The feeling of summer. Honestly, there’s nothing like it. Road trips, weekend getaways, and endless sunsets are what I look forward to the most during these hot summer months. My husband and I just celebrated our 1 year of marriage (wahoo!) and were even more fortunate to extend our celebrations in Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park and Virginia with Porter Airlines and Porter Escapes.
We were given total freedom to venture off into the city and discover what Washinton, D.C. had to offer. We had three days to explore so we divided our time as best as we could. A huge part of travels is to have the best food adventures (shout out to my girl Gina who gave us an excel spreadsheet rundown of her go-tos). To be fair, three days isn’t quite enough to eat our way through town, but we tried our best.
We knew we didn’t want to visit too many (or really any) tourist attractions (I cannot stand crowds especially in the heat), so we set off for Brunch served at Mintwood Place on our first morning in D.C. The ambiance was calm and relaxing and their smoked salmon flammekueche topped with golden whitefish roe was an absolute must-have. After brunch, we took a little trip over to check out La Colombe Coffee Roasters in the Shaw district. Tucked away in an alley surrounded by old buildings, La Colombe’s cafe was both welcoming and unpretentious. We spent a good cup of coffee here and then that’s when the rain moved in.
So what do you do when it’s raining on your vacation? Well, we headed over to the US Botanical Gardens of course (sorry Roy). This glass enclosed paradise houses plants and species that are meant to demonstrate the aesthetic, therapeutic and ecological importance of plants to the well-being of humankind. None the less, it was crowded in there. The rain only lasted an hour or so, and our stomach’s were ready for some lunch so we headed over to Maketto to try their Cambodian and Taiwanese cooking but we missed it by a mere few minutes! I did however grab an iced Cambodian coffee that definitely helped us escape the heat. The space is a fusion of cafe, restaurant and retail store. We hope to be back to check out the lunch one day!
After running around town all day, we decided to see if we could get into the rave reviewed, Bad Saint. We actually tried to get seated here the night before but the hostess politely let us know that we would not be able to dine there that night. So we decided to try our luck again for the following day. When we arrived around 5pm, there was already a line. The small restaurant only seats about 20 people and creates an intimate and unique dining experience. The restaurant opened and we got our names on the list…for a 9pm table. So what did we do for four hours? We hit up a Walmart and grabbed snacks for our road trip on Sunday. I have to say, this was a first. I’ve never had to wait so long to eat, but honestly it was so worth the wait. Roy has never had Filipino food so this surpassed his expectations. We ordered about 6 dishes to share (we were over ambitious, and I’d probably only order about 4-5 next time) ranging from cold to spicy to hot. I’ve heard that the menu does change from time to time, but if you ever see that they’re serving the spicy fried chicken, make sure to order it! My mouth is still salivating from thinking about it. The service was seriously on point. The ladies alone who guided us through the evening are doing great things for this place.
Seems like all we did on Saturday was eat, so we decided we might want to change things up a bit on Sunday. On Sunday, we took a small road tripand drank vino in Virginia. Only about an hour or so away, we made a stop in Middleburg, VA at 50 West Vineyards thanks to Christi of Virginia Tourism Corp and Sana from Pulse Communications. Next, we stopped over at Chrysalis Vineyards to try their Norton grape based wine (which is specific to the region). After enough wine-tasting, we took a quick tour of the town and enjoyed a fresh and organic meal at Hunters Head Tavern (my husband still thinks about the chicken pot pie he had here) – it’s a must stop if you’re visiting the area!
Finally, we made our way over to end our day with a rainy hike through Shenandoah National Park, short drive along Skyline Drive and a touristy stop at Luray Caverns. If I were to plan our time more wisely, I think we would have spent more time in the park. The rainy hike was a bit too much for me at certain points, but it was definitely worth the lookout points. We headed back to Washington, D.C. and called it a night.
On our final day in Washington, D.C., we had no immediate plans. We enjoyed a late breakfast at A Baked Joint where we indulged in fresh baked goods and pursued in some people watching. After, we made our way to Georgetown where we shopped, and stopped by the beautiful Chaia where they serve up some delicious farm to table tacos.
Our flight was to depart at 8:15pm that same evening so we decided that we might be able to squeeze in our final meal so long as we got there early. Well, due to some traffic and road blocks, what might have taken us a few minutes, took us about 1 hour to arrive at Rose’s Luxury. We had heard so many great things about this place and one of the things was almost identical to Bad Saint – get there early. We arrived about half an hour before opening on a Monday evening, and we were probably about 20 tables far in the line, but we made the cut. And we were so glad to have tried this little gem of a restaurant. Everything we ordered was absolutely amazing. Our favourite dish was hands down the pork, sausage, habanero, peanuts and lychee salad that delivered copious amounts of flavour in every single bite.
All in all, we had the most amazing time over the long weekend and we couldn’t have asked for anything else. The key to exploring a city for such a short period of time is to definitely research on what you’d like to do, map out your day and make sure you get to eat in places you know you may not be able to ever again! Thank you again for allowing us to rest our heads at the beautiful Hotel Palomar and Eva at Porter Escapes who made sure everything was ready for us to enjoy a safe and memorable weekend! We can’t wait to share our next adventure with you guys, thanks for coming along!