30 Sept 2014
Reading the map, we couldn’t yet judge the scale of the city. Washington looked enormous from the air and now with map in hand I wasn’t sure how long it would take to walk anywhere. Bracing ourselves for a long walk we headed for the closest museum that was on our hit-list: the Phillips Collection.
In a surprisingly short time, we found the gallery tucked away in a quiet leafy street in the vibrant Dupont Circle neighbourhood. The Phillips Collection is a private modern and contemporary art collection accommodated in a beautiful red brick Georgian Revival house, where Duncan and Marjorie Phillips lived until 1930, and sprawls across into a 60’s Modernist extension. You can see why we were keen to come here: Avant-garde art plus modernist architecture.
The benefit of the intimate setting meant I often found myself alone with a painting (ignoring the silent security guards) and able to be absorbed into the emotion or an interesting detail of a piece without feeling hurried along. We loved it. The collection includes some brilliant pieces, I particularly liked the abstraction techniques of American artist Augustus Vincent Tack. And the painting of a glamorous showgirl wearing a fabulous feather headdress, diamond necklace, and a mundane expression.
And the cafe surprised us with the best coffee we’ve come across, since leaving Sydney! Would it be too weird to hug the barister?
Later, we explored the leafy streets of Georgetown, admiring the 18th and 19th century houses complete with turrets, gaslights, and coloured window shutters, standing quietly in the dappled light. It reminded us of Hampstead in London, England.
We stumbled across Stachowski’s an artisan butcher and delicatessen. While we were browsing the interesting cold cuts, a retired English couple stepped up to the counter and asked for a vegetarian sandwich.
“You’re asking a butcher for a vegetarian sandwich? And the joke is…?” Scoffed the butcher in a voice loud enough to fill the store.
“I’d like a cheese sandwich, please” she politely insisted ignoring his loud quip. At that moment their two cultures couldn’t appear more different.
David selected two different cuts and we nibbled on our gourmet meats as we continued to stroll along the gentrified streets discussing how we would go about living here.
“Image this street at Christmas, with Snow crunching underfoot, trees twinkling in windows and log fires scenting the air..” Yes. We like Georgetown.