By Elaine Ubiña

Early March of 2020 was an exciting time for our family, our oldest son was graduating from The Basic School (Marines) in Quantico, Virginia and we decided to make a family trip to Washington, DC for it. It is a trip we will always remember and be grateful for, not only for the wonderful family time we had together, but it was the trip before Covid entered our lives and changed the world. We got to enjoy Washington in the early spring. It was a bit chilly, with warm moments of sun and the blooms were just starting to pop.

We visited the International Spy Museum and learned that spies have been in the United States since the Revolutionary War! We walked The Mall and enjoyed seeing the all of the landmarks. It’s such a treat to see a familiar city through our boys’ eyes and great timing with their studies of American History.

Our favorite family pastime – the quest for great food – was found in the form of some wonderful Washington “hot spots.” Chef Jose Andres is the “king of food” in Washington, DC. His innovative international restaurants are unparalleled. We loved China Chilcano, his Peruvian restaurant. The cool and colorful design and interesting seating, plus the authentic Peruvian food, was fantastic! Oyamel Cocina Mexicana has wonderful cocktails including a delicious assortment of margaritas, plus tapas and street food. It’s a very busy after-work scene. Fun to enjoy the buzz with the young Hill crowd. Graduation luncheon was at the very elegant, Tosca. The food is a “modernized Northern Italian cuisine in a serenely beautiful setting.” Everything was fresh and delicious from the wonderful pastas to the creative desserts. All of these restaurants are set to re-open for dining inside sometime between February and late March of 2021. Be sure to check their websites.

We discovered the newest part of Washington, DC – The Wharf. We stayed at the newly built InterContinental – The Wharf hotel, which is located along a mile stretch of the Potomac River. This is a mini-city on the water. It is vibrant and full of life with lots of restaurants, shops, residences, plus a marina and water taxis. It is wonderful for strolling and snacking. We loved lunch at MI VIDA Mexican restaurant and there are ice cream spots and even a Shake Shack. We had a quick visit, during one of our walks on the wharf, to the fish market to see where DC buys their fish.

The views from the InterContinental are breathtaking. It was fun to enjoy a cocktail in 12 Stories Bar with floor to ceiling windows and to see the boats in the marina coming and going, along with the helicopters buzzing around in the air. The hotel rooms are very comfortable and the service is impeccable. They are taking all precautions for their guests’ safety. Moon Rabbit, their indoor-outdoor contemporary Vietnamese Restaurant by Kevin Tien is reopening on February 11th. The Watering Hole, a casual open-air bar, is located right on the river. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy people watching in the early evening.

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Washington, DC. It’s a great walking city. History abounds and with restaurants reopening and The Wharf and all of its outdoor options, it’s a win-win option for spring break or a quick anytime trip!

Photo Credit:
Elaine Ubiña
Juan Carlos Brinceno
Mark DeLong