Thursday, February 19, 2015

Alexandria & D.C.



As I have stated before, I am a true lover of weekend jaunts. Since my cousin and her husband just moved back to the East Coast from Colorado, more of these are in my future. Old Town has the charm, slower pace and convenience they were looking for. They settled on a cute little row house after Micah was offered a job in the patent law hub of Old Town, Alexandria, VA.

I only work until 1 or 2 pm on Fridays, which is basically a long weekend, every weekend. This small detail also plays as a huge factor into how much I travel. It's easy when my favorite people are 4 hours North of me or 4 hours South or that I can hop on an afternoon flight vs an after work/ night flight. 


Hitting the road after work, I was in the city by 6. I popped into the Ronald Reagan Building for my Global Entry interview. The sun was setting and the sky was on fire as I drove in to our Capital. After two guards searched my car I continued into the building's parking deck. I was early for my 6:40 apt but thought I would check in just to see if they could see me. There was no one waiting so Mrs. Hoff started the process. Not too far into it she asked if I had brought all the proper documents (aka my certified driving record) I told her no, as I was not aware I needed too, I brought what was asked of me via the website. She snapped back and told me while it wasn't clear on the website- those documents were still needed. Damnit. I kindly asked her what would be the best way to send her these docs... email, fax, old school mail. She begrudgingly wrote her email on a sticky note and said she hated to give it out b/c people think they can become pen-pals with her. I assured her I would only email her the documents she was requesting. From here I take the 12 minute drive to M&M's. I luckily found a parking spot right in front of their house, just a block from the main drag, King Street.


After bundling up I walk the lit up tree lined King St. to the salon where Maria is getting her hair did. From there we wander King and head to dinner at Las Tasca, where Micah joins in. Tapas and bold red vino is what we wanted. The atmosphere was that of many Spanish tapas places: cozy, dim lighting and a little loud. The food was good for the most part- nothing to scream over and the service was just ok. But I'd give it another try. From here we walked to Hotel Monaco. Maria and Micah had been before and loved their bar area, Jackson 20. I loved, just loved this place. It smelled like hog heaven (literally). The service was impeccable and the drinks incredible. We stayed the for a couple rounds then headed to "Murph's" for live music and pub style night life. There were two guys playing sing a long tunes on a small stage in the packed downstairs bar. To request a song, simply write it on a napkin and place it on the table in front of them. From here we walk it on home. 


Being with a patent attorney I learned a couple things this weekend. How many times have you been in a bar and hear some people singing songs they didn't write? It happens all the time. How many times have you thought "I wonder how they can play someone else's song?" That happens less often I bet. There are way to many details to get into and explain but the gist is bars that have people come in to preform and play covers, the bar pays a fee based on the length of the set, how many songs are covered, how many times per week, month, year a cover band will play, etc. Another fun fact, one song can have at least 6 patents to it: music, lyrics, arrangements, separate parts of the song, separate writers, etc.. 



Jamey Turner, Glass Harp Player




Inside Torpedo Factory

Saturday we had a warm and cozy morning on the couch catching up and eating yum yum. Around 10am we finally get motivated and walk King St. with Hazel and pop in some stores. It's insane how many stores were dog friendly:  Anthropologie, H&M, and Nine West, just to name a few. I spent a couple hours doing some solo exploring. I walked to the water front and then gazed at art inside the Torpedo Factory. For those of you who don't want to click the read and read about it, here are a 10 fun facts:

1. It was actually a Torpedo Factory.

2. For 5 years the building manufactured and preformed maintenance on torpedoes.
3. Mark XIV green torpedo is on display today
4. Peace was declared in June of 1945 and the factory came to a halt and then the building was used for storage by the government.
5.1969 Alexandria bought the building from the g'metn, after several years & attempts at agreeing on plans for the use of the building. 
6. It was the Alexandria Art League President who presented the idea of a communal art space.
7. 1974: Work began to clean up 55 years of mess, debris. Artist and volunteers heading this clean up, up. A total of 40 Dumpster Truck loads were taken from the property. 
8. Sept 15, 1974: Torpedo Art Factory was opened. 
9. 165 professional artist use the space to work, exhibit art, and sell their pieces. 
10. Half a million people visit the space each year. 

Before walking in I saw a crowd and heard a beautiful sound, like a harp. I meander through the crowd and see a sweet old man explaining the process of glass harp playing, then begins again. Glasses, water, rubberbands, a table and his hands. That is it. That is all he was using to make music. This man is Jamey Turner. He has played in a some pretty amazing places. Here is a video from 2011.


Maria, Micah and I meet back up for lunch at the most darling, urban, rustic spot. It had clean lines,open spaces,big windows, and communal seating. Le Pain Quotidien was the spot. Chicken Pot pie, soup, salads and sammies were brought to our table and we were completely satisfied, and full afterwards.






National Portrait Gallery was next on our to do list. Several people have told me it is a favorite of theirs. We uber into the city, walk around about 45 min then see something going on in the courtyard and head down to check it out and wait for Maggie to meet us. We purchase a bottle of red because it was Saturday and wine and art go hand in hand with one another. We figure out that the crowd is people there to observe, participate and hear some poetry. Split the Rock and DC Youth Slam was holding their Semi- Final rounds of the poetry contest that afternoon. 

From here we uber to American Ice Company for dinner and drinks before heading to the 9:30 Club. We met up with Jenny and her fiance, Felipe. Jenny and Maria went to college together at ECU. That evening was the DC Music Download's  three year anniversary Party. DC Music Download is a very awesome and resourceful music magazine that keeps people in the know about music in the area. 


There was also a Cd Release party going on for Paperhaus. Randomly when I was told the line up, I knew one of the bands, Paperhaus. They played at the 2014 Hopscotch Music Festival that Raleigh host each year. We saw them by chance, it was pouring rain and we were trying to make our way to Lincoln Theatre  when the sky opened up even more than it already was. So we hop into The Hive for a drink and dryness and jam out for several songs then brave the weather again. 


The night was like a mixed cocktail of goodness, lots of things going on and all working well together. Loudboyz, Baby Bry Bry & The Apologist , DJ Aysecold also preformed. Basically it was a damn good time and a fundraiser for DC Punk Archive. Church Night Hosted the night- and well they are a hoot.


A portion of the event proceeds will benefit the DC Punk Archive. The archive is housed at the D.C. Public Library. Punk has always has it's roots in D.C. It's been on the scene since the early 80's and is still pretty vibrant today. It's a piece of D.C. history that people wanted preserved to the dedicated a space/ archive at the library for it. The archive consist of  posters, flyers, t-shirts, photographs, video footage, set list, and really anything that helps tell the story of punk in D.C. 


Pretty cool concept. 






From here we head to the after party at Dunya, that was a little intense and impossible to get a drink to we scoot over to DC9. Thanks to social media, Maria and I meet up with old pal Amy. The Littleton's used to rent a cottage next door from ours.  We literally have not seen her since high school! After DC9, M&M head home. Jenny, Felipe and crew stay and I go meet up with Maggie at Jack Rose. After realizing we were not going to find the loves of our lives at 1 am, we walk to Bourbon for one last night cap. From here the only reasonable thing to do was get late night food. Pizza to be specific. Maggie knew just the spot, a few blocks down. Duccini's was packed with people who had the same idea... if we were going to get late night pizza, it might as well be a jumbo slice

Uber takes us back to Maggies and we go night night. Maria picks me up next morning and we head to Del Ray for lunch. Holy Cow was the spot. Like Saturday night was a late night pizza kind of night. Sunday was a dank burger kind of day. After this it's time to pack up and head out. 


I've said it before but I'll say it again. Get out. Get out and explore. Explore near and/or far, just get to steppin. There is so much to see.