It is no secret that you can enjoy a pre-theater menu without actually having tickets to any post-meal performance, but in our case, the night didn't end at the Westend Bistro. This year, with about 20 inches less snow on the ground, we were successful in our attempt to see the National Symphony Orchestra's performance of Handel's Messiah at the Kennedy Center.
There are many things we love about Washington, D.C. and this night illustrated two of the big ones. I'm sure there are many people out there who take for granted D.C.'s centralized downtown area. This isn't a novel concept for most of the cities of the world. I assure you however, it doesn't get lost on people from Los Angeles. Because of many reasons that I won't get into, LA is a giant conglomerate of many city centers, none of which are particularly tied together.
Having easy access to innumerable cultural opportunities in downtown is something no one should take for granted. The fact that world class music, dance, and theater is just down the street at the Kennedy Center - and at a hundred other venues around town - is really an embarrassment of riches.
I'm not going to pretend to know a whole lot more than the next guy about classical music. But I do know that I appreciate the occasional night on the town that expands my horizons and allows me to soak in a little culture (not withstanding the kid in the front row with a giant hamburger hat). And when it is combined with holiday festivities, all that much better.
D.C. does the holidays right. Of course I'm talking about Christmas, but the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day aren't exactly pushovers either. As nice as it may sound now, there is something missing when new fallen snow is replaced by sand and palm trees on Christmas morning. The cold in the air, the lights in the trees, and the decorations in store windows all transform this city into the Christmas that I always sang carols about but knew nothing of.
As we head home for the holidays, best wishes from our family to yours. Enjoy this wonderful city and we'll see you in the New Year.
Like B mentioned, growing up without snow made the majority of the holiday songs seem irrelevant. Who can get excited about snowmen and fireplaces when it is 70 degrees outside? That's why we've tried to embrace winter in Washington. Yes, I still complain when my face freezes, and I use the seat warmer in the car so much I'm surprised I haven't melted my pants. But, embracing the highs and the lows of winter makes Christmas feel that much more special.
Places like the Kennedy Center glow with holiday excitement. From the kids in their holiday finest (or, hamburger hats) to the grandparents helping their annual traditions live on, I love the magical feeling in the air. As the crowd rose to sing the Hallelujah Chorus, I felt very thankful to live in such a festive town. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!