SCK Adventures: Karen & Christine Take on DC (Day 1)

Once upon a time, there was a bored girl recovering from the fall of a mystical blogging platform called Xanga. She noticed that WordPress.com had a “Suggested blogs” feature, through which she found two lovely California girls named Christine and Karen. After months and months of chatting online, it was decided that they would visit me and see DC. Plane tickets were purchased, air mattresses were inflated…

This weekend, they learned that I am, indeed, too lazy to pull off an elaborate catfish plan, hurray! We had a JAM-PACKED weekend, so let’s get straight to it!

TL;DR – I didn’t catfish my new friends, exploring Union Station and Shake Shack, silly faces at the National Postal Museum, mind-blowing beauty at the Library of Congress, a dreary pre-tourist mob view of the cherry blossoms, and a bar themed after a US president because DC.

Day 1 – Thursday

I was so excited to pick up my girls from the airport, even though it was embarrassingly cold. 40°F Thursday morning meant I brought along some hot tea for these Cali girls who don’t know what cold is. I have to say, I was really relieved that they looked like all the photos that they’ve posted, but they were probably a lot more relieved that I looked like mine. After all, if I went to the airport and saw 2 random people who weren’t the girls I was expecting, I could drive away and call the police. What were they going to do if I was catfishing them?

But I mean, no one was catfished, so let’s keep moving along!

We were all pretty hungry by the time we finally met in person. (Fun fact: I’ve known Christine and Karen online for almost 2 years now? And they have known each other for years but haven’t seen each other since college!) So, off to an option that would be open at 6 AM: Silver Diner, one of our local locavore diners. We eased their bellies to the East Coast by splitting a California omelettebanana stuffed French toast, and a very berry yogurt milkshake to try and set a healthy mood for the weekend. (Spoiler alert: We ate hella unhealthy this weekend.

Left: banana stuffed French toast | Right: California omelette
Left: banana stuffed French toast | Right: California omelette

After a nice breakfast, we were fueled up and ready to head into the District! Our first stop was Union Station. Up until a few years ago, I didn’t know that Union Station was so gorgeous? I had only passed through there as a commuter, so I never stepped into the main hall and I had never seen the outside of it. But it’s a beautiful train station filled with lots of shops and food options. (Fun fact: There is a Bojangles in the basement and it is one of the only places you can get Bojangles this far north! I recommend doing so, it’s my favorite fast food fried chicken to get!)

Union Station

Before leaving Union Station, we also stopped by the Shake Shack, which Karen and Christine hadn’t had before! The three of us split a classic Shackburger, Christine was able to try a new beer — the Shakemeister Ale, brewed specially for Shake Shack by Brooklyn Brewery, and Karen and I tried their special shake of the week — buttery brown sugar. My opinion of Shake Shack is that it’s really overrated and not worth waiting in line for in the slightest. The burger is good but not mind-blowing, and I hate paying so much for such a small milkshake. Especially because the milkshakes are essentially melted ice cream. Not that melted ice cream is necessarily a bad thing, but if I wanted melty butter pecan ice cream (which is what the buttery brown sugar shake tasted like), I’d have bought a carton of ice cream and melted it myself. This was also our first incident where we were not carded before purchasing alcohol. I want you to make a note of this, because somehow it was also not our last.

Sign at Shake Shack in Union Station
Sign at Shake Shack in Union Station

With yet more food in our bellies, we headed to the National Postal Museum. The mail seems so mundane, but an effective postal system has been a marker of a well-organized government for centuries. The US Postal Service has been crucial in this country’s history, and we were able to explore much of the role that the mail has played in the shaping of our nation.

Fun fact: Benjamin Franklin was the first US Postmaster General, a role that has existed since 1775
Fun fact: Benjamin Franklin was the first US Postmaster General, a role that has existed since 1775
Left to right: collection of mailboxes around the world, a V-Mail letter, newspapers from around the country
Left to right: collection of mailboxes around the world, a V-Mail letter, newspapers from around the country
Left: hanging stamp installation | Right: statue of Owney the dog, the official mascot of the USPS
Left: hanging stamp installation | Right: statue of Owney the dog, the unofficial mascot of the USPS

The highlight of this museum for our little trio, however, may have been the little station where you could take a photo of yourself to put on a stamp. Of course, we were all about that.

We were laughing so hard at the photos that our session timed out and we actually had to retake these.
We were laughing so hard at the photos that our session timed out and we actually had to retake these.

From the National Postal Museum, we stopped by the Library of Congress, which I have been wanting to visit for a really long time because to say I love libraries is an understatement.

The Library of Congress is maybe one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen in my entire life. Crossing it off the Great Washington Bucket List is the least of my accomplishments in coming to visit the LoC. The Thomas Jefferson Building is fantastic in every sense. I’ll do a more in-depth post about our visit here for a GWBL post, but just know that I only cried once seeing their rare books collection! (Versus when I saw the rare books collection at the New York Public Library and was barely able to physically contain myself.)

I have a pretty intense emotional reaction whenever I see a Gutenberg Bible, so it was really difficult to keep it together in front of two girls who had only known me in person for a few hours…

Even though the weather was cold and cloudy, we decided to check out the cherry blossoms before the crowds descended for the peak on Saturday. I actually haven’t seen them since I lived in New Jersey and visited DC back in elementary school. On a dreary Thursday afternoon, we encountered very few crowds indeed! Even though the weather wasn’t quite in our favor, we got some great shots of the blossoms that the girls came down to see. (And a good thing, because by the time the sun came out and the crowds moved in, Karen and Christine feared the mob of tourists as much as I have the past decade.)

Photo credit: Christine on Karen's selfie stick!
Photo credit: Christine on Karen’s selfie stick!

We also made a quick stop at the National World War II Memorial, since it was on the way but we were slowly but surely losing feeling in our fingers.

Repping our home states and the city we were exploring together
Repping our home states and the city we were exploring together

Originally, we were going to head to Old Ebbitt Grill for a happy hour to warm us up, but it was too crowded and didn’t even have great happy hour specials! (We did get to hear a woman talk passionately about her problems with President Obama, though.) We ended the day with a visit to Lincoln, a lounge that is President Lincoln-themed. I’ll be including Lincoln in a future Eat DC post. It was lucky we made it when we did, because as soon as we were seated and had placed our orders, the lounge filled up with post-9-to-5-ers for happy hour. We were happily seated and enjoyed the mac and cheese, deviled eggs, short rib poutine, BBQ pork and duck fat biscuits, chicken pot pie sliders, and a kale salad because vegetables are important!

Clockwise from left: pennies on the ground, chicken pot pie sliders, mac and cheese, deviled eggs, short rib poutine, BBQ pork and duck fat biscuits
Clockwise from left: pennies on the ground, chicken pot pie sliders, mac and cheese, deviled eggs, short rib poutine, BBQ pork and duck fat biscuits

With that, we called it a day pretty early. After all, I had been up very late and then early in the morning to pick up my rays of California sunshine, and they were both running on Pacific time still when they arrived at 3 AM PST.

Stick around for day 2 tomorrow!

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