Saturday, July 13, 2019

Staying in a Pod Hotel: Washington, D.C.

On the same trip that I visited Fredericksburg, I also did something pretty interesting... I stayed at a pod hotel!  The Pod DC Hotel, specifically.  Located in Chinatown, it is very close to Metro Center where our large DAR events are located, and not too far from our headquarters itself.  Since I was traveling in for just a quick trip, I decided to give it a go because the price was really good. ($124-154/night for a full-size bed.  The bunkbed room was cheaper, but I was staying alone.)

Super cool hotel digs!

This wasn't a space-age pod hotel, where you sleep in like a spaceship capsule.  The Pod DC is a micro-hotel with stripped down rooms that offer the bare essentials but have really great amenities and social spaces.  I was a little nervous, given it was a new concept to me.  I was also still pumping, so I needed a fridge.  I contacted the hotel in advance, and they had a little medical fridge sent to my room that served my needs.  (During the day, I had them store milk for me in their walk-in freezer.)

Pano of the room, which had a tiny but nice bathroom!

Overall, the room was clean, efficient, and had everything I needed.  The Wifi was good, and I was surprised by the size of the TV!  The bed was comfy, the bathroom was clean and modern (tiny!) but good for the trip.  There was also a small safe, and they had so much thoughtful storage, shelves, and hooks.

But the best parts about the Pod aren't the rooms, because you're just there to sleep.  The common areas (diner, whiskey bar, gym access, etc.) are super chic, and a ton of people were hanging there who weren't even staying at the hotel.  In addition, it's on the edge of Chinatown near Metro Center, so lots of restaurants, shops, and more.  Just a block to Walgreens, Starbucks, you name it!

I also found the staff to be SO HELPFUL.  They were so helpful knowing I was pumping and traveling, and they solved all issues very quickly.



If I were staying in DC on my own again and needed to be near the National Mall and things, and the prices were lower than Airbnb and traditional hotels, I'd definitely stay at a Pod again.  It's not kid-friendly because of the space constraints and lack of bathtub, but for a budget-conscious adult or couple, it would do the trick!

After all, you spend your day away from your room anyways, in places like the beautiful DAR Headquarters!  Had to include a few insider photos...

The eagle lectern has been used by multiple Presidents


Would you stay at a hotel like the Pod DC?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Fredericksburg: Washington Family Sites

Last last year, I was in D.C. for a DAR meeting, and I'd hoped to attend the annual Christmas open house.  But then President George H.W. Bush passed away, so the event was cancelled as the government was shut down.  I was disappointed but understanding... and then three wonderful DAR friends whisked me off to Fredericksburg, Virginia, to visit some historic sites!

Ferry Farm

Our first stop was George Washington's boyhood home, known as Ferry Farm.  There is a replica of his home on the site, overlooking the river, and you could just imagine what life must have been like for his widowed mother managing the family estate and 276 acres on her own until her children were grown.  The site is supported by the state and local DAR chapters.



Fittingly, we paid tribute to Mary, Mother of Washington, by visiting the Mary Washington Monument.  The Mary Washington Monument is the only monument in the United States erected to a woman by women. The DAR's first resolution in 1890 was a pledge to complete a memorial monument to Mary Washington, and it was one of two organizations to support it.  DAR members contributed nearly three-fourths of the $11,000 raised for the project.  It felt very fitting as a DAR member to visit this site!



Mary Washington's monument is near to Kenmore, a historic plantation owned by her daughter Betty Washington Lewis and husband Fielding Lewis.  I had no idea the financial and personal sacrifices this well-to-do couple made towards the American Revolution!  You can't take photos inside the house, but it was worth touring!  It's known for the decorative plaster work on its ceilings.  It wasn't known as Kenmore until the 1800s, named by its new owners, but the name stuck over time.  The site is, you guessed it, also supported by local DAR chapters!  It was pretty cool to go around and get a DAR discount because of the contributions made over the years by our members.

Kenmore

Model showing Kenmore in relation to the town

On our way out of town, we did two quick stops to see the exteriors of the Mary Washington House and the Lewis Store.  The gardener for the house was actually outside as we approached, and she allowed us a peek into the back garden and told us a bit about the history.  Mary Washington spent her last seventeen years in the house, which sits walking distance from Kenmore.  If I ever come back I'll have to revisit!


The Fielding Lewis Store was built by the father of Fielding Lewis, and it was just down the street from Kenmore and Mary Washington's house.  It was a general store.



I was truly blessed to have three wonderful DAR members take me on this awesome tour of Fredericksburg sites related to the family of George Washington!  I'll never forget it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

National Museum of African American History & Culture











During personal time on a work trip to Washington, D.C., I had the privilege of visiting the National Museum of African American Heritage & Culture. I’ve taken some time to consider what to write about my experience, because I did not want to appropriate or claim a single piece of it as my own. It is not mine, and it’s an undeniable part of our history and culture as Americans. And I wanted to tell my friends, you. must. go.

It is one of the most moving museums I’ve seen in the world in my lifetime. I spent hours there yet couldn’t see everything or read every word. I cried. I smiled. And I honestly left feeling exhausted.

I started with history, and I was taken underground in one of the biggest elevators I have ever seen. I made my way up three floors covering centuries of history, learning how the economies of so many countries and the outcomes of so many wars were built and won on the backs and lives of so many black and enslaved Americans. I paid my respects at the Emmett Till Memorial, wondering if as the mother of a son I could ever be so brave as Mamie, especially as violence and racism have not ended even today. As you walk up through the history floors, you begin to see more light from above. The highest floors covering culture feel brightest, filled with optimism and pride.

I listened, and I tried to understand. I appreciated it the best I could.

If I had to pick a word that describes this museum, I would choose resilience. And if you’re ever in D.C., you absolutely need to see it.

(originally written for and posted to my personal Facebook profile)
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