Photo Opp: Washington DC Cherry Blossoms in Monochrome


The blooming of the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC is a big draw each year to our nations capital. It’s the sign of spring, with pink blossoms decorating much of the city, especially the Tidal Basin where many of the trees are aligned.

The trees were a gift to the US from Japan, and they have proven to be the gift that keeps on giving.

I was fortunate to have been there at peak bloom in 2012, and took many pictures of the event. However, I’m not sharing them all today. Today I’m sharing the one picture I have that completely strips out the color and lends focus simply to the scene. It was beautiful.

Surely in a future photo opp we will examine more cherry blossom photos, that time in technicolor.


A Weekend in Alexandria, VA

For years I have heard the references to the city of Alexandria, VA and thought nothing of it.  I had no idea if it was a big city, a suburb or where it was located in the state of Virginia.  I knew it was loosely associated with Washington, DC, but that was about it.

It wasn’t until my first visit to DC in 2010 that I got a chance to visit Alexandria, and I soon realized that it was a beautiful town situated just outside of our nations capital.  Even better, a large section of the city known as Old Town is preserved from the original city settlement in the 1700’s.

During my weeklong stay in DC, Amanda and I spent the weekend in Old Town Alexandria at the gorgeous Hotel Monaco.  We booked this hotel using Jetsetter on a whim and we were not disappointed.  It was beautiful and in a perfect location.  Plus, we got a pretty good deal and nice room through the Jetsetter service.

The main reason for choosing Alexandria that weekend was a party that Amanda was invited to attend with her friends Paul and Amy.  It was a surprise party for Amy and she was very surprised!

In addition to the party, we had excellent meals at a Thai restaurant and the best nachos we’ve ever had at a restaurant called Jackson 20.  They were waffle cut fries with BBQ beef, cheese and horseradish sauce.  While it may sound weird, they were fantastic.

We also got to eat at my favorite hole in the wall restaurant, Bilbo Baggins.  Being a LOTR nerd, I had to go there when I visited in 2010.  It was so good that it warranted a return visit in 2011.  With their excellent beer choices and wood fired pizzas, I will probably go back every time I am in Alexandria from this point forward.

Most of the pictures below were taken along the harbor of the Potomac River.  I didn’t bring my camera along for much of the weekend due to laziness and 95 degree temperatures forcing me to pack as lightly as possible.  Still snapped some good photos, though, so enjoy!

Morning Run Along the National Mall in Washington, DC

I have been using an iPhone app called RunKeeper to track my running activity for the past 3+ years.  It is a handy app that uses either the GPS in my phone to track my location and distance on a map as I run.  It also allows me to manually enter my time and distance when I run on a treadmill.  I have used it for walking big cities, running my “normal” route at home and even hiking in the Rocky Mountains.

Today I used it to log my run through Washington, DC as I meandered onto the national mall, ran around the Washington Monument over to the Capitol building and back.  The run was very refreshing in spite of the 80 degrees of humid air at 8:45 AM.  My only complaint was having to wait 45-60 seconds at intersections for cars to pass.

One of the cool new features on the app is that I can take photos along the way and they are automatically placed on my run map where they were taken.  Great way to remember the route.  Now I can share some of my more exotic runs with anyone who wants to see them (and even those of you who don’t care!) [Read more…]

Washington, DC for a Week

I will be spending the next week in Washington DC, visiting my fiance and working from her apartment.  I also plan on taking in some of the scenery, warm weather and food that the city has to offer.  After spending time in DC on several occasions in 2010 and 2011, DC has become one of my favorite cities in the US world.

There is more to my affinity to the city than our nations history (although the history and monuments are appreciated).  My favorite part of the city is how accessible everything is and the great food.  Unlike New York and other metropolises, Washington DC has a rule where no buildings can be higher than 110 feet.  This means that there are no skyscrapers in town, which makes it easy to view monuments and history from great distances.

This building restriction makes the city accessible visually, while a great subway system makes it easy to get to just about anywhere in the city without much effort.  Anywhere you would want to visit (including Reagan Airport) is accessible from the metro system.

My favorite use of the metro system is to use it to get to many of the fantastic restaurants in DC.  For lack of a better term, I am a foodie, and DC is the ultimate town for foodies.  It is hard to find a bad place to eat in DC.

I plan on sharing some of my experiences this week on the blog, so stay tuned.  To whet the appetite, here are some photos from my previous travels.