We’ve been keeping busy here in Washington DC, which is my ideal kind of vacation. Get up, sight see all day, then come home exhausted and have a cocktail. Something Ben’s family does well. I appreciate that. ;)
A lot of people have mentioned that they thought DC was just about memorials and museums which, don’t get me wrong, you could totally spend a week out here just touring memorials and museums, but there is so much more to do in and around DC.
Over the past several days we’ve hit up mind-blowing outlet malls, driven through the obscenely picturesque countryside (where we saw estates. Palatial estates – never seen anything like ’em!) visited historic towns that had roles in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, hit up some great restaurants, and, yes, visited a museum or two – including the National Archives where I came this close to the Declaration of Independence – whee!
We haven’t had time yet this trip, but I also have to mention that there is an incredible parks & recreation system around here for hiking, rafting, and general merry making in the great outdoors.
I mean, it’s true, DC has a ton – a ton – of traffic, and there seems to be about a zillion people squished into a 30 mile radius, but I think this city and surrounding areas are really, really special. Great vibe, great energy, and I always feel like I’m in another time or place when I’m walking around.
The weather this week is making our time out here extra special. Besides the first day, when it poured all day, it’s been outrageously mild and warm. Yesterday I was out in a light fleece and the temps topped out in the upper 50s. On December 30th!!! My brain almost couldn’t comprehend!
I love it out here. :)
I also loved, nay ADORED, the restaurant we went to for dinner a couple nights ago – Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm.
Clyde’s is a restaurant group in DC with several locations in and around the city. Last trip we visited one of their locations, Old Ebbit Grill, which is steps away from the White House and all the action on Capital Hill.
Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm restaurant, in Northern Virginia, is really special though.
“The history of the design of Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm goes back to the early 1980s, when Clyde’s Restaurant Group purchased a series of antique heavy timber structures that had been destined for the wrecking ball. They included the Chandler Barn (c.1885), the Samuel French Tavern (c.1804), the Roxbury House (c.1810), and the Richmond House (c. 1780). These structures were disassembled, moved, connected, and restored with various reproduced ells, to create a truly unique restaurant.”
Basically the restaurant is a combination of four, massive 18th and 19th century wooden structures that have been combined to create the ultimate country club-esque restaurant, with countless dining rooms, and 4 bars to boot.
Each dining room is different, and the one we were seated in had an equestrian theme.
An enormous, wooden-beamed ceiling gave the room an upscale log-cabin vibe, and the warm-toned chandeliers completed the mood.
We were seated and ordered a cocktail to sip. I got me an Old Fashioned because, well, I was feeling very old fashioned. I swear I could have been sitting in the middle of an 1850s east coast dinner party.
I’ll cheers to that!
While the restaurant felt like the most luxurious country club I have ever been to, I was totally tickled to see a reasonably priced menu.
Everything sounded incredible – Bourbon-Glazed House-Cured Bacon Wrapped Shrimp over Cheddar Grits, anyone? – but as I was in need of some vegetables, I got a juicy Steak Salad.
Rare, and with crispy onion rings on top.
I’m pretty sure our waiter thought I was crazy. An old fashioned, and rare steak salad? Ah.
After dinner – which was dy-no-mite – we headed off on a self-guided tour of the restaurant. Yes, it is so big that it deserves a tour!
First up was the Chandler Barn Dining Room.
Huge – HUGE – and anchored by a large stone fireplace on one end, with tiered chandeliers reaching almost to the tip-top of the soaring ceiling.
A visit to the Carriage Dining Room and Bar was next.
Aptly named for the carriages hanging from the ceiling!
We grabbed ourselves a seat at the bar and toasted to an incredible meal and family with a luscious nightcap.
Clyde’s at Willow Creek Farm is a must-see sight for anyone in the DC area!