When we originally planned our route it had us starting in Maine and driving our way down to Florida, staying as close to the Atlantic Coast as possible. Then came Hurricane Matthew. Fortunately, its impact was not as hugely devastating as forecasted, but it did cause some major flooding and a few of our campground reservations to be cancelled, so we felt it wise to change our path- which is how we ended up in Washington D.C. for a few days. We were pleased to discover that much of our nation’s capital is very dog-friendly, so we’ve asked Finley to share his highlights from our stay.
A huge park with what looks like a giant pond perfect for swimming (if it were allowed), the National Mall is home to three of our most recognizable national monuments- the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the World War II Memorial. It was very cool that as a quadruped, I was able to see some of the most important memorials in our country. I wasn’t permitted to be on the steps up to or in the Lincoln Memorial, but I still had a nice view from the west end of the mall and a good opportunity for a touristy woofer photo. The bipeds took turns staying with me so that they could each run up and see the memorial up close.
After forcing me to sit still and pose for what must have been a hundred photos (at least it felt like it), I led us at a rather zippy pace along one side of the Reflecting Pool to the eastern end where the World War II Memorial and Washington Monument are located. Like with the Lincoln Memorial, I wasn’t allowed into either of them, but we still had a great opportunity to see both and get some more photos.
Little did we know that we happened to be visiting on a day that broke the high temperature record- at a whopping 86 degrees in the middle of October. The bipeds were unprepared and didn’t bring any water, but luckily we found a vendor cart selling water and I got to do my best at drinking out of a water bottle. Between the heat and humidity and more than six-mile walk, I was one tired puppy. Woof!
Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria
I am not ashamed to admit that I am a country dog. I was born in the small agricultural town of Palisade, Colorado and although I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, I’ve spent a majority of my days roaming mostly free throughout the winery and vineyard. Without a doubt, our very long walk on the first day from our very dog-friendly hotel, the Hotel Palomar in Dupont Circle, to the National Mall, around the monuments, past the White House, and back was through some of the busiest, noisiest, and congested areas I’ve ever been. After sleeping like a log, fully sprawled out, loudly snoring with bed hogging in full effect, I was cool with a more relaxing day. The bipeds also complained that their feet were sore, so we opted for a more relaxed sightseeing day and headed out to Mount Vernon, George Washington‘s Home across the river in Virginia. Little did we know that we would find ourselves in one of the dog friendliest public places we’ve ever been!
I was allowed to explore every area of the property except for the inside of the mansion. From the moment I walked into the entrance center, I was treated like a king! All of the docents came over to pet me and rub my belly and tell me how beautiful I am (which I never tire of hearing). After leaving the building, we walked around the property and checked out the Upper and Lower Gardens, Washington’s tomb, the Wharf, and looked through the windows of the Greenhouse. And although I couldn’t go into the mansion, I was able to enjoy the shade and pose for some photos for Mom. It was a bit warmer than I prefer, but a nice change from the city craziness.
After exploring the grounds, we hopped back in the truck and headed up to Old Town Alexandria. Our first stop was for lunch at Virtue Food & Grain where the bipeds enjoyed lunch and I begged fiercely on their shaded, waterfront patio. Just like with our stop at Mount Vernon, I was treated amazingly! Our service was great- they brought me a bowl of fresh water before they even brought any for the people. For lunch, the bipeds had the Mac and Cheese, Mezze Platter, Crab Cake Sandwich, and Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos. There was a special doggie menu that had a Frozen Yogurt Doggie Bone that I would have really liked, but I had to settle for a little bite of the pita from the Mezze Platter and a few french fries. Overall, I give Virtue two paws up for great canine customer service (our server even offered to buy me a snack!) and some tasty nibbles!
After lunch, we walked a few blocks up historic King Street and around a few blocks in Old Town checking out the architecture. Well, the bipeds checked out the architecture, I just did some serious sniffing. I heard them both say multiple times that they were surprised by how cool Old Town was and they felt like it was the best representation of the area they had seen. It didn’t mean much to me, but they were so excited to keep checking out the architecture, brick sidewalks, and cobblestone streets that I got a nice walk out of the deal.
On our way back into town, we stopped at Arlington National Cemetery and took a walk around a small portion. Unfortunately, as of October 26th, dogs will no longer be allowed into the cemetery, so I consider myself fortunate to have joined the bipeds in exploring this very beautiful and important memorial. Out of respect for our incredible servicemen and servicewomen buried here, we skipped taking any pictures with me; but the bipeds still wanted to share what a moving and special experience it was.
People Food- Baked & Wired
Since I’m not in the habit of eating people food (although I’d like to be), I’m passing along reviews of two restaurants that the bipeds are super excited about and wanted to share as great options for visitors. The first involves cupcakes, which are almost as important to them as donuts. Almost. I’ll let them take over from here.
Entering Baked & Wired, a coffee shop/bakery, in Georgetown was like walking into cupcake heaven. As soon as you come through the door, you are welcomed by a counter holding at least 20 different flavors of cupcakes, not to mention biscuits, cookies, brownies, cakes, and more. After a few minutes trying to take in all of the options, Jay opted for a Pistachio cupcake- vanilla cake with pieces of ground pistachio and a cream cheese buttercream frosting with more pieces of pistachio on top; while Jen chose the Flapjack– a maple cake with caramel buttercream frosting and optional pieces of candied bacon. Of course we opted for the bacon. We also had one of the Spicy Sausage Cilantro buttermilk biscuits, which rivaled the incredible cupcakes for tastiest treat. And for good measure, we threw in two cookies. Everything was so good, that we stopped in again on our way our of town for another biscuit (Ham Jalapeño) and a lemon blueberry scone. Any place that has us battle morning D.C. traffic and try to find parking for the F-350 in a city is definitely worthy of 5 rivets! Plus, Finley would like to point out that they had a very cute dog water bowl outside.
Baked & Wired: 5 / 5 Rivets
People Food- Panas Empanadas
Handheld tasty goodness. Chosen based on its reviews and the fact that it was a block from our hotel, Panas Empanadas was the best meal that we ate while in D.C. Using their very convenient online ordering, we each opted for the 4 Empanada Combo, which allowed us to choose four different empanadas and two drips (sauces). Between the two of us, we ordered seven different flavors with the winners being the Chicken Mushroom- a mix of chicken, mushrooms, and a Sauvignon blanc sauce and the Chipotle Steak- a combo of steak, peppers, and chipotle sauce. We tried all four drips and liked all of them, but found ourselves coming back to the two spicy options (have we mentioned that we really miss the spicy foods we have out west…). A convenient and tasty option that can be enjoyed in a cozy hotel room with a drooling dog, we give them 5 rivets also.
Panas Empanadas: 5 / 5 Rivets