Tuesday, July 15, 2008

4th of July in Washington DC

Yeah, I know - I've fallen off the blog bandwagon again. I feel like we've even been doing interesting things lately, but I've been too tired/busy/distracted to actually post anything! But I will try...again.

We decided at the last minute to spend the 4th of July weekend in DC. Sounded like a great idea, but I woke up that Friday morning with a horribly sore throat (not to mention a vicious hangover from the wine party we hosted the night before!). We decided to still make the trip, however. It was raining in DC, but we still enjoyed the fireworks that evening.

The next day we walked down to the Smithsonian's "Folk Festival" at the Mall. One of the focuses of the festival was the country of Bhutan, which was ironic because Rob and I have just recently developed an interest in traveling there sometime. We watched all the cultural demonstrations with great interest!

We then wandered over to some of the memorials on the mall. I had not seen the World War II memorial yet, so we spent quite a bit of time there. It was a very hot and humid day, so we were pretty much spent by mid-afternoon! We went back to the hotel and rested until it was time for a delicious Italian dinner. :-)

The World War II memorial.

One of the other things we wanted to do on this trip was explore the various neighborhoods and get a feel for the good places to live. We figure that's probably where we will be transferred next, albeit a couple years from now. We're both very excited about the possibility of living there and want to make sure we pick the 'perfect' place to live! I know DC gets kind of a bad rap, but there are several exciting, vibrant neighborhoods. I'm already making plans!

If the cardboard cutouts were a barometer of public opinion, I'd say Barack has the November election tied down! People were lined up to have their picture taken with his likeness, whereas the John McCain cutout stood off all alone with no takers!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Belated Birthday Trip to NYC

I guess if you have to have a birthday, you might as well do something memorable! My birthday was actually on June 12, but Rob had to work all that weekend (gotta love the Navy), so we took a belated birthday trip to NYC the following weekend. It was a fabulous trip, of course! The weather was gorgeous on Friday and Saturday, but it rained HARD on Sunday. Guess two out of three isn't bad!

We stayed at Millennium Hilton , which was truly right across the street from the World Trade Center site. Even though I've been to NYC several times since 9/11, I had never been to Ground Zero. It's been almost seven years, but it was still a very emotional experience. These pictures were taken from our room. There was activity and construction going on 24 hours a day; in fact, the hotel provides ear plugs and noisemakers to help drown out the noise. With all that work, it makes you wonder why they haven't made more progress? Coincidentally, I just caught part of a story on MSNBC about how the entire "Freedom Tower" project has been plagued by problems from the start.

As with most of our trips lately, we didn't really do the typical tourist things - instead, we focused more on shopping, eating, and drinking wine! The first night we had our best meal of the weekend at a Vietnamese restaurant near the theater district. My best friend Susan and I had discovered it last year during a girls' weekend, and I dragged Rob all over the place trying to find it again! My poor feet were practically bleeding by the time we stumbled across it, but it was worth it!

Saturday we walked down to Battery Park and saw the HUGE line to go out to the Statue of Liberty. If you know me, you know I don't like lines! Instead, we decided to have a glass (or two) of wine and some spinach florentine ravioli at the Battery Gardens restaurant and simply admire the Statue from afar! We also walked and shopped our way through Soho, stopping for another fabulous dinner and more wine.

Enjoying some wine on a beautiful summer day in NYC.

The Statue of Liberty as seen through the purple flowers. Lilacs? Lavender? I don't know what it was, but it was pretty.

At a cute little restaurant in Soho.

Sunday was filled with more shopping before heading to the airport for our 10:00pm flight back to Norfolk. But as with any flight out of JFK, it was delayed...until 2:15 in the morning! Needless to say, we didn't get back home until after 4:00am! It made for a rough start to the week, but it was a great weekend that helped lessen the pain of turning another year older!