A Homecoming

My travel guides have a bookcase once again!

I had grand plans to post consistently through November and December, starting with a series on Denver and ending up with Christmas in New York. But life (and preschool plague) caught up with me. And there's the good news - after several months of uncertainty, I've found a new job, a new place to live, and a new (to me, anyway) car. I have so much to look back on and be thankful for in 2014, from my once-in-a-lifetime World Cup trip to the family members I was able to fall back on when I returned and found myself homeless and jobless.

While waiting to do breakfast with friends at the Blue Duck Tavern this morning, I sat in the lobby of the DC Park Hyatt and marveled at the difference between the city where I was born and the city where I chose to live for the past four years.  I listened to the concierge give recommendations (the White House tour is out, the Newseum in) and watched guests come and go, often with their fluffy little dogs. The skyline is lower and the pace slower - as I told Rose and Laneen later, DC is known as a city of Northern charm and Southern efficiency. (And no, I did not mix those two up.)

Thanks so much for breakfast, L.!

Breakfast was delicious, and the Blue Duck Tavern looks, feels, and tastes like the kind of place you should blog about, farm-to-table breakfast with a twist meets a modern, open kitchen. I had a pear sorbet mimosa and shrimp and grits. The shrimp were incredibly large and photogenic - even their antennae seemed artfully coiled. The grits had the tiniest bit of bacon - heaven without being too heavy, as amazing grits often are. We talked about travel plans for this year (possibly Canada for the women's World Cup?) and got some Montreal tips from the woman sitting at the next table.

Maybe it was because it was a slow morning, or maybe it was because we were taking pictures and talking about travel and blogging, but we were given complimentary sugar cookies and French Vanilla ice cream as a first-visit treat. Afterwards, we caught the train to Metro Center. As we walked down to the Mall, Laneen admired the architecture and Rose commented on how Parisian the city looks in places.

We briefly explored both the Natural History Museum (dinosaurs closed, Hope Diamond and mummies still cool) and the National Gallery of Art (great little El Greco exhibit, priceless Rembrandts, Vermeers, and the only Da Vinci in the western hemisphere) before parting ways at Union Station. It was so nice to spend time with friends who I haven't seen in months, now that the dust on my life-renovation has settled.

While I don't have any big travel plans this year - other than to rebuild my savings for the next big thing - I'm hoping to get to explore a bit closer to home, whether that means road trips around Virginia or more visits to DC, now that I'm practically living on its doorstep. I'm hoping to finally get around to making photo books for my big 2013 and 2014 trips and I'm hoping I'll get to spend more time with friends and family, both the ones who are once again local, and the ones who live further afield. Here's to a healthy, happy journey for us all in 2015!


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