Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Local Travels: Kingsman Island + Ikea + Local Eats

During the week I am a stereotypical Washingtonian. I stuff myself on over-crowed Metro trains, put in long hours and slowly go crazy to the click clacking sound of people typing on blackberries. It is so easy to lay in a exhausted heap on the weekend and spend an entire day folding laundry while watching four seasons worth of (fill in the blank) television show, by the time Monday rolls around I wonder what has my life come to.  So I made a pact with a friend that we would get out our respective houses/apartments and just do something, anything, EVERY weekend during the summer. I mean, we do live in city where people all over the globe come to vacation, we should be taking advantage of it.

The Kingsman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival.—
I read about this festival in the Washington Post and thought, hey I like bluegrass and folk music. And it was free, cherry on top. I dragged along a friend with impeccable sense of direction since I have never been to Kingsman Island, and though I hate stereotyping certain parts of town, I didn’t want to be wandering around Anacostia by myself. The festival had a lot of potential.  The walk to the island, across a wooden bridge under a canopy of trees, with the distance sound of banjos, was so charming. But the actual festival location was completely not what I expected. There was one small stage set up in a clearing. No grass to lay on blankets down on, no trees for shade from the beating sun. And it was hot. We tried, oh how we tried. Except for an unfortunate Johnny Cash cover, the music was pretty good. We lasted about an hour, but when the sweat starts streaming down your back and you have already downed both bottles of water your brought, it is time to go. It made me a little sad, I really want to have a good time, listening to local blue grass music, mingling with the hipsters that turned out in force with their Bob Dylan sunglasses and carefully disheveled hair. But it wasn’t to be. Looks like I need to build up my summer music festival stamina, its been awhile.

Not wanting to waste a Saturday, and seeking out air-conditioning we headed to Ikea, which conveniently was located on our way back home. Every time I go the Swedish warehouse store with someone, I always ask, “Have you seen 500 Days of Summer?” Sadly, the answer is usually no, which makes me want to buy a pile of DVDs and starting handing them out and make required viewing. There is a scene where the two main characters go to Ikea and pretend that they live in the little room vignettes.  This is actually something that I would do. Well, almost:

But even without a Tom to play along, we had quite an enjoyable time walking through the maze of the store discussing if we would ever be grown up enough to have houses with matching furniture and sharing war stories about trying to put together Ikea furniture. After stopping at the cafeteria for a piece of Princess cake, which was absolute necessary, I picked up a couple odds and ends, including some dishes. I am slowly becoming one of those people who takes pictures of food they eat/make. I never thought that I would, but here I am. And of course, if you are going to take pictures you need pretty dishes.
Princess Cake in all its neon green glory
Bilbo Baggins
I met up with friends in lovely Old Town Alexandria for dinner at Bilbo Baggins. Yes, it is named after a hobbit, which might make you think that it would be a little on the campy side, but think again. The food and atmosphere is pretty classy. While taking our orders our waiter pointed out that the building was built in the 1790s and was originally a brothel.  That I didn’t know, and so close to George Washington’s house . . . scandalous.  They are known for their deserts and rightfully so.  I had the coconut crème bule (served in a coconut!), I kept sneaking bites of the White Chocolate Bread Pudding from my friend’s plate. Pure divinity.

Here's to reclaiming my weekends!

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