Hey, y’all, this is Sharon with Tourist in Your Town! I thought I’d share my recent trip to Washington, DC. Some great beer and food, as well as a cool exhibit I got to visit. While I tell you all about it, I’ll be drinking a Fusion Brewing Witbier called Wit’s End. Fusion Brewing is located in Lexington, KY.
We regularly watch CBS Sunday Morning. If you aren’t watching this, you should be. It’s a great way to start your Sunday. The stories are often very positive and uplifting. If they are feel good stories, they are always informative. No, CBS isn’t paying me for this. But I am telling you this for a reason. Early this year, we watched an episode that featured the Futures Exhibit at the Smithsonian. The coolest part of this exhibit is that is happening in the Arts & Industries building, a building that has been vacant for 20 years. This building was built to be the first national museum of the Smithsonian. The architecture is a multitude of styles. It’s got the feel of a cathedral with some Moorish architectural details. The exhibit itself is very, well, futuristic. It’s full of robots, immersive art and interactive art. I decided I must go see this exhibit. It closes in July and when it does close, the Arts & Industries Building closes, too. So, I made a quick trip to DC for the sole purpose of seeing this exhibit.
When I first started planning the trip, I looked at getting a hotel in DC, close to the National Mall. Ha! I guess if I won the lottery, I would be able to afford this. Even the Airbnbs and VRBOs were pricey. So, I asked some people that knew a little about the area and they assured me that the Metro is fairly safe and reliable. I decided to stay in Silver Spring, MD at a DoubleTree Hotel. The hotel was about a block and half from the metro station. And there were several breweries within quick walking distance. You know where my priorities are! First, I want to say the Double Tree was great, as always. Although, there was construction right next door. It never bothered me because I was up and out of the room before they started making noise. The metro was very easy to use. I downloaded an app (you can find info on the rail at wmata.com) bought an unlimited day pass for $13.00. You can also get a 3-day or 7-day unlimited pass. I bought it on Friday morning and for whatever reason, it continued to work through Saturday. So, I really got 2 days out of it. Not sure what happened there. But it worked out for me. Once you have the pass on your phone, you can just scan your phone for entry into the station. You also have to scan it to exit. The trains were clean and well lit. I never had a problem getting a seat. The lines are all color coded and easy to find and follow. I was there just after the Cherry Blossom festival and before the real tourist season starts, so it was not very busy other than at the museums.
I knew I wanted to try some of the local breweries and there was one just 2 blocks from the hotel. Yay! So, as soon as I got checked in, I headed over. Silver Branch Brewing Company is located in downtown Silver Spring, MD. It was founded by Christian Layke and Brett A. Robison in January 2017. Their beers range from simple IPAs to extra strong stouts. They have quite a few beers on tap and great variety. Silver Branch is a seat yourself brewery. You scan the code and order with your table number. You have to pay with a credit card or be sure to speak with someone if you are wanting to pay with cash. There was a guy at a table next to me who wanted to pay with cash and he had to use his credit card to order then go up to the counter and pay cash before he left. They do have a food, like tacos, nachos, quesadillas, rice and beans, and of course pretzels and beer cheese. I opted for the Nitro Stout which was delicious. A nice dry stout with a very light malty finish. For food, I decided on the bbq nachos. The bbq had very little flavor, so I was a bit disappointed. But they do come covered in a lovely beer cheese.
Breakfast the next morning found me at the Tastee Diner right around the corner from my hotel. I love a good diner. The coffee was good, pancakes excellent, and decent service. They have a very extensive menu with just about everything, except eggs benedict.
The metro spit me out about 2 blocks from the Smithsonian. There are also busses if you don’t want to walk. All museums are free, but you do have to go through security. I did have a bag with me.
The Futures Exhibit was absolutely worth it. The exterior of the building is very gothic. They had some this cool colorful glass surrounding the entry, casting color on the people and sidewalk below. I am a sucker for a good juxtaposition and this whole exhibit did it perfectly. The interior of the building is very church-like. It feel older than it actually is. The exhibits themselves were mostly interactive. If you walk up to one of them it would respond. There were a lot of great ideas for possible future transportation or what basic living might be like. It was all very cool and shiny! If you have the opportunity to get there before it closes on July 6, go! I got there when the doors first opened, so it wasn’t too busy. But as I was leaving, I noticed it was filling up fast. So get up and out early! They open at 10am est, so it’s not that early, dangit! There are lots of pics at touristinyourtownpodcast.com. Also, I will provide a link to the Smithsonian’s site.
Check out a quick video of the exhibit here!
What’s for lunch? You know I found an Irish pub, the Dubliner DC. After all the walking and future thinking, I need a Guinness. No, I did not get the fish and chips this time. And yes, I regret it. I got the shepherd’s pie – beef, lamb, onion, peas, carrots, Guinness gravy, covered in potatoes. It tasted fine. But maybe I’m just not a shepherd’s pie person. It needed hot sauce or something.
I made my way back to the National Mall for more museum fun. There are soooo many museums in DC. There were so many to choose from, I found myself unable to decide. I finally decided on the National Gallery of Art. Before I headed to DC, I saw many people talking about needing to have an appointed time. That only applies to certain museums, security told me it was currently only the National Museum of African American History and Culture. At the National Gallery of Art, I had no problem getting in and while fairly busy, it’s a big enough building that it was easy to move around and not be on top of others. Masks were optional at most places. Although, many of restaurants did kindly request that you wear one.
The NGA currently has an exhibition called Afro-Atlantic Histories, which runs through July 22, 2022. This exhibit is an in-depth look at the historical experiences and cultural formations of Black and African people since the 17th century. It has more than 130 works of art by by artists from Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. It is a very powerful exhibit with historic artists as well as contemporary. Another great exhibition worth a visit!
After getting lost in the NGA, I always get lost in museums. I think my brain goes fuzzy or something. Once I finally found my way out, I headed back to Silver Spring.
If you visit the DC area, you must try Ethiopian food. There are so many ethiopian restaurants, it’s hard to decide which to choose. There were several in Silver Spring. I went with Beteseb. The menu is fairly large with plenty to make everyone happy. Lots of meat and veggie as well as vegan choices. I opted for the Veggie combo – misir wot kik alicha, atakilt wot, ye gomen wot and shiro wot. Misir Wot is spicy red lentils. Kik alicha is pea stew. Atakilt Wot is cabbage. Ye gomen wot is collard greens. Shiro Wot is chick pea stew. It is all served on a bed of injera – a soft, spongy flatbread. Also, no utensils, you get a side of injera to eat with. Everything was excellent except the greens and mostly because I don’t like collard greens. I’m sure if you like them, then you would enjoy these as well. The service was fast and friendly. And even better they are almost right across the street from Astro Lab Brewing.
Astro Lab was founded by Matt Cronin and Emma Whelan. Lots of IPAs on tap here. But they did have a nice Schwarzbier called Battle of Nantes on tap when I was visiting. For the curious, The Battle of Nantes (Nance) was a battle between Royalist and Republican French forces at Nantes on 29 June 1793 during the War in the Vendée. No battle here, this Schwarzbier was a smooth easy drink. They also had a dry Irish Stout called Irish Goodbye that I had to try. It was excellent. Astro Lab has pretty full food menu, too.
Back to the Tastee Diner for breakfast, y’all. It was a Saturday and guess what the special was! Eggs Benedict! I had to give it a try. The eggs were perfect. Now, I admit that I don’t usually order the usual benedict. I usually get it with crab cakes or tomatoes. But this was the standard, traditional benedict with Canadian Bacon. I forgot how much I don’t like that. But once removed, the english muffin, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce were tasty. Hot sauce on the table. They know the way to my heart.
Back in DC, I wondered into a marathon that was just finishing up and briefly considered my life choices. But I’m not a runner, so I just kept walking. I tried to get pics of the Whitehouse, but there were large barriers in the way. I think there is a tour that will get you closer but I was not interested in that this time. I did get some pics of the Washington Monument. The city was not very busy when I was there. I walked for several blocks without seeing another person, y’all. But the National Mall was a happening place. The museums were packed. There are lines of food trucks in this area too. But really no place to sit. I went into the Natural History Museum, but there were so many people, I had to bow out. Some day, I will go back during the week and try to get there early. Keep that in mind if you go, the museums on the weekends will be busy. For lunch, I decided on Capitol City Brewing Company. I did not try either of the Capitol City Brews on offer. But instead went for Quayside Kolsh by Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton, VA. The Quayside is a German style golden ale. A nice golden color, this kolsh was a great refreshing beer for a warm, sunny day. I finally got my fish and chips. The fish was fresh with a nice crisp batter. Okay, my mouth is starting to water a bit. Anyway, I finished lunch with a Penn Quarter Porter by DC Brau Brewing Company in DC. DC Brau was found in 2011. The Penn Quarter Porter is robust porter with chocolate and coffee. I was worried with the chocolate it would be too rich. But it had a nice, slightly bitter finish.
After more walking in DC, I went back to Silver Spring and revisited Silver Branch. I thought I’d just get beer cheese and a pretzel, since I did enjoy the beer cheese. I started with the Glass Castle, a very drinkable pilsener. Another great refreshing beer for a warm day. The beer cheese was fantastic! The pretzel was a little stale. So, Silver Branch needs to work on their food offerings. But the beer is worth a visit! They also have a nice biergarten.
That’s it for my trip to Washington, DC. Thanks for listening! Be sure to visit the blog at touristinyourtownpodcast.com for pics and links! Look me up on social media and follow! I am on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube under Tourist in Your Town. Be sure to share with your family and friends!
Stay safe, stay hydrated, and pack light, y’all!
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