Sunday, December 9, 2012

National Harbor and Christmas Fireworks

So, it was an exciting day, Friday was.  First, I got notification that I'd won a hundred bucks in a contest on Epinions.  That's 25 bucks last spring, a new iPad this summer, and now a hundred bucks!  Thank you, Epinions!

Anyway, we already had plans for Friday--we were making a surprise trip to the National Harbor to see the fireworks.  "Surprise" in that our boy was unaware.  We had planned on grabbing something cheap for dinner (which they really don't make at National Harbor, though I think there's a Subway there), but the night wound up being a little pricier than that.  In fact, we blew my hundred bucks plus seven.

Parking ate nine bucks.  Was only supposed to be five (according to the website), but considering there's no live person there to argue with, we just paid and were thankful it wasn't more. 

As we wandered through the area (it's a marvelously glitzy area, but not the sort of place you'd like if you hate planned communities and high-end "boutique-type" shops), we realized we'd gotten there a lot earlier than we'd meant to, so we decided to grab coffee.  There was, of course, a Starbucks, but we try to avoid Starbucks--overly sweet drinks and their international politics offend us.  We stumbled across a little coffee shop called Mayorga.  Counter staff was a bit harried and "I'm so cool, you're so not," but they were quick, and the coffee was really quite good--better than Starbucks, though not "leave 'em in the dust" good.  The iced mochaccino (yes, iced--it was pretty warm out!) was head and shoulders above Starbucks, with a lot more texture and a LOT more coffee.  Hubby had quad-shot cappuccino, dry, and he said it was better than he'd had in a long time.  Can't make a habit of the place because there are only seven locations, and none are close to home.  Considering the price, that's probably a good thing.  Yeah, we dropped eighteen bucks on coffee, two iced mochaccinos, and a quad-shot. 

Coming upon the National Harbor Christmas Tree was pretty amazing.  It's HUGE, and right there!

Christmas Tree, blues and greens

Reds, golds, and pinks

Purple phase

It's gigantic, heavily decorated, and changes colors--a lot of fancy LED action going on!

While the fireworks were great (short, but great), we chose poorly, viewing location-wise. We could see them, but all my life I've wanted to watch fireworks with the reflections off the water, and we weren't in that place. I only saw one reflection, and didn't get a shot. But the show is every Friday until Christmas, so we're going back week after next for another go, and this time we'll know where to stand.


After the fireworks, as the temp started to go a bit south, we decided to seek out someplace to eat.  There's no shortage of eateries here, but most are very expensive.  Like wowserly so.  We finally settled on a very loud place called Ketchup.  Their claim to fame?  That they have a wide selection of--yeah, you guessed it! 


The menu here is . . . strangely reasonable, price-wise, for the place.  Amazing how that's all relative.  When I was a college student in Utah (about a hundred years ago), I remember hearing about NYC burgers costing EIGHT DOLLARS!  I was horrified.  Who would spend that much for a burger and fries?

I would.  Double.  Funny how that works.

So $66 for two burgers and fries and one fancy grilled cheese (and it was fancy--Sourdough bread with cheddar, Swiss, provolone, gouda and havarti cheeses with cherrywood smoked bacon and thin tomato slices), plus three sodas and three orders of "funnel cake fries."  Yes, they're exactly what they sound like--funnel cake bits shaped like fries, with powdered sugar.  And guess what?  Dip those little things in just a tiny bit of raspberry sauce and they taste like the old Hostess Raspberry Donettes.  Only better.  For blood sugar reasons, I only had a few, let the boys eat the bulk.  I gave half my fries away, but kept the sweet potato and Parmesan fries (I had a small sampler of fries instead of one big order).  The Parmesan fries tasted great, but they were awfully HARD.  Like some of the smaller pieces were tooth-cracking hard.  Not sure if that's always the case.

Funnel cake fries at Ketchup

If you're worried about my blood sugar, don't be--walking keeps it totally under control, i.e., even a big meal is totally offset by a twenty minute walk (or a half hour on the recumbent).  So, after leaving Ketchup, we walked around for a while, admiring dangerous shops we must steer well clear of.  There is just far too much money to be spent at National Harbor. 

After our night on the town, we drove into DC to see the National Christmas Tree.  From where we were?  Not all that much to see, plus it kept winking out, finally going dark.  Who knew they turn it off at 10 pm.  I mean, that's a GOOD thing, cost-wise, but I had no idea.  I just assumed that, like most of DC, it's lit all night.  Hmm.  There's a double entendre there.  Yeah. 

So, I do have to say--if you've never toured DC in the dark, do it.  Don't waste your time on one of those tour trolleys, though--hubby did that one business trip and it was awful.  But if you get the chance, late at night, to just drive around the monuments and buildings, do so.  They are purely amazing in the night.


Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board

Capitol Building

St. John's Church

Washington Monument

American Bar Association
And that's that.  A wonderful night, really had a great time.  Wish it hadn't cost so danged much, but that's always the way, isn't it?  Followed it up with a (hopefully) thorough delousing with the prescription strength permethrin.  Slept with it on my head last night, had it in for eleven hours.  Cross your fingers!
And now, if you're still here?  Thank you for looking!  I tried to make this look nice, but sometimes the formatting here just confounds me. Now I have to figure out why the dog hasn't gone to the bathroom all day. 

Pee, Charlie, Pee!

We have dog urine!  We have that other, too!  Yay, Charlie!  All it took was a long walk.  Apparently, he's tired of doing it in the back yard, needed new scenery.


  1. Maybe next time you could pack a thermos and some snacks that you could eat while walking or standing around. It's amazing how much food can cost even when it is from a lower priced place. A thermos of hot coco would be good. At home now I put the Nonfat vanilla coffee creamer powder in my coffee. Tastes pretty good. There is also sugar free, but it has artifical sweetener in it and I don't like that.

  2. We actually did bring a thermos of hot chocolate, but hubby really wanted a nice dinner, and I don't blame him--we almost never go out anymore, maybe once ever few months, whereas we used to go out once a week. We had the hot chocolate in the car on the way home. But yes, you are absolutely right--a thermos of hot chocolate and some nice sandwiches would be great for something like this. I use the sugar free hot chocolate because of the blood sugar, and add the International Coffee's sugar and caffeine-free suisee mocha flavor (or three small squares of Chocolove's dark chocolate and mint). Last week, I tried the nonfat York Peppermint creamer in my hot chocolate, and it was very good!