Friday, March 15, 2013

Fabulous Eats and Tours in Dupont Circle, DC

 It's hard to believe that the bustling streets of Dupont Circle today, lined with many restaurants, coffeehouses, bars, clubs and shops was once home to a very underdeveloped area that included a brickyard and a slaughterhouse!

After the American Civil War, improvements were made by the 1870's by a board of public workers lead by Alexander Shepard, who transformed the area into a new, fashionable neighborhood.  In 1871, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the "Pacific Circle", eleven years later, Congress renamed the traffic circle "Dupont Circle", after Samuel Francis Du Pont, recognizing his service as rear admiral during the Civil War.  In 1884 a sculpture of Samuel Francis Du Pont was erected and sat in the center of the circle as a memorial.  By 1921, the sculpture was sent to Delaware and the double tiered white marble statue that can be visited today was built.   Daniel Chester French and Henry Bacon, co-creators of the Lincoln Memorial designed the fountain with classical figures representing sea, stars and wind.  During a visit on a sunny morning, one could join many yoga groups on the lawn or stretch before a run along Embassy Row.  Sunday mornings in particular, year round invite residents to shop local fruits, vegetables and flowers at the Farmers Market.

Throughout the late 1870's into the 1920's, more and more town homes were built, mansions were constructed along Massachusetts Ave. and the first office buildings were going up!  By 1948 traffic signals were installed to control the growing pedestrian and automobile traffic and by 1949, the tunnels were installed to create more traffic flow past the circle and house underground streetcar stations.

After World War II the neighborhood began to fall into a decline, but local pioneers began to re-establish the area in the 1970's and the area took on a more bohemian feel.  Heading into the 1980's, the area also began to see an influx in the development of the American gay identity, much like West Hollywood in California or Greenwich Village in New York.

Now that you've had your mini-history lesson, LET's GO!!! :)

Lunch at The Tabard Inn is tops on my list!  But other great spots are La Tomate for Italian, Thaiphoon for Thai, Luna Grill and Diner for lunch or brunch, or for something ultra interesting, try The Russia House.
The Tabard Inn is a historic Hotel, which offers fine, American dining and a great atmosphere rich in history and warmth.  There is something for everyone on the menu, most recently I have had the roasted bbq duck sliders, and WOW!!!!  The pastas here are just as fantastic and they have a great wine list!  If you don't want to stop for a meal and you just want a drink and a snack, take your glass of red or white into the parlor where a roaring fire in the brick fireplace will great you.  Lounge on the upholstered sofas and relax in the dim lighting and enjoy every sip and conversation.  In the spring they open up the beautiful, garden patio where you can dine in the sun, under the shade of a wide umbrella and listen to the birds sing:)

 Next, there are a few different spots of interest to see. The Anderson House, Society of the Cincinnati, The
Woodrow Wilson House, the Textile Museum and The Phillips Collection.

The Anderson House, Society of the Cincinnati is the historic winter residence to Larz and Isabel Anderson.  Larz, an American diplomat and Isabel, an author and benefactress, both well known in high society.  Completed in the Spring of 1905, Anderson House graced Massachusetts Ave. as one of its finest mansions.  For over thirty years the Anderson's lived and entertained the most distinguished of guests from all over the world.  Today, you can tour the home with a guide or solo and enjoy the decadence of grand D.C. From the gold gilding all over the walls to the beautiful crystal chandeliers, every corner of this place is a touch of elegance!

The Woodrow Wilson House and The Textile Museum are just next to each other, so these two are great seen one after another:) 
The Woodrow Wilson House will take you back to Woodrow Wilson's life after his presidency in 1921. He and his wife Edith lived here, until his passing in 1924 and then hers in 1961, after which she bequeathed the house and its furnishings to The National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Not nearly as dramatic as The Anderson House, but I loved this house!!!  Complete with a small orangery, large parlor  and a beautiful backyard filled with gardens, this house is definitely worth a visit.

The Textile Museum offers a rare look into the intricate, handmade, historic works of textiles from all over the world.  I have seen the most beautiful rugs, linens and royal clothing here.  From Ottoman Empire silks to 
Persian Rugs, to Japanese kimono, this place will tantalize your eyes, but please: Don't Touch;)
The Phillips Collection, open since 1921, takes you on a tour of America's first museum of Modern art all within the very intimate space of walls of the former home of collector Duncan Phillips. Paintings by Renoir, Van Gogh, Rothko, O'Keeffe and Bonnard are just some of the amazing artists who have work on view here.  

Enjoy a day filled with good food, great friends and beauty in its many shapes and forms!  


  1. Wow hope get to visit some of these great places soon.Thanks, Carly (:

  2. Amazing photography i really attracted by these pictures. washington dc sightseeing


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