We moved here on November 18, and over the weekend I made my first trip into downtown DC. I know it seems overdue, but when you factor in Thanksgiving and the number of times we’ve had to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond, this was the first weekend we had time to go on an adventure.
My first experience with the DC Metro may have been a little warped by the snow—all accounts I’ve heard about this area are that if they get a dusting everything shuts down—so there was hardly anyone on the train. A pretty stark difference from the PATH on the weekend, which was always packed to the gills. I also realized what I’m pretty sure is the biggest factor when determining whether a city’s subway system is “nice” or not: it’s the height of the ceilings once you get underground. Here in DC, the tracks are really far underground, which means they were able to make every station essentially a giant cylinder with a 50-foot-high ceiling (maybe? I’m not good at estimating these things. But it’s high). Compare that to the subway in Manhattan, where the ceiling in the station is probably 10 feet high, and you feel much less like a rat scurrying around underground and more like a human just riding a train. So needless to say, it was a much more pleasant experience.
When we got into DC, we headed towards the National Mall. I’ve only been to DC one other time, when my family took the obligatory trip during my senior year of high school, so it’s been almost nine years. I feel like falling snow always imbues a sense of quiet and calm (as long as you’re not trying to drive in it), and it definitely did that for the city. There weren’t many people on the mall (around the mall?), and as someone who can get overwhelmed pretty quickly in super congested spaces, it was a welcome introduction to this part of my new home.
From there, we went to the Botanic Gardens. We never made it to the Botanical Gardens in New York, so I was eager to see what we could at this one, even on a snowy December day. And it was great! They have a variety of indoor exhibits with plants from different regions, like the tropics and the dessert. It was particularly cool to walk from one room to the next and feel the change in temperature and humidity. I’m a big fan of the zoo, which will feature prominently here in the spring, but it was equally as interesting to see all these plants. Throw in the fact that all the national museums are free, and it made for a great Saturday excursion. Here are a couple photos:
Sure it was chilly and I needed a steamy chai to wrap my hands around by the end, but I think my first trip downtown was a success. And I can’t wait to see what else this city has to offer!