Huntley Meadows

Yesterday was beautiful. It was about 40 degrees in the morning but nearly 70 by the middle of the afternoon. After getting veggies, dairy, and our turkey at the farmer’s market for Thanksgiving, Matt thought we could enjoy the weather by visiting Huntley Meadows, a protected wildlife area just off US 1 in the Fairfax County part of Alexandria.

It was really pretty, though you can imagine how much prettier it would have been a few weeks ago before most of the leaves came off the trees. It’s a peaceful place, save for everyone’s little kids they’d brought along. (Lizzie, for example, went into a total fit after she learned that not all parks have playgrounds.)

Matt had his camera and fancy telephoto lens with him. I was on Lizzie Wrangling Duty and snapped some photos using my phone when she was busy looking the plants and critters. These, as I’m sure is obvious, are all my photos.

Adventure in Two Parts – Part II

Sunday, we were a bit more local, in DC. After a very relaxing morning spent at home, we grabbed lunch at Tom Yum District then headed into DC.

Our first stop was the National Gallery of Art. We go there a few times a year, but given Lizzie’s brief attention span, don’t stay more than an hour. This time, we stayed for two, separating to see our favorite exhibits.

I took the awesome walkway/exhibit over to the East Building.

It’s under renovations, so only the sculptures are on exhibit. I hadn’t been over there in years, so it was neat to see.

After a bit, I headed back over to the West Building. I visited my favorite painting first, Two Women in a Window. (Of course, I didn’t take a photo of it, though you can see one here.)

I also admired some of the other works in the building.

After a quick drink at a bar nearby, we headed over to the Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum.

There was a really cool window at the top of one stairway.

Then it was time for dinner at Izakaya Daikaya (the upstairs part). Great Japanese-inspired small plates – favorites of the night were adobo poutine and miso-scented rice ball with pork.

It was great to really take advantage of an afternoon and evening to ourselves in DC, though I did keep wishing Lizzie was with us to enjoy parts of it, too.

Cherry Blossoms

The first influx of tourists each year in the DC area is for the cherry blossoms, sometime in March or April. The first trees were given to the US as a gift by the Japanese government but many others have been placed to join them; there’s now close to 3,000 along the tidal basin.

We’ve learned to avoid the festival itself – it’s a total zoo – but always try to get by to see the blossoms on a weekday near the peak time period. This year, we made it there on a random Wednesday night, one which was a bit too cool and rather breezy but was still breathtakingly beautiful. We got off the Metro at Smithsonian and walked to the Washington Monument then along the water towards the Jefferson and Lincoln.

The trees were every so slightly past their peak, but still beautiful.

Lizzie enjoyed it, even though it was quite late by the time we finally left DC to get dinner. Then, you know, her dad kept doing this to her.

I made Matt take a selfie, he even managed not to look totally annoyed.

I’m so happy we live close enough that this sort of thing is no big deal, even on a weeknight.