weekend trip: dc metro area

Our DC weekend away was originally planned as a three-four day roadtrip (it's about an eight hour drive from here), but given some work conflicts we ended up flying straight into Reagan so we wouldn't need a car. In hindsight - totally the way to go. Having a car in DC can be a pain and it's a really walkable/metrobale/Uber-able city. On that note, in the mood for some yarn and yoga recommendations in the DC metro area?

OLD TOWN

I did my homework prior to going to DC, as any good yarn-aholic would. Realistically, I figured we'd have one day to do sightseeing, so I picked two yarn shops within the DC metro area that would be totally doable: Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA and Looped Yarn Works in the heart of DC.

As I said before, the DC metro area is really easy to navigate by metro! (I love a good public transportation system.) After dropping our luggage off at our hotel in Dupont Circle, we hopped right back onto the metro and got to the 'Old Town' of Alexandria, Virginia in no time. Although I had yarn on the brain, my first mission was to find Bluprint Chocolatiers. It just so happened that the day we arrived in town was National Chocolate Day (like I need a reason to celebrate with chocolate). Despite the ladies at bluprint not being aware of the holiday, we merrily selected our celebratory confections. If you've got the extra time and you're in the area, I highly recommend a stop at Bluprint - to celebrate chocolate any day of the year!

Mouth watering yet?

Mouth watering yet?

Bite-sized with big flavor.

Bite-sized with big flavor.

Bluprint Chocolatiers in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Bluprint Chocolatiers in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Yarn SHOP: Fiber Space

Just around the corner and up a couple of blocks (with the cutest historic home fronts all decked out with fall decorations), was my most anticipated yarn stop on this trip - Fiber Space. I mean, their tagline is 'a yarn universe,' so it's obviously out of this world! I loved everything about this shop, and apparently I wasn't the only one, as it was buzzing with customers and crafters (They won first place in the 2017 Best of DC awards for Best Arts and Crafts Supply Store). This place is so much more than your typical 'store.' They absolutely have all the yarn, books, patterns, notions that you can think of, but they also have classrooms, workshops and events (like a movie night!), couches in the back for crafters to mingle, seats out front for gathering makers to enjoy the beautiful weather (as they were on this particular day), and a bright and cheerful staff waiting to help.

As far as yarn goes, they specialize in 'unique yarns and fibres from hand dyed, independent, local and U.S.-made sources,' so of course, I had to support that mission! I inquired, as I normally do in yarn shops, which companies were considered local and I was brought to Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co. began in the kitchen of a basement apartment in the LeDroit Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. Stirred by her surroundings, Karida Collins set out to provide the world with hand-dyed yarns inspired by and named to reflect the natural beauty and diverse neighborhoods throughout the nation’s capital.
— Neighborhood Fiber Co. Website

Fiber Space had a great assortment of colors and weights of Neighborhood Fiber Co. yarns. As usual, I didn’t really have anything in mind to make when I set off to yarn crawl the area but I was drawn to a specific color way, so I went with that in a sport base. The color way, Shami, is a part of Neighborhood’s Graffiti line of speckled yarn. The bright turquoise, dark blue and splash of red that make up Shami reminded me of Fibre Space colors, so I decided that was the one to take home. I also bought my very first enamel pin - fibre girl (think Judy Jetson sitting on a ball of yarn). While I could have spent hours in fibre space, there was so much to do, so we bid adieu to the yarn universe and quaint Alexandria, and made our way back on the metro to DC. 

fibre space in Alexandria, VA. Excellent yarn shop, and hard to miss with the corner location and sheep statues on the sidewalk. 

fibre space in Alexandria, VA. Excellent yarn shop, and hard to miss with the corner location and sheep statues on the sidewalk. 

Neighborhood Fiber Co.'s Shami color way looks like it was made specifically for fibre space. And check out the fibre girl pin, totally out of this world. 

Neighborhood Fiber Co.'s Shami color way looks like it was made specifically for fibre space. And check out the fibre girl pin, totally out of this world. 

The Mall and All

We got off the metro at the National Mall and decided to do a super simple, self-guided walking tour. The Mall was busy, and rightly so, seeing as it was a most spectacular day and it’s the hub of all things monumental. Dylan’s favorite is the Lincoln Memorial, which just so happened to be the furthest one so we joined the crowds and made our way pausing only for a couple of photos here and there.

I had been to DC before, but I can’t even remember if I did the Mall back then. I remember the metro quite well (and the fact that it was carpeted!), but as far as seeing the famous landmarks, I can’t say that I have a clear memory of that. Either way, this was my very first time exploring the nation’s capital as an American citizen, and I really enjoyed it - the scope of the World War II National Memorial, the grandeur of the Lincoln Memorial, the uniqueness of each Smithsonian building's exterior, the familiarity of the iconic Capitol. We could have spent a week alone exploring the ins and outs of each landmark, but even just the brief time we had there was impactful. 

After walking the near entirey of the Mall and taking some photos of Abe, we set off walking the streets of DC in search of more fun. 

Yarn Shop: Looped Yarn Works

Looped Yarn Works is DC’s yarn store, and it was our next stop on our epic day of touring. What I loved about walking the streets of DC was getting a feel for all the neighborhoods. Once we left the Mall area, the city didn’t feel crowded at all. The tree-lined streets, the community feel, the ease of getting from one place to the next - all contributed to that nice ‘small town’ vibe.

We almost completely missed Looped Yarn Works. The GPS got us in the vicinity, but we couldn’t see it along the street ahead. For some reason, I decided to look up and noticed that there was a banner saying that it was on the second floor. We walked up the narrow wooden staircase and right into the shop, greeted immediately by friendly faces. 

I had absolutely zero intention of buying yarn in this shop (I need to show some restraint!) but one skein of Tempting Ewe Yarn  was calling to me. Tempting Ewe Yarns is based out of Maryland, but I was assured it was still considered 'local' to the DC area, and apart from their online store, it's only sold in Looped Yarn Works and one other brick and mortar. The skein that tempted me was basically the exact colors I was wearing at the time plus sparkle. Not speckle folks, sparkle. Oh, yes. The trip to Looped wouldn’t be complete without another enamel pin (you know, to keep the first one company), so I got a DC LYS pin that’s super cute and has the capitol dome represented in yarn. 

Second floor bird's eye view of the welcoming Looped Yarn Works common area. 

Second floor bird's eye view of the welcoming Looped Yarn Works common area. 

loopedyarnworks.jpg
Tempting Ewe Yarns and DC's LYS pin, my unsuspected grabs from Looped Yarn Works. 

Tempting Ewe Yarns and DC's LYS pin, my unsuspected grabs from Looped Yarn Works. 

By this time, I had checked everything off my mental ‘would be nice to do’ list, and Dylan had been so obliging that I thought it only fair that he pick the remaining places to visit (after all, this trip was to celebrate his upcoming birthday!) He chose to visit a secondhand bookstore (Second Story Books), a record store (Joint Custody), and stop in for some much needed grub (Busboys and Poets). By the time we sat down to eat at Busboys and Poets, my legs felt like jelly. I am in the camp of, 'if I’m going, I need to keep going, for if I stop to rest, I am basically done for!' And I was basically done for. I must say, after dinner the only thing that got me moving again was the prospect of dessert (Dolcezza Gelato) and bed. We checked our walking mileage of the day just before tucking in for the night and it was sitting right at 14 miles. 

Dupont Circle Yoga

I swear I didn’t plan it this way, but there just so happened to be a yoga studio right outside our hotel (so of course I had to go to a class). Dupont Circle Yoga makes it super easy to just drop in. They have a $10 first time class special and free mat use (Manduka, my fav!). I snuck out for a quick hourlong class on Sunday morning while Dylan was still sleeping (and recovering from our 14-miler the day before). To me, yoga is always a most excellent way to start the day. Well, actually, coffee is usually the way I start my day, but on this day I started with yoga. 

The teacher was extremely friendly and welcoming, and the practice space was gorgeous. Its second story location boasted hardwood floor, a red exposed brick wall, and large, light-emitting windows out to P Street. Sunday morning's class was Vinyasa (my go-to type of class), but they also offer Hatha and Restorative/Yin on their schedule. 

After class, I asked the teacher for a good recommendation for coffee. She told me that the owners of the studio owned the coffee shop, Emissary, right below, so I decided to bring coffee back to Dylan. When I popped in to get some brew, I took a peek at their menu and decided that instead of bringing coffee back to Dylan, I would go and wake him immediately and bring him back there for breakfast! Boy, were we both glad for that. Brioche was on the menu in bread form, so in ode to the knitting form, we both had that with delicious eggs and avo. And pour over coffee. Happy bellies unite. 

Music

Music was the main reason for our trip to DC, specifically Ludivico Einaudi's concert, which was on Sunday evening. After yoga and breakfast, we took the rest of the day off to rest up for the performance. It was cold, windy and rainy, so it deserved a good lie in. I knit (of course), Dylan read and all was grand. Prior to the show, we ate a lovely dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill and then took an Uber to the Warner Theater since it was quite blustery outside.

The show was nothing shy of spectacular. Einaudi, a contemporary classical composer and pianist, and four instrumentalists came onto the stage and played for two straight hours. The most unique song they played was the Elegy for the Arctic, which he composed in support of the campaign for a marine sanctuary in the North Pole’s international waters. He recorded the song on a floating barge in the middle of the Arctic Circle with the ambient sounds of glaciers calving in the background. Performing this song live was a different story. To depict the sound of the glaciers calving during the live performance, they used a fish tank full of water and an instrument that (from my seat) looked like a washerboard. When the metal washerboard was partially submerged in the water, the instrumentalist struck it with a muted drum stick. The sound of the reverbration in the water was etheral and almost haunting. All and all it was an incredible performance, and we floated out of there on cloud nine. 

Our weekend getaway to DC hit the mark on all levels! After this trip, I think we're leaning more toward to these full and fun short trips - you can see and do so much without needing to be away for too long. What do you like to do when you travel on a short getaway? Do you look for unique performances, interesting eateries, all the yarn and yoga you can realistically fit into your itinerary? I'd love to know!

Below are some snapshots I took with my phone during our trip. Go to DC - you won't be disappointed!