Andrew: Dearie and I keep talking about blogging about our honeymoon – in fact, at various moments during the honeymoon itself, we were actually discussing the form which our honeymoon blog posts should take. Should we do a Day by Day account, or group it by category (e.g. food, museums etc.)? [Yes we engage in such geeky discussions.] After coming back from the honeymoon, we just got so swept up in the craziness of transitioning that we never got down to writing.
It was only during our NZ trip that we finally decided that we -HAVE- to document our honeymoon or all our wonderful memories will be forgotten. We also decided to present our trip in terms of the Top 5 highlights at each location, with an exception for NY where we have the Top 10 – since we spent 11 days there over Christmas and Boxing Day too. So, here’s presenting the first of our Honeymoon series – our Top 5 attractions in Washington!
Washington Top 5
When we were doing our Washington D.C. Top 5, what was interesting was that only one of the Top 5 is actually a tourist attraction! The rest of them are highlights we stumbled upon while exploring D.C – one of them was even recommended by a salesgirl who became Jasmine’s best friend in D.C.
Andrew: It was in D.C. that we started our Cupcake craze. It all began with Sprinkles on the first day. We arrived in D.C on a gloomy, wet and windy afternoon – unexpectedly so. We had not foreseen such weather and it was rather unbearable. After stepping out of the hotel, our first instinct was to find a cafe to seek refuge in and the first place I saw immediately was Sprinkles cupcakes – just opposite our hotel! This is where we had our first foray into US cupcakes and it was unforgettable.
Red Velvet & Spicy Eggnog Cupcake from Sprinkles
Andrew: Of course after googling Cupcakes that same night, we realised that Sprinkles was not the best and actually, the more famous Cupcake place in DC was Georgetown Cupcakes (yes, we had never watched that reality TV show D.C. Cupcakes before!) and it was just a few streets down from our hotel. We headed down immediately the next day and we were greeted with an extremely long queue! Singaporeans are not the only ones who queue up for good food. We ordered:
White chocolate peppermint and Christmas lava fudge cupcake
Andrew: They were all so moist and decadently sweet! Singapores’ cupcakes really cannot compare in terms of texture, taste and of course, size.
Jasmine: Singapore may be home to much good food, but we have yet to find such velvety, rich cupcakes here. And of course, it being December, there was all kinds of Christmassy flavours available, such as white choc peppermint and gingerbread. We loved topping our sweet treats off with a steaming hot chai latte (for me)!
Bright, sunny day in Georgetown Cupcakes
2. Betsy Johnson
Andrew: Jasmine was extremely excited to see Betsy Johnson – so excited that we actually visited this store everyday we were there. You can say that this is her equivalent of Sprinkles cupcakes for me, except of course, the fact that the items here cost 100x as much. Anyway, I won’t say much about the clothes and leave it to the expert instead.
Jasmine: I’ve heard of Betsey for years but it’s just too bad that it’s not stocked in Singapore. Of course, you can imagine how excited I was to see rows of flirty cocktail dresses… I caved in and ended up getting this one, which I also wore for our honeymoon shoot in NYC:
Jasmine: That dress aside, my favourite Betsey buy would have to be the stockings- they came in non-traditional colours and had the most unique designs ever. I must have bought at least three pairs during the course of the trip and still get compliments on them, most recently when we were in Auckland, NZ. This is one of the three:
Andrew: What I’ll say is that I was incredibly amazed by the warmth and level of passion of the salesgirl, Jenny, which I found genuinely refreshing. She was not just a salesgirl – she was almost like the brand ambassador for Betsy Johnson. She gushed about the dresses, the stockings, the jewellery and kept talking about how amazing Betsy Johnson was. She was very friendly too – invited us to a cocktail part and also gave us 2 food recommendations, both of which we took up and one of which is on our list of top 5.
Jasmine and her best friend in DC
Jasmine: Jenny even invited us to a party that very evening, hosted by one of her friends in her vintage and consignment store. Washington itself may seem like a rather huge and anonymous city, but we liked that community spirit in Georgetown, where everyone knew everyone else and supported each other’s businesses.
Andrew: We came to Filomena on Jenny’s recommendation for our lunch before departing for Boston and it was truly a one of a kind experience. Jenny mentioned to us that the owner had just gone over the top with the Christmas decorations, but we were really not prepared for just how opulent and extravagant the Christmas decorations were.
Andrew: I dare say this restaurant alone had as much decorations (scaled down, of course) as one of our own shopping malls during Christmas season. Since Jasmine is the decor expert, I will leave her to talk more about that.
Jasmine: We went during lunchtime, and Filamena’s was already all lit up. Unfortch, our camera battery died on us before we could take any pictures of the exterior, but within the restaurant itself, any empty ledge or floor space was dripping with brightly-lit Christmas trees, colored glass baubles, gyrating Santas, glittering mistletoe and all manner of old-fashioned Christmas paraphernalia. It was Christmas decor overkill in the best of ways!
Jasmine: The food also did not disappoint. The meatballs were fab- oversized, juicy and unusually tender. The salad bar was exceptionally generous and would have been enough to fill me, with cold pasta salads, fruits, vegetable dishes, breads and a wide array of ‘rich’ dressings and dips.
Andrew: The arancini (Italian rice stuffed with cheese and bolognaise meat) that we had for starter was hearty and tasty. The main course I had was pretty good too, in an American way. The American way of doing all cuisine is simply to upsize it by almost 2 times and make it rich and creamy. That was exactly how my pasta was, but not overdone of course. I loved it to bits! We were so stuffed at the end of the meal that I think we skipped dinner that night.
Andrew: So I guess we should actually talk about at least one tourist attraction that we went to. Yes, we did see all the monuments and memorials and we did go to some museums in the Smithsonian as well. They were good, but none were as memorable as our time in Newseum.
Through extensive research, Dearie had narrowed down the list of museums for us to go too and the 2 which were highly recommended, even by friends, were the Spy Museum and Newseum. We really liked Newseum because of the exhibits, but also the cool design and architecture of the place, which provided us with lots of opportunity for creative shots.
Jasmine: The monuments in Washington were pretty haunting, but the Newseum stood out for us. I particularly enjoyed the Pulitzer Prize gallery, with its poignant display of photographs capturing not just pivotal moments in history, but also raw human emotion. To think we would almost have missed it if we hadn’t read up on the reviews, as it was tucked away in an obscure spot just next to the cloakroom.
At the Putlizer Prize Photo Gallery
Andrew: We spent a lot of time at the Pulitzer Prize Photographs gallery with 100 of the most significant photographs in history, just appreciating the stories captured vividly in the action. There was also an informative display on 9/11 (including actual artefacts from the wreckage) and a whole wall with the front pages of newspapers around the world on the day after 9/11. It was visually very powerful and signalled what a turning point that event was in global history.
Plane wreckage from 9/11 and Wall of Front-pages after 9/11
Another display that fascinated me was the gallery of front pages from newspapers all around the world for that day:
Gallery of front pages
As a GP teacher, this was definitely fascinating and I was contemplating the possibilities of an excursion to DC for GP students! Now that’s a crazy idea indeed.
5. Nutcracker @ Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts
Andrew: One of the amazing things about this honeymoon is that we tried to do the things we enjoyed to do in Singapore, so this was us pursuing our love for arts events. It truly felt as if we were on a ‘date’ – yes, I know that the whole honeymoon can be seen as one ‘extended’ date, but this was a truly special day. As the ballet was a matinee show, Dearie and I took a late breakfast, shopped a bit then we took a leisurely stroll along the river from Georgetown all the way to the Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts. We saw many joggers along the way – jogging at 1 pm! They must have a really good work life harmony culture there. [Jasmine: I can’t remember.. Was it Saturday? :P] Of course, the weather was also really conducive and we took lots of photographs.
Jasmine: The Nutcracker is on my bucket list, so I’m so glad we caught it. Thanks hon for being willing to go along with this! There were actually two Nutcrackers in town, but we went with the American Ballet Theater, and it was a feast for the eyes. It was a heartwarming, imaginative rendition that had universal appeal to both adults and children. At the same time, I say ‘feast" because the staging and costumes were sumptuous- floaty tutu confections, charming stage props for the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Even the visual theme related to food, as the ballet opened in the Staulbahms’ kitchen, with a life-sized mouse poking amidst the Christmas goodies and meats for a bit of cheese. Only one word could sum it up: delicious.
Andrew: As it was the Nutcracker, there were lots of parents there who brought their kids to enjoy this ballet. [Jasmine: And the number of well-dressed kids that day… Paparazzi heaven!]
It was so heartwarming to see whole families coming to enjoy the arts together, which isn’t really a common sight in Singapore. The ballet was great fun indeed and we both enjoyed it, but what was memorable for me was the time spent with my Dearie, doing the things that we love.