a capital idea

We’d started out thinking Disneyworld. But when, after a quick internet search, it became clear that Walt’s wonderland was just a teensy bit out of our budgets, we settled on something a little closer, but every bit as exciting.

This weekend, Sarah and I are paying a visit to our nation’s capital.

Both Washington DC virgins, we’ve been talking about this trip for weeks now. In the middle of a sea of crapass workdays and personal drama, Washington DC has been our life raft. A girl has to have something to look forward to! And in looking forward, we’ve exchanged literally hundreds of emails making plans, train and hotel reservations, and drafting itineraries of the most alluring of the city’s attractions: The Spy Museum (!), Capitol Hill, and of course, the Lincoln Memorial.

“I am seriously so excited about this trip. It’s all that’s keeping me going.”

“It’s going to be so great. Even if it rains. It’ll be like, a wet t-shirt contest with Lincoln as the judge.”

“Well, and then there was that… the best sentence ever invented.”

Nobody loves Honest Abe more than Sarah does. Nobody. And I decided early on that if I have to get arrested so that she can have a memorable moment with him, well, then so be it.

“If want to curl up and take a nap in the Lincoln Memorial’s lap, will you distract the guards?”

“And here I thought you’d try to molest him. But either way, yes, I got your back.”

“I knew I could count on you. Oh, and I just looked; we have perfect weather all weekend!”

“Great! I mean, Abe is going to be a little disappointed, but he’ll get over it. I mean, he’s been shot for god’s sake. Missing a wet t-shirt contest won’t kill him.”

Mamas, lock up your assassinated ex-presidents!

Er, um, something like that. And if you don’t hear from us on Monday? Send legal assistance.

64 comments to a capital idea

  • Stephanie

    Oh my gosh Heather, your going to have so much fun! I am a proud Washingtonian! There is soooo much to see and do here. I have lived in the DC almost all of my life so it’s nice to see others have that excitement about coming here to visit. You and Sarah have to hit Adams Morgan and Georgetown. It’s a great place to hang out and enjoy all the bars and restaurants. Let me know if you need any info on places to check out!

    I hope you and Sarah have a safe and enjoyable trip!

  • Diane

    Have a great trip! I’m sure you guys will have a blast. On another note, I’m curious how all of the reactions to your previous blog made you feel. People posting seemed to be very passionate about their posts–I’m not a blogger, so just wondering what that part of the blog experience is like for you.

  • This Fish


    The comments from those with similar experiences break my heart. The well-wishes are always comforting. Always. But I have to disagree very strongly with the commenter who said I needed shoulders, not reviewers. A lot of care went into writing that. I chose my words pretty carefully. I didn’t think the topic deserved any less. I appreciate the compliments. And as for shoulders, that is what real life friends are for. :)

    You know, this is something that has always bothered me: the audacity of strangers to advise on such personal topics. And moreover, their assumptions that in 300 words, they’ve seen something I overlooked. Like, after all this time and odd behavior, no one’s checked out my dad for mental illness? Good lord. I can’t help but feel an overwhelming fury at those comments that offer such ignorant advice. There is nothing they have thought of that I haven’t already. I guarantee it. And no matter how much good will is behind those types of comments, they are still misguided and unwelcome.

  • You must go to Zatinya. Very trendy and very delicious…


    The National Arboretum is beautiful this time of year…

    Nobody, eh? Did she read the latest Shenk book about his admirable battle with depression? Great stuff. What she feels for Abe I feel for Teddy. Bully!

  • I hope you have a wonderful time in DC. I love it here, and this is a great time of year to visit.

    I, naturally, will be in Denver this weekend, otherwise I’d invite you for coffee at Tryst in Adams Morgan.

  • This Fish

    Are there still blossoms or did we miss them?

  • hey, try to visit the national cathedral. that’s where i went to highschool. st. albans. my name is under ’95 in the refectory. dc is pretty cool, i guess. have a goed time. goed = good in afrikaans.

  • The blossoms are gone, unfortunately, but flowers are out all over the place. I recommend the tulips by the Capitol. And if you have a free hour and some sunblock, pedal boating in the Potomac tidal basin is all kinds of fun (and a good deal at $4 a person).

    Have a great time!!

  • JD

    Ok – there are lots of wonderful things to see in DC and you likely have many if not all of them laid out. And I know the NYC has great food – but if you have never had Ethiopian Food – now is your time to try it. DC is the largest Ethiopian and Eritrean population outside of Ethiopia – so even if you’ve had great Ethiopian – DC’s is better. Probably one of the few food genres where DC has an edge. My favorite place is Zed’s – in Georgetown. Most people prefer Meskerem in Adams Morgan. Zed’s is just a little cozier – and I like their bread better.

  • And to add to the list…check out the International Spy Museum and the flea market/craft fair on Saturday at Eastern Market! I just moved down here and love it–you’ll have a great time.

  • Terry

    DC is wonerful! All the Smithsonian museums are free! See the art museums, also free. See the Vietnam Memorial, so moving. Also the Korean War memorial. Have a great time!

  • PLD

    I’m sure you have heard this from a million people, but the Spy Museum can be hard to get into, might want to try for that earlier in your day. Smithsonian is absolutely amazing as well. Bring your comfy shoes!

    Have a wonderful time ladies!

  • I SEE her love of Lincoln, and I RAISE it. I’ve read most of his presidential speeches, and the man is a GOD.

    I have ripped every current politician apart in a 5-point contrast/comparison with Our Friend Abe, and my friends no longer channel group discussion that way with me in the room.

  • watch out, this city will suck you in when you least expect it. i planned to be here for a year tops when i moved here over 8 years ago. i truly love it, though. and you are coming at the best time of the year … springtime in dc is beautiful! There are some great rooftop bars … or the restaurants with outdoor seating are great for people watching. U Street is a superior shopping scene. Check out http://www.dailycandy.com/article.jsp?ArticleId=25767&city=4 for some great ideas on places to go and things to do. Enjoy!

  • Have a great time in DC! I lived just outside (Alexandria) for 4 years…if you have time, come on over the river to Alexandria (Old Town)…it’s a lot of fun and quite quaint. And while in DC you HAVE to have seafood! Crab cakes or crab legs there are amazing…

  • Go to Kramer’s books. It’s on DuPont Circle-used bookstore mixed with a cafe and bar. The Int’l Spy Museum is interesting, as is the Air & Space Museum. If you have the time, contact your Congressman’s office and see if you can arrange a tour of either the FBI or the Mint.

  • Alison C

    Oh I love DC. I visited there a few years ago and spent 15 hours one day sightseeing! Do they still do the White house tour? We had to queue at 6.30 to get tickets, then Arlington, National Mint, FBI and all the memorials. A stop of at the White House. We went to the Holocaust museum too. Man that was harrowing but unmissable. Then the next day we went to the Smithsonian.

    Have loads of fun!!

  • Before you go, pick up a copy of Sarah Vowell’s “Assasination Vacation” and read her essays on Lincoln. It might be that your Sarah and writer might be kindred spirits – but Vowell apparently can play six degrees of Kevin Bacon substituting assasinated American president, Abe being her absolute favorite.

  • Manipuladar

    Wishing you a great trip, Fish. Particularly looking forward to the guard-distracting episode. I wonder whether you’ll actually do it, and if so, how long you’ll spend casing the situation and planning the hit. Already smiling in anticipation of quality comedy.

    On a separate subject, sorry to hear work’s no longer the thrill it sounded not so long ago. Or perhaps the crapass workdays are Sarah’s and not yours.

    In any case, best wishes.

  • I live in Australia’s capital city and it has a very similar feel to Washington DC (on a slightly smaller scale… population 380,000) with all the national monuments. I have been to DC twice and I love it. Even as an Aussie tourist I got goosebumps standing next to the Lincoln Memorial. And the Vietnam Wall. And seeing the changing of the guard at Arlington. ‘The Luncheon of the Boating Party’ at the Phillips Collection (21st & Q st). The Washington Cathedral is well worth the trip (and I’m not a religious person). It is a beautiful city. Maybe one day you’ll come to Canberra.

  • This Fish

    I think we will, for obvious reasons, be skipping the Vietnam Wall. But we’re going to try to fit in as much of the other stuff as possible!

  • Stephanie

    Another great way to see the city at night, which is s spectacular view by the way, is to have dinner on the Odessy Cruise. It takes you all along the Potomac where you can see all the monuments and stuff while you are having lunch or dinner. Check out http://www.odysseycruises.com/dc/

  • deb

    When I lived in DC my favorite restaurants were a Cuban restaurant on Capital Hill called Banana Cafe (mango margaritas with fresh mango – may I suggest sharing a pitcher?), and a tapas restaurant unlike any in New York called Jaleo (7th Street). Both are alive and well, I hear. Have fun!

  • While I understand skipping the Vietnam Memorial, my folks just took Grandpa to the WWII memorial. They report good things, even in it’s incomplete state I haven’t been there since 1982, so I can offer no further assistance.

  • Jean

    You also have to check out the Corcoran Museum of Art. It’s near all of the major sights that your goning to want to check out, so it won’t take too much time out of your sightseeing schedule.

    You guys are going to have a blast. It is such a beautiful city, especially this time of year, and there is so much to see and do.

  • Have a fantastic trip…I look forward to the recaps from you and Sarah on this weekend, which are sure to be hilariously entertaining (no pressure, heh)!

  • Katrina

    I totally understand your wanting to skip the Vietnam Wall. It is an extreamley moving experience. It is just amazing even to see how long the wall is.

    If you and Sarah decide to go to the top of the Monument, go early! The line will get long fast, especially since this weekend is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL and it has rained here for the past couple of weekends so everyone is going to want to be out!

    Have a great time! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • *waves to fish as she drives (swims?) by Philly*

  • Eliza

    Yes, definitely hit Eastern Market..GREAT jewelry and other flea/craft market things. I’ll be there Sunday :) And the Jefferson and FDR Memorials are really lovely, if perhaps a little less physically imposing than Lincoln.

  • Natalie

    The Cezanne exhibit at the National Gallery is supposed to be awesome, and it ends next weekend. I’m hoping to check it out myself this weekend. Ethiopian food is fantastic, though I’d suggest Dukem on 9th and Ust, they have a great patio and you can watch the Ust foot traffic since the weather is supposed to be great this weekend. Adams Morgan is fun, but it’s kind of madhouse on the weekends. I live there and still steer clear Fri & Sat nights. The Spy museum is so fun, and the restaurant affiliated, Zola, is excellent!

  • I just bought our tickets to the Spy Museum. And I have read Assassination Vacation AND Lincoln’s speeches. Let’s not have an Abe-off, though… there’s plenty of the man to love.

  • omg. since i live(d) in D.C., i would offer so many suggestions, but a lot of your readers have suggested enough of them.

    but my favorite part of D.C.? Free Museums.

    jaleo’s not bad, adam’s morgan, then there’s that bar on U(?) where madonna once was (named after the campari drink, i don’t remember the name), 18th St. Lounge (is that right? is it still open?),

    ok, it’s been years. why am i even suggesting anything!

  • Welcome to my city, it’s absolutely fabulous. If you go to Jaleo, make sure to order sangria, they make the best. The Cezanne exibit was okay, but the lines were long and the rooms were really crowded. My favorite museum in this city is the National Building Museum and there’s supposed to be all new exhibits this weekend; it’s a real treasure and something that most tourists don’t know about. Have fun, and don’t get too randy with Lincoln!

  • I don’t want to do anything DIRTY to Lincoln. I love Lincoln. I just want to nap with him.

  • Sounds like a fun weekend. Hope you two have a blast!

  • Yay! It makes me excited that you are so excited! I live just outside of DC and love it so much. I hope you have a blast and Abe gets a show. The spy musuem is fun:)

  • Jean

    You probably have enough street smarts to realize this, living in New York and all, but just a little tip…The homeless people that stand outside of the Metro get really mad if you take one of their “Free” maps and don’t give them money!

  • JD

    Sarah and Fish,

    You’re gonna need a ladder to get up on that Lincoln lap. That Lincoln lap is high up… and it’s really, really, really big.

  • Nina

    You will love DC! Also, this weekend is the Avon Walk for Breastcancer here, so you’ll probably run into a lot of women in pink T-shirts! BTW, a better lap to curl up on is that of Einstein’s bronze statue right in front of National Academy of Science across Constitution Ave from Lincoln Memorial!

  • “A woman needs a man like …”. I really like your blog.

    An italian blogger

  • I’m such a bad american. Haven’t visited our nation’s capital in 2 years :o (

  • R2D2

    Can I please come? Just kidding, but it sure beats what I’m doing today.

  • Devil's Advocate

    D.C. is great to visit but to live? If you’re a conservative WASP, maybe. But it was pretty uptight during the Clinton administration. One-horse town where everyone and his uncle seem compelled to work 24 hours a day without play. And the real estate is rather expensive. Not as expensive as NYC but almost. If you factor in the lower salaries, you might as well live in NYC. It’s more difficult to walk than NYC so you might need a car. Also, people are fatter there. I think it’s the career obsession coupled with the less walking. So, you’ll be a model there. That’s a good thing as long as you’re visiting.

  • Have a great time, the spy museum is awesome!

  • Just try not to look like a tourist like I did. Have a good trip….I’m digging your blog.

  • I second Kramer’s Bookstore. Nothing like a great bar to go along with your favorite read – and it’s open blissfully late on the weekends! Just a quick ride on the Metro to Dupont Square!

    Enjoy your trip!

  • Liz

    Have a wonderful time. I went for New Years last year and I fell in love with DC. I spent hours and hours sightseeing, what a wonderful city.

  • I’ve been to disney world a number of times. Well I wouldn’t say been there so much as being ‘forced’. It was the perfect family getaway; where it was assumed that you couldn’t argue, cheat, steal, or judge in the magical kingdom. Stick to Washington, at least you’ll get some culture, and a deep respect for the world you live in…well, sort of.

    Disney World is full of over-priced ice-creams, unhappy families, and America Luxury at it’s worst. The roller coasters rock though.

    Keep Bloggin’

  • KRD

    Okay—as a Washingtonian who loves her city but can be bitter about the tourists sometimes, I have four words for you–whatever you do, “walk left, stand right” (on the metro, that is!)

    Enjoy your trip, and do go sit in Einstein’s lap. It’s a favorite spot.

  • Yer so lucky. I love DC. Don’t forget the Smithsonian air and space museum.

  • I agree about Einstein’s lap – it’s a great place to take pictures! It’s right down the street from the Wall.

    Have fun!

  • Miss C

    Miss Fish,

    You must do the Early Bird Special at Bistro Francaise on M Street in Georgetown. I have been going there pre-opera since I was 7 and tis v. reasonable and v.v. delicious.

    Bon voyage!

  • I can understand skipping Disney World if you’re on a limited budget. It’s a lot of fun, but is also carefully designed to relieve people of their money at every step of the way.

  • I lived in DC for a few years. It is a pretty gross city. Everyone is trying to get a bite out of the federal dollar. Lot s of obnoxious politicians or wannabes. But, it is a interesting place to see. You’ll have fun visiting, but also fun leaving.

  • julie

    go to eastern market. go to the market lunch. get the blue bucks. you’ll thank me.

  • I third Kramers (was just there last week, Dupont CIRCLE not square) and I want to TOTALLY agree with KRD. Walk left, Stand right! Or else washingtonians will get pissed and run you over.

    Welcome to my neck of the woods. Enjoy!

  • Having gone to school in DC you begin to loathe it after about the third day.

  • I was just sitting out front of my friend’s in Georgetown and two women went by and one of them made me think of you and I thought of your trip. (The other woman was definitely not Sarah and the one who looked like you had all her hair cut off.) The weather is really beautiful and I hope you’re having an excellent time. I’ll be at the Darfur rally tomorrow, when you’re standing on stage with George, look for me. (ha ha) :)

  • Ha ha ha, this is totally unrelated to your trip to DC but I just noticed that ivillage made your title bar “A Blog That Celebrates the Single Life”.

  • Honorary Bahamian

    Hi! For the record this comment has nothing to do with your trip to DC….and funnily enough, in looking jsut above – apparently neither does the comment just before me…

    Anwyay, I just wanted to let you know that I made a comment last night to your breakdown of your trip to Paradise Island…I was sitting around last night wishing I was still back there and dreaming up ways to be there permanently and started doing random searches on various “things” that made my trip awesome…when I got to Action Jackson google came up with your site and I was dying reading about your trip…I gotta tell you, I had no idea Action was “married” lol…but seriously, that’s a wedding I would love to attend LOL

    So that’s it, just thought I’d say hello…I hope you get back to Paradise soon – I definitely plan on it! erintbo@yahoo.ca (just in case you wanted to reminisce ;o) )

  • Stephanie

    Heather, you said if we didn’t hear from you on Monday to send legal assistance. Should we be worried?

    If you are safe, did you enjoy your trip?

  • This Fish

    I am safe and sadly, not arrested on Sarah’s behalf. I’ll write more when I can get the sleep out of my eyes!

  • Legal help, or Goldner?

  • Sorry I missed you :( Next time, i promise to give you a tour!