty beer. The couchsurfers were from Europe, as well as from Raleigh.

     At 5:30, I enjoyed the awesome hotel happy hour and had two glasses of wine, rested again, and went out to Rays the Steaks in Arlington, VA. I enjoyed the filet mignon in a brandy cream sauce with peppercorns and bleu cheese crumbles, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach! It was amazing, and I got back to the hotel at about 10:30. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow, I head back to Boston on a small railroad called Amtrak, but not before meeting another awesome friend Shaheen and enjoying lunch at another DC staple called Clyde’s!

  • Day 6 • February 19, 2019

    An image of a Metro train coming into the Woodley Park Station. Woodley Park (also known as Woodley Park–Zoo / Adams Morgan) is a station on the Red Line of the Washington Metro. Located at 24th Street and Connecticut Avenue Northwest, it serves the neighborhoods of Woodley Park and Adams Morgan in Northwest Washington.  With a vertical rise of 102 feet, the entrance escalators at Woodley Park are the longest in the District of Columbia and the third longest on the Metrorail system (behind Wheaton and Bethesda). The original escalators entered service when the station opened in 1981. On January 5, 2015, work began to replace the escalators, expected to run through mid-2018.

    Today, to kick off my last day in our Nation's Capital, I enjoyed the hotel’s free breakfast, another trip to Starbuck’s downstairs with AIRA, and packed. At 10:30, I went to meet my awesome friend Shaheen, at Clyde’s for lunch before the train ride back to Boston. Shaheen and I met on the Couchsurfing web site on November 5, 2015 at 7:00 PM at the Woodley Park Metro station, and it was great to see her again. The Clyde’s number 1 chicken sandwich was great, as well as another DC local beer. After lunch, I took the awesome Acela Express Amtrak train to Back Bay, and didn’t go to the café car. We left on time at 2:00 PM, and arrived at Back Bay Station at 8:45 PM. For dinner, I went to New Hong Kong, enjoyed Chinese food, and arrived home at 10:00 PM! What an amazing time in our Nation’s Capital as usual!!