A Winter Weekend in Washington, DC: Part 1 ~ Dinner at the Mayflower

Even if you’re coming from a place where the temperature is only eight degrees, nineteen degrees isn’t much better, nor much different when it’s only seven in the morning. Such was the case when I arrived in Washington, DC to surprise my pal Chris this weekend. A flight that departs at 5:20 AM is early for a lot of people, but I’ll always choose an earlier flight to avoid possible delays. Once things start getting backed up, it’s difficult to right it again. This time it was smooth flying, and I got in a few minutes ahead of schedule. The featured pic is from the Metro stop at the airport, as the sun began to rise.

This red bear sculpture was right across from my hotel, the Fairfax Embassy Row – which I’ll not review here since they tried to be so nice (but check out my upcoming TripAdvisor entry for the reason why I had to switch rooms at 1 AM – yes, AM.)

Fortunately all that fun was yet to come. On Friday, Darcey and I set the plan into motion. I scoped out the Mayflower Hotel early in the day for possible places to hang out and hide. Darcey had made reservations at the newly redone Edgar, and the plan was to have them sit down, then have Darcey come out and get me, at which point I would walk up to the table and sit down. (My friend JoAnn and I did this trick when we surprised Kim in Las Vegas – which means  it has probably run its course as far as surprise set-ups go – but there was enough left in it to work this time.)

I recycled a holiday outfit for the evening, then set out for the Mayflower.

The site of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s transactions with a high-cost call-girl, the hotel is slightly tainted, but still gorgeously opulent. Marble floors and gilded accents lend it a regal flair, while rows of beveled mirrors line the main hallway.

I got into my second floor position, one flight above the restaurant, and neatly hidden from view. I waited on the couch there for their arrival. There is no greater anticipation than the one that comes before meeting an old cherished friend. Especially when it’s a surprise.

Darcey arrived first, and we chatted for a few minutes before Chris got there (not surprisingly late). She went back down when he finally arrived, texted me that it was time, and I walked in to surprise him. We pulled it off flawlessly (I guess texting has its benefits), and enjoyed a leisurely dinner filled with wine, one amazing crab soup, and the best company and conversation I’ve been lucky to have in a while.

They make a good couple, and one of the greatest joys for a friend is seeing another friend find love and happiness in a partner.

After dinner, Chris and I stopped at the Jefferson for a nightcap at Quill. A couple of cognac side-cars later, we closed the place down. I was back in Washington, the site of so many memories going back as far as I can remember. Those ghosts were content now, or so I hoped, and, fortified by the company of one of my oldest friends (and the guy who performed our wedding ceremony) I felt safe. The surprise weekend in Washington was under-way.

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