48 hours in Washington D.C.
We thought spending 48 hours in the political capital was a great way to break up our three-week trip to New York; here’s what we did!
Visit: The Renwick Gallery
I’d been recommended to visit this gallery* by a photographer I interviewed a while back, so I knew we had to pop in. I was really surprised that it was free entry but would gladly have paid, as the art on show was truly awe-inspiring. The main exhibition, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, definitely goes into my top 10 favourite exhibits so far (alongside the Met’s Heavenly Bodies and the Alexander McQueen exhibition). The colours and techniques on show were just stunning. From massive expanding ‘magic mushroom’ type structures from the Foldhaus Art Collective, to outstanding works of detail, like the Temple (see below), built by David Best, the exhibition brings to life a wealth of experiences encountered at the cultural movement that is Burning Man.
*Unfortunately, by the time we visited they had already shut down an area of the exhibition, but it’s still soworth popping in. I’d check ahead as I think some of the exhibits may well be there indefinitely.
Find out more at americanart.si.edu
Eat at: Maketto
So good we had to visit twice! After a hot, sweaty morning that involved a ton of walking, hunger crept up on us, so we decided to check out a place that I was due to shoot at the following day. I thought it made sense to check out the lighting, and I’m so glad we did. The team at Maketto came across as just good people, genuinely interested in sharing information not only on their offerings, but other things we should experience in D.C., from tattoo parlours to beauty stores. We chose from the all-day menu; Daniel had a rice dish with basil sauce and tofu, which was excellent, while I went for a veggie and tofu sandwich that was epic. We also decided to split a couple of desserts; a moreish sticky rice with caramelised banana dish and a seriously yummy mint chop chip ice cream cake. Trust me; you need to eat at Maketto.
When we headed back the following morning we had a couple of coffees (good) and took away some cookies that kept us going through the four-hour bus ride back to New York. Again, I have to mention how amazing every single person who worked there was towards us. It really felt like home.
Stay at: Eaton Workshop
Once we decided on a quick trip to D.C., we were kindly given access to a friends and family discount at Eaton Workshop. (I think after taxes it came to around $119 per night but there were a ton of confusing fees added on – my poor Monzo account was a mess! But to be truthful, I put this at the hands of the reception guy who unfortunately seemed either like he couldn’t be bothered, or just didn’t know. We also had to check out with him and it was the most painful checkout I have ever experienced. I’m guessing/hoping that these were teething problems, as we visited during the hotel’s soft launch phase.)
Nevertheless, the hotel itself is an amazing place to chill, sleep and work. The rooms have everything you need to focus on rest or desk time. There’s a record player with a small selection of vinyl (there’s more downstairs that I think you might be able to borrow, but don’t quote me!), beautiful throws to make you feel cosy, loads of books to take your mind off work, and a nice, softly-lit bathroom, so you won’t be inclined to beat yourself up when you see your face in the morning.
There’s a gorgeous restaurant upstairs but we preferred to sit out on the rooftop; the view was just perfect. Great choice of wines too. I’d love to visit again in the cooler months, just to be able to cosy up by the fire pit. The staff up there were great at making us feel welcome.
Also worth checking out: Downstairs there’s a stunning, retro-esque speakeasy with the most gorgeous chocolate sofas and Art Deco details.
Be inspired by: Women doing big things
I’d always been inspired by the creativity – and hair, and style and skin! – of Desiree Venn Frederic, AKA @xodvf on Instagram (left, below). The founder of Combing Cotton: ‘a think tank and community development firm’, Desiree is also a blogger, a TEDx speaker (WATCH IT), an installation artist and much more. Find out more at xodvf.com.
On the day we chose for a quick portrait shoot, Desiree also introduced me to her friend Seda Nak, (right, below) the woman behind Hometown Newstand, a newsagent and speciality goods store that was yet to open at Eaton Workshop during our stay. One thing I loved about meeting these women, however briefly, was their obvious admiration for each other, but also how they both expressed that D.C. itself (or at least the part they inhabit) is home to a wonderful community where people help and support each other in their ventures. It really made me feel like it could be a great place for entrepreneurs.
Find out more about Seda’s store at hometownnewsstand.com.
Would we do another 48 hours in Washington D.C.?
100 percent yes. We’d love to do a week next time as there is so much to see and do. And we’d definitely check out Eaton Workshop again. Below are a couple of other places we checked out:
The White House: Obvs. I found it way more fun to watch the multitudes of tourists taking selfies with it in the background, but it’s kinda surreal to see it in ‘real life’ after seeing it on TV for my entire life.
Bluestone Lane Café: Daniel is a coffee fiend so this place had been on his list for a while, although we originally thought we’d be more likely to check out their NYC location. Good coffee, lovely staff and great food. Loved the airy blue and green décor too.
Let me know your fave D.C. spots below!