DC round 2 – with palatial upgrade

IMG_4367

After my last trip to DC was cut short due to hurricane Sandy – the meeting was rescheduled and I did a quick overnight trip recently

It was one of those frustrating travel experiences – overbooked flight – many screaming babies – forced to check my tiny bag – barely enough room for pajamas and a toothbrush but I was in zone 4 so I was SOL by the time I got on. Of course this adds about 30 minutes to your trip since you have to hit the baggage carousel. I travel so much that I never check bags – I generally have work travel down to a fine art like George Clooney in “Up in the Air” On top of that I got a crappy cab driver who wouldn’t take credit cards so had to switch to one that would – all in all nothing was going my way…

By the time I got to the hotel I was in a foul mood. However, I guess I hit a sweet spot in my Hilton Honors points and the desk told me they were going to upgrade me to a suite and give me free wifi. I said thanks so much and expected to get a couch and a coffee table in addition to the usual bed – no big deal

I took the elevator up and had to use my key card to access the executive level – maybe a little nicer than I thought? Perhaps a couch and a chair?

I found my suite – The Harry Truman Suite – cute – political references in DC 🙂 Then the door swung open and my jaw hit the floor – sprawling out ahead of me was a hallway alone bigger than my usual hotel room!

Harry Truman Suite

Harry Truman Suite

Letting the door swing shut behind me I explored – not only did I have a separate master suite, but a had a living room, conference room that seated 12, a second bathroom, and a grand piano!!!! This place was bigger than the house I am renting right now.

My conference room

My conference room

Naturally I phoned home immediatley to tell them how the other half lived and bemoan the fact we didn’t get that upgrade last time LOL

Piano

Piano

I high tailed it down to the exec lounge for as many complimentary hors d’oeuvres as possible before they realized their mistake. I then took a shower lounged in every room in my fluffy robe and played chopsticks on the piano – which by the way was played by Harry Truman when he entertained people in that suite!

I guess I need an entourage next time LOL

Advertisements

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Reflecting Pool

My work travel is normally a fairly solitary thing. I fly in, meet with clients and fly back out but recently the stars seemed to align and I was able to tack some family fun onto a work trip to DC.

My husband and youngest son flew up with me the weekend before the meeting and we flew our oldest in from Chicago to meet us – what could possibly go wrong?

Vietnam Memorial

The first day was a blast – we walked miles taking in the monuments on a glorious fall day. Proper fall is a rare treat for us – in Florida you just have an endless summer (not that I am complaining) Seattle and Ireland were both so rainy that the leaves just ended up sticking to the pavement and getting gooey and slippery – Yuck! So walking through crisp golden leaves in the sunshine was wonderful

White House

Thanks to Senator Bill Nelson I scored a White House tour – so very cool. I planned to prank my mom who was watching our dogs by buying a gag gift from the airport and telling I had stolen her a hand towel from the president for her as a souvenir LOL

City at Night

My guys were so enthusiastic they even went out again at night to see the monuments lit up – feeling old and decrepit I stayed behind in the hotel and rested my aching legs. They came stumbling back to the hotel, completely exhausted, several hours later but with some great photos to share

Capitol Building

Sunday was a little grayer and we started the day with a visit to the Holocaust Museum. Emotionally draining, wrenching and haunting – but a very necessary reminder to never be a silent bystander in the face of such evil.

I have no adequate words so I will just post this

First they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

View from Old Post Office Tower

Later we visited the Ford Theatre were Lincoln was shot and also the Old Post Office Tower which is the second highest point in DC and with the Washington Monument still closed after the earthquake, the only place to get 360 degree views of the city. It’s a beautiful old building and well worth a visit.

Box number 8

However our weekend was about to change dramatically – with Hurricane Sandy on her way my meetings were cancelled and they started to shut down the city. Our oldest got out on one of the last flights Sunday night before they shut down the airport but the rest of us were stuck.

National Archives

Don’t get me wrong there are much worse places to weather a storm than a Hilton Hotel and we were extremely fortunate, unlike so many friends and co-workers in New York. Our power stayed on and we had internet and salty snacks – so we battened down the hatches and waited for the worst to pass.

The next day we woke to find the city and airport still shut down and after long conversations with the airlines we realized that if we wanted to get out that week it was not going to be by plane – that just left trains or automobiles….

So we rented a car and headed due south – I think it was South Carolina before we got out of the bands of driving wind and rain – it was so good to see a glimmer of blue sky.

Our plan was to cross three states and at least make Savannah Georgia that first day – taking it in shifts we did just that. I have always wanted to see Savannah so we stayed in a hotel in the Historic District – might as well make the most of the situation right?

We had a late dinner in Belford’s in the City Market before getting some rest. I had Fried Green Tomatoes for the first time which were great!

Honestly, I have tried grits a few times in the past and always hated them – but amazingly enough the shrimp with grit cakes I had at Belford’s were pretty damn good –  I guess I just needed to go to the right place 🙂

Savannah Steet

The next morning we were up at sunrise, determined to see a little of the city before jumping in the car again. Savannah is a city built around squares most of which have been restored so we dashed around the streets taking in as much as we could in 90 minutes

Beautiful architecture and homes around every corner – I even found The Armstrong House – I was about to knock on the door and tell people I was home now and they should move out asap but there was nowhere to keep my horse so I decided against it 🙂

Forsyth Square

We will definitely have to come back soon and explore properly but the road was calling our names, so we jumped back in the car and headed home, making it just in time to hand out Halloween candy to the trick or treaters

900 miles and 5 states in a day and half was not exactly how we planned to spend our time but we certainly wont forget it in a hurry and it was so good to get home