At some point during this trip, I thought vaguely about taking my laptop out to blog about each day of our honeymoon. I’d done that every day in London, after all.
Then I laughed and thought, “Nah.”
I decided to live out each moment of our honeymoon instead of worrying about writing each day. Besides, as you’ll read here soon, we were super busy the whole week! Not quite as busy as we were the week or two leading up to the wedding, but running around making memories nonetheless.
Before I forget, stay tuned for a series of vignettes that I am dubbing the Ferritale Wedding Stories. I’ll be using our official wedding photos to highlight moments and details from both the day of the wedding and the planning process – special moments that I always want to remember.
In the meantime, please enjoy a very long recap and lots of pictures from the Ferritale honeymoon! First up is part one: Washington D.C.! [Read about Philadelphia and and New York City next!]
Monday: November 6, 2017
I don’t like to sugarcoat things. The trip started off badly. The excitement, nerves, anticipation, stress, and exhaustion from the wedding and all the days leading up to it were still in retreat – in my head, anyway – and so my first several hours were spent in anxiety. I felt awful: sick to my stomach over having to fly, guilty over feeling sick, tired, and – of course – just excited to finally be married, all of which is a mess to feel at once.
My new husband could not have been more amazing. As we walked through the airport to our gate, me fighting through an anxiety attack, he took my hand and asked me questions. I’d told him long ago that when my anxiety peaks, one of the things that gets me through it is to ground myself by seeking out all five senses. “What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? Taste? Smell?” Pause. “What are you most excited about seeing in D.C.?”
Seriously though. I married the right guy.
Once we were finally on the plane and in the air, I felt better. I always get scared to fly and then once the plane takes off, I realize that everything is going to be fine. Naturally, we had to take a selfie with Paddington Bear, who accompanies me on all my trips.
By the time we landed in Chicago, I was feeling better and actually looking forward to the week. I also like airports – for some weird reason – and it was fun wandering around hand in hand. We got some food then walked to our gate while we waited for our next flight. And as we ate, we talked about our wedding, laughing together and reliving every single moment and just giggling over how we were actually finally married. We ended up doing this a lot over the next week!
When it was time to get on the plane and we entered the jetway, the icy Chicago air hit us and we realized our jackets were in the carry-ons we’d checked at the gate in Arizona. Oops. We were freezing, and I was actually glad to get on the plane!
We landed in D.C. two hours later. As we waited for our bags in Reagan National Airport, I guess we were a little too heavy on the PDA because at one point, a lady came up to us and – beaming – said, “I just have to say, you guys are the sweetest couple I have ever seen.”
“We’re on our honeymoon,” we said, and she beamed and congratulated us. So kind and unexpected! Honestly, we were in a daze and weren’t aware of anybody around us.
We got our bags, got on the D.C. Metro, and one rickety ride and two blocks of walking later we found our Airbnb. It was an entire, remastered first floor (which on the East coast are often partly underground, as was the case with ours) complete with a private entrance and patio, a kitchen, living room, bedroom, closets, a washer and dyer, bathroom… everything! I wish I had thought to take pictures, because our host was an amazing decorator.
Ever on the quest for food, we grabbed some groceries from Safeway down the street so we’d have food for breakfast the next few mornings, then my husband introduced me to the beauty of Uber Eats. It was cold and we were exhausted, so pigging out at the table on hot food was literally the best thing of the entire day. Well, that and sleep that came later!
Tuesday: November 7, 2017
The next day, the 7th, we bundled up and braved some seriously cold wind and rain to go see the National Mall. After navigating the entire city of London by myself for eight days, the map of D.C. was almost too easy to follow. One glance and we knew exactly where to go. And so, wearing all our sweaters and coats, we set out on our short 1.3 mile journey from our Airbnb to the Mall, stopping into CVS first to get an umbrella, then rejoining the D.C. pedestrian traffic on the streets of one of the busiest cities in the U.S.
And let me just pause here briefly to tell you that East coast traffic is seriously insane (more on that later). At one point as we were crossing a street, some guy in a Jeep nearly hit us and slammed on his breaks literally two feet from me. Instead of being apologetic, he started yelling, which only triggered my temper and I shouted out some beautifully placed swear words before he drove away. Ah, well. Karma’s a bitch.
It was drizzling as we walked . Alex insisted on holding the umbrella so I could keep my fingers warm in my sweatshirt. Chivalry exists, people.
Eventually, we made it to the Mall, which is one of my favorite places in the world.
I’d only seen it in the summertime before, so experiencing it in the cloudy, cold was certainly different, but beautiful nonetheless. Seeing it all with my husband was even better, even if we were huddling together to keep warm.
My favorite spot in D.C. is standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, with the reflecting pool and Washington Monument laid out in front of us.
And naturally we had seek refuge in the Lincoln Memorial as well, partly because it was cold, and mostly because it’s perhaps the most incredible monument in the area.
Naturally, Paddington Bear had his moments.
Next we visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is always otherworldly but even more so on that day.
It was raining, gray skies overhead. Because of the weather, it was eerily quiet. The only sound as we stood there in the memorial was the sound of volunteers reading name after name after name of each soldier who had fallen during the Vietnam War. Without knowing it, we’d visited the memorial during the 35th annual reading of the names.
I’ll never forget that experience. We were silent in the memorial out of respect, but when we were far enough away we talked about the significance of seeing your reflection in the names of those who were killed in the war. If you’ve never been to that particular memorial, I can’t stress enough how meaningful it is if you make the journey in your lifetime.
Our next stop was a visit to a unique-to-D.C., once-in-a-lifetime authentic experience – a Starbucks. We got some hot drinks and as we shivered in the shop, Alex said point-blank he was not walking a mile back in the rain, to which I heartily agreed. So, we Uber-ed it back to the Airbib where we got into our warm pajamas, made dinner out of leftovers and another Uber-eats delivery, snuggled up on the couch, and watched Mad Max on T.V. It was so cozy, eating hot food in the warm Airbnb while the rain came down outside!
Wednesday: November 8, 2017
On Wednesday the 8th, we had plans to go to the Smithsonian – well, turns out there are a bunch of them! We decided to go to the Museum of Natural History, and I am so glad we did. It’s truly an amazing experience.
We bundled up again and headed out to discover it wasn’t nearly as cold as the day before and there was no rain. Win! And better yet, on the way to the museum, we came across something I’d been dying to see – Ford’s Theatre!
For those of you who don’t know its significance, it was at this theatre John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln in 1865. I’m always amazed when I see these sort of staples of history with my own eyes and stand on the same ground upon which those in the history books stood with my own two feet. Alex and I gazed at the theatre for a few moments and talked about what it must have been like, to be standing right where we were one dark night over 150 years ago, and to hear the gunshot that eventually took the life of the president.
Eventually, we moved on and made it to the Museum of Natural History.
Paddington Bear naturally tagged along.
The museum is so cool. There’s the human origins exhibit, the Ocean Hall, rooms and rooms dedicated to mammals, an exhibit on dinosaurs, and the Hope Diamond among other things.
I didn’t take too many picture – I was too interested in what I was seeing! I did take a few of the narwhal exhibit:
and the dinosaur display:
and I loved the famous elephant on the first floor (plus its exhibit on the second)!
And before we left, we saw something totally cool (to us, anyway) – a piece of the meteorite that fell to Arizona which carried my favorite stone – moissanite!
Some background: when we were looking at engagement rings, I knew I wanted a clear stone but wasn’t crazy about a diamond since – unless they are ethically sourced – you never know if you’ve purchased a blood diamond. Alex found a stone called moissanite which I fell head over heels in love with. It was discovered in 1863 in a crater in Arizona (of all places!) which was caused by a meteorite that landed something like 50,000 years ago. Because moissanite came from the meteorite, the stone is literal stardust. And it’s stunningly beautiful. I should have held up my engagement ring to this rock – its original source – for a picture!
Our plan was to go to National Archives next but upon getting to the building, we saw a line that went literally around the block, full of what looked like an entire middle school on a field trip. It was easily an hour wait into the building, maybe two. So, we cut our losses and decided to pass and headed back down to the Mall instead.
We walked to the Mall on the same path I’d walked over four years ago, on my study abroad trip to D.C.
I’d been to Washington D.C. twice prior to this trip. And walking hand in hand with my husband, thinking back to both of those times, I just felt amazed at how fast and crazy life can be. The first visit in 2008, I was a high school student. The second in 2013, I was in college. And this time, in 2017, I came back as a married woman. Who would have guessed??
We walked just south of the Mall to explore the Martin Luther King Memorial then, shivering, decided to opt out of the long walk around to the Jefferson Memorial. We waved to it, and I told Alex about the time I’d been in it at nighttime. Someday, we’ll go back to D.C. in warmer months, because going to the memorials at nighttime is an experience that is truly out of this world.
We did hit up one of the most underrated but definitely one of my favorite memorials in D.C.: the District of Columbia War Memorial.
To end the night, we’d made reservations at Founding Farmers, which our friend Google highly recommended. Plus, we figured we’d be grown ups and actually go to a restaurant at some point during our honeymoon and not just do Uber Eats each night!
As night fell around us (it gets dark early on the East coast in the fall!), we walked to the restaurant and ended up getting there something like 30 minutes early just to warm up. We both got chicken pot pies, because we’re 12, and also because seriously they’re amazing.
After dinner, we tried to catch an Uber home, but some event was taking place downtown and we got stuck in traffic for 15 minutes before we called it and got out to walk the rest of the mile home. We were so glad to be back in the warmth!
It was at this point during our trip we started to seriously laugh at ourselves for choosing a honeymoon that involved a lot of walking and cold weather. But what can I say – we like to keep things interesting. And besides, cold weather means more excuses to hold hands and snuggle as we’re walking around! 😉
Next up – Part Two: Philadelphia and Independence Hall!