An out-of-towner contacted me to say she was going to be in Dupont Circle for a few days and asked about meeting for lunch. I love that area – it has a nice historic vibe and there are so many, probably too many, great restaurants to chose from. Good problem.
We settled on Iron Gate on a beautiful, tree-lined, quiet street. It boasts being one of the longest continuously operating restaurants in DC, founded in 1875. All I know is that it sets a mood that is conducive to conversation while reminding patrons of a simpler time.
We easily settled into a conversation and as we left, we paused to look a bit more closely at the dining room, formerly a barn where horses were kept, and the carriage house, now housing the bar. The old window frames, lighting, and walls were carefully preserved throughout.
"We have a group looking at our place today for their wedding," the bartender said.
"What a great idea – what a great place to have a wedding!" I responded.
"We get a lot of business from weddings," he said with pride.
Once outside, I suggested we stop in across the street at the longest continuously operating hotel in DC, the Tabard Inn. I knew it would be worth a few minutes as I had been there countless times over the years and was always glad to have an excuse to return.
So we walked in and the floors creaked underneath our feet. The foyer had one wall where hotel guests could speak to someone through a small wooden window, clearly original and preserved, clearly setting a wonderful entree to checking into a room in this hotel. But when we walked next into the parlor, a parlor straight out of the 1920's with an old fireplace, wood paneling, and black and white photos on the wall, my companion paused.
"Oh," was all she said.
We stood silently a few moments just taking it all in.
And we weren't alone. People were comfortably seated in the parlor having drinks, talking in hushed tones as if they too knew this was a special room. There was just a feeling of being a part of something special, a sense of calmness, and a sense of the many people who had been there before us.
DC has so much to offer. Its history is alive and well and that doesn't just refer to the Capitol, White House, Smithsonian, and other noteworthy government buildings which are often the main (or sole) attraction for tourists. It just takes time to absorb all of the meaningful and inspirational elements of the city. It just means returning often so that you can poke around the neighborhoods.