[I love this city…but I probably wouldn’t want to drive here…]
Not too long ago, I took a little excursion to visit some friends in DC. Twice, I’ve missed out on the opportunity to visit this place and both times I was upset that I couldn’t go! So when the invitation presented itself again, I made sure to plan and prepare.
Plane tickets can be REALLY expensive, especially when your budget is super tight. Sure you can wait for the “glitch” deals, call a buddy, or save up, but sometimes it really just doesn’t work out that way, things come up and opportunities pass. I’ve been hearing about Megabus for a while and just never took it. I took this opportunity to get my own experience of it AND save a pretty penny.
The registration process was simple, I’m pretty sure I purchased my seats via my phone, but I need them to redesign their website…it’s low-key boring.
How I got there
I purchased my seats, front row center, about a month in advance. I budgeted not more than $50 for these tickets and was surprised with I came out $1 under. If you despise road trips or get motion sickness, this is not the mode of transport for you. It was a long trip, about 12 hours to be exact, but it was exactly what I needed to allow my mind to roam and my thoughts to clear so I can focus on something else for a change.
The rocking of the bus put me to sleep when I needed the rest and served as a type of cyclorama of the purple mountain majesty of the Appalachian mountains and the golden waves of maze through-out Virginia. I enjoyed it. It was like a mini-trip in a trip and was definitely appreciated.
What to do there
Although I really wanted to see all the historic monuments of the National Mall, I liked being able to see the real DC:
The congested streets; 50 million stop lights; crazy intersections; beautiful brown stones; re-development projects; layers and layers of history, legacy, and American heritage; and all the things that makes you appreciate the DMV- Tri-cities.
Pretending to be a local, I learned my way around and how to use the public transportation. Atlanta fails at this concept. All these opportunities for better transportation in the city that hosts “the world’s largest international airport and transportation hub” and we can’t get something as simple as public transportation right…but I digress.
I learned my way around with the Metro, Circulator, and city transit and strolled through Columbia Heights. I admired the beauty of Union Station with all of it’s Grecian architecture and history.
I faced my fear by going to King’s Dominion which is an hour drive outside of downtown DC and located in Virginia.
Nope. Still not ready to conquer it yet.
This was more my speed…
DC is an OLD CITY. And like old cities, it’s rich in history. You have the one side where a land was developed under by our forefathers and set in ink some 200 years ago. But then you have the flourishing black history there. As I walked around Columbia Heights and basked in the richness of Howard University, I couldn’t help but be proud of the things we’ve done and the people and movements we’ve cultivated. I finally got to meet my Delta college roommates Lady Fortitude and saw the beautiful centennial glass of my assistants sorority. I paid homage to the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma as they had recently added a new plot on campus. My friend that I stayed with took me on a journey through their college experience. And I stared in awe at the clock tower. It was amazing.
I’ve noticed that people LOVE to brunch. And when they brunch, they brunch hard! To celebrate my friend’s birthday weekend extravaganza, we went to a really dope restaurant named Local 16, where for about $23 you can get truly unlimited mimosas or bellinis and enjoy delicious strawberry french toast and a plate of bacon. Our table of about 20 had so many drinks we had to start turning down mimosas in favor of water. We bathed in the sun and brunched to our heart’s content. It was delicious, but I wish they had chicken or turkey sausage!
My DC trip was really exciting and exactly what I needed at the time. I got to hang out with some of my many friends who live there, explore the city and all of its character and gave room for the opportunity to come back. Some of the best travel experiences I’ve had are the ones that make me feel like I live there. It’s like this trip allowed me to plant some seeds to spread my roots. It’s a beautiful thing to become a local in a new city where you can appreciate its quirks…like I did with finding the beauty in DC.
5 quick tips on How to Travel Like a Local
Exchange hotel for hospitality – do Airbnb or stay with someone you know
Stick to public transportation or Uber your way around
Save the tourist hotspots for another day
Walk to soak in the city
Stay in town or where the culture happens
I had a great time in beautiful DC. There’s sooooooo much more that I want to share, but I’m a writer by nature so…just check out My Story on Google+ below: