Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

No travel plans yet for the coming year. . . there will be something though, I'm sure.

Best wishes to all of you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Shopping in Stillwater

David is visiting us from LA, so we are in Stillwater (sort of the opposite of LA) to do a little Christmas shopping.

Amazingly, the cheerful streets are quiet, even on this beautiful morning just before Christmas.

Our first stop is at Gallery 310, which has gorgeous gifts for sale and two Christmas trees – one in flocked with white and dressed in delicate glass ornaments . . .

. . . and a bright pink confection dressed with a fanciful mix of goodies.

We make a quick run through a couple of antique malls with items piled everywhere, but none of us buy anything.

We also make a quick stop in St Croix Antiquarian Bookseller, which is a fabulously interesting place and probably should be a much longer stop.

We also stop in Maison Galleria which is overflowing this season with gorgeous sparkly holiday items. We are particularly taken by some large reindeer in the front window, but find plenty of other intriguing items. (It’s a great store!)

We buy a few funky Christmas trees and reluctantly move along. This could be my new favorite store here.

All that shopping (well, mostly looking) is making me hungry, so it is time for a lunch break at wonderful little Café Marx.

Time to head to the tree farm!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Details: Winter in DC

We are here at a cold, but quiet time, before both the holidays and the inauguration.

The posts:
December 6, 2008
Have we really left Minnesota?

December 7, 2008
Waiting for the Metro
DC Puts On Its Christmas Finery
Where Better to Spend a Blustery Day than in a Museum?
December 8, 2008
The Indian Craft Shop
Out and About on a Chilly Day

December 9, 2008
Around the Neighborhood: Dupont Circle
The Details
Weather in DC can be unpredictable at this time of year and we had the misfortune of arriving during a particularly cold spell. The good thing about DC though, is that there is always plenty to do INSIDE, so the we had plenty to keep us busy.

For the first time we didn’t stay near the Mall, but instead stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Madera near Dupont Circle. The hotel was exactly as advertised: comfortable, welcoming, affordable, and a little funky. I would definitely stay there again.

Jaleo is always one of my favorite spots to eat. I’m always surprised when a hot new restaurant is still hot years later, but the food here is still wonderful. This time we tried the paella, which was amazing. (Go early in the evening or make a reservation, because it’s always crowded.)

Teaism now has locations in several parts of the city. While still partial to the Penn Quarter location, the Dupont Circle is equally inviting. It’s a great spot for breakfast or lunch, not just for tea – although the tea is marvelous.

Luckily Firefly, the restaurant located in our hotel, turned out to be a great find with fabulous food. Make a reservation if you want to enjoy the pretty main dining room instead of the boring overflow room in back.

Mitsitam Café at the National Museum of the American Indian features foods from native cultures throughout the western hemisphere. It’s not cheap, but this is by far the best food available on the Mall and the dining area is fairly pleasant.

If you have reason to take the red line up to Wheaton, the Royal Mile Scottish pub has good food in a family-friendly setting.

Around the Neighborhood: Dupont Circle

Previous Post: Out and About on a Chilly Day

It looks pretty gray beyond the hotel window. . .

Outside we discover the morning is cold, but not miserably so. I hope for a fast warming trend as we hurry off to breakfast at Teaism, one of my favorite spots in DC.

Inside it is cozy and warm, with a cheery wall of fragrant teas stored in lushly decorated boxes.

A lovely start to the day.

Our first stop for the day is the Textile Museum, which is holding a show focused on textiles (mostly rugs) in a show called Timbuktu to Tibet: Rugs and Textiles of the Hajji Babas. It’s a lovely show that transports me to an exotic world far from where I am.

We had planned to take in another museum today, but the weather has become mild and inviting with just a bit of sunshine and this part of the city is lovely. . . we make a quick stop in an Inuit art gallery and then wander aimlessly, enjoying the architectural details of the homes and embassies that radiate out from Dupont Circle.