Friday, July 25, 2008

National Harbor

Tim and I went on an adventure today to National Harbor next to the Wilson Bridge in Prince Georges County, MD. We took the Beltway to the Baltimore/Washington Parkway, then drove down the Parkway to I-295, which ends just before the National Harbor. The trip takes about 40 minutes from Wheaton.

The National Harbor is a brand new development across the Potomac river slightly south and east of Alexandria and north of Mount Vernon. It's a full-blown convention center, marina, and tourist trap all rolled into one. When the dust settles on all of the construction, the National Harbor may be an actual tourist destination.

Tim and I checked out the piers and the marina. State flags whip in the breeze along the promenade. There were no huge crowds today, but I think that will be different a year from now. It has a lot of upscale shops and some upscale hotels including a Westin and a Marriott, as well as a Hampton Inn. We walked into the Gaylord Convention Center. I like the look of the building. It's meant to impress and overwhelm. The center has a huge atrium, a glassed-in wonder. It also has a couple of restaurants as well as its own hotel.

Convention crowds crowded us out of the convention center restaurants, so we headed over to the Westin. The Westin has a nice California design to it, modern, lots of wood accents, and eclectic. We ate at the hotel's restaurant, Sauciety. The service was spotty, the food was good but not special; however, the appetizer dips served with breadsticks were delicious. The menu is limited, and the restaurant was out of several menu items. In spite of that, the view is fabulous and I always enjoy Tim's company at lunch. I think I'll check back in a year or so to see if all the kinks are worked out.

So that's Happy's Great Adventure. I'll be back. I love the water, and the view of the river is nice. Maybe I'll find a weekend package at one of the hotels, and explore Washington's newest.