July 5th, 2022
Today was what I like to refer to as ‘moving day.’ We had our alarms set for 6 am to get the Amtrack train from Penn Station all the way to Washington D.C. We had decided the train was the best option to get to DC as the other options all ended u more expensive and slower. The train was 3.5hours and while a flight was obviously faster, by the time you got to and from the airport each end, and navigated security, the Train works out a lot faster.
The Bus was the cheapest option but over 7 hours on a bus was a no-go. We also considered a Car rental as we needed one once we left DC, but having a car would be useless in the City and parking is expensive, and hire prices were extortionate in New York. So the train it was, even though it would set us back $253 each! It was still cheaper than all but the bus and was City Center to City Center.
We loaded up on takeout breakfast on our departure from the Holiday Inn with other drinks and snacks for the 4-hour journey. Our train was departing from the newly refurbished Moynihan Train Hall which was well spaced, clean, and organized with attendants arranging lines for each track departure. We got to the station approx 40 mins before the departure time as our booking info said to arrive 30 mins prior to leaving. We were one of the first in the queue and quickly got seats once on the train.
Once settled we both had a little power nap, seeing as we were out so late the night before and up so early! We had our take-out breakfast and watched a new episode of Stranger Things downloaded onto the tablet before we left. Thanks to the extended length of the new season’s episodes, before we knew it we had arrived in DC.
Overall the ride was really nice and relaxing, it was nice to just sit down and do nothing. Many people exult rain travel as a great way to see the world properly without soaring overhead on a plane. On the whole, we disagree, you really don’t get to see much as the train whistles along its set path. The fields sail by and you get glimpses of the cities as you pass through but on the whole, it’s not more enlightening to the place you are passing through than flying. But the calm relaxing journey is a really great way to kick back for a few hours.
We walked through the train station and out to the Uber pick-up area where we got an Uber to our hotel, the Club Quarters Hotel White House. As it was still not even Noon yet, we were well prepared to drop our bags and go exploring until check-in time, however, the hotel allowed us to check in early for no extra fee.
Steve had now shared with me at this point that he wasn’t feeling too good. After the busy few days we had, wasn’t really surprising so we chilled in the hotel room, unpacked, did some washing in the bathroom (the more unglamorous side of constant traveling!), and decided to head out for a coffee around half 1. But the weather had different ideas! The humidity had broke and a massive rain storm had built. We waited outside the hotel for a few minutes to see if it passed but eventually admitted defeat and returned to the hotel room until it stopped.
Once the rain had stopped we ventured out again, an hour later, and were hit with a blanket of humidity as soon as we left the Comfort of the air-conned hotel! We had nowhere to be until the Happy Hour at the CheeseCake factory at 4 pm so we took our time walking around D.C. Our hotel was just a couple of blocks from the White House so that was our first stop. The rain was clearly keeping people inside as there were very few people outside that famous fence and we were able to get photos relatively easily.
We continued to walk around the other side of the white house, passing the Treasury and other historical buildings as we went. Our main sightseeing day was planned for tomorrow so we sat on the lawn behind the Whitehouse and admired the view of the Washington Monument from afar.
There is a Cheesecake Factory located a couple of blocks from the White House with Happy Hour 4-6 pm. The Cheesecake Factory is one of our must-visits when we come to the U.S but we are rarely free for Happy Hour given our hectic schedules. Having not had a sit-down meal all holiday apart from the steakhouse in NYC, we were looking forward to ordering some appetizers, having a drink, and generally a relaxing meal.
Unfortunately, the branch of the Cheesecake factory was experiencing some major staffing and supplier challenges this day. Our waitress was new and was not aware of which drinks were in the Happy Hour. there were also a lot of choices on the menu that were out of stock which impacted our order slightly. We waited 40 minutes for our first drinks to arrive and in that time, our food order had to be amended once again as they were out of stock of what we ordered. We were in no hurry and we know that the hospitality industry is facing challenges in many countries so we took our time, ordered some more drinks and our appetizers were yummy.
We know from previous experience how big the food portions are at the Cheesecake factory so we only ordered 2 appetizers to share so we had room for Cheesecake. Again, we only ordered one as we were both quite full at this point. After quite a wait for our cheesecake, our waitress brought our bill over while we were eating and we were dismayed to find that we had been overcharged for Steve’s beers! It was unfortunately another frustrating incident during our meal. The waitress was profusely apologetic and explained the bar staff were new too and was not aware of items in the happy Hour either when we ordered. She got the manager to help her amend it immediately. I had great sympathy at this point for the waitress as the issues with her meal were out of her control and down to a lack of communication from other staff in the restaurant.
As previously mentioned, we were not in a hurry that evening or had any other plans to get to but we left the restaurant just after 6 pm, a 2-hour meal for a few drinks, 2 appetizers, and 1 dessert did seem excessive. We are big fans of the Cheesecake Factory and as previously mentioned, understand the challenges the industry is facing right now so we chalked it up to be nothing more than a slightly frustrating incident but we still enjoyed our food and drinks as we always do when we visit. This was our first visit to a chain-run restaurant and prepared ourselves for possible similar issues if we decided to eat in other restaurants like it on our trip.
Despite it being only early evening, the activities of the past few days were taking a toll on us both so we decided to walk back to the hotel, stopping at a wine and liquor store to purchase a few beers and seltzers for the room. We had a much-needed early night, ready for sightseeing the next day.
Walking Total – 8457 Steps – 4.3 Miles
Considering we spent most of the day on a train or sitting in the Cheesecake factory our steps were unsurprisingly low. This was a much-needed easy day and we were ready to step it up tomorrow.