Second time's the charm

PERSONAL JOURNEYS

June 06, 1999|By JACK WIDNER | JACK WIDNER,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A MEMORABLE PLACE

My wife, Kay, and I were married back in the Dark Ages of 1950. We had very little money and couldn't afford a honeymoon to some exotic location. Our limited funds dictated a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., a short skip down the road. The hotel, which will remain nameless, was not the worst in those days but a far cry from the best. Young and in love, we saw the accommodations through rose-colored glasses, and the hotel seemed like the Waldorf Astoria to us.

Even though we had both lived in the Baltimore area, the D.C. environs were not well known to us and we had little direction for seeing the sights. We did wander around and find a few small, inexpensive restaurants serving decent food. But had we not been newlyweds, it would have been a disaster. Over the ensuing years, we never really had the urge to go back, except on one occasion, when our two sons were young and wanted to go to the zoo.

A few years ago, on our 45th wedding anniversary, we decided to go back to D.C. to celebrate, only this time we were going first class. We made reservations on the Regency floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the Capitol. I mentioned to the desk clerk the reason for our return to Washington. That evening at dinner on the top floor of the hotel, we were seated at the best table, looking directly at the Capitol dome with the water fountains illuminated in the foreground -- a far cry from 45 years before.

The hotel con-cierge got wind of our visit and arranged for our dining out on the town in very fine restaurants where, much to our surprise , we were treated to complimentary des-serts and champagne. We toured Washington with relish -- the Smithsonian, the museums, Vietnam Memorial, the revamped railroad station and the Lincoln Memorial. We ate in Georgetown one evening at a small, out-of-the-way Italian restaurant where we were again surprised by gifts of wine and dessert. The people all over Washington were fantastic, including the cab drivers.

They say you can't go home again. I disagree. The second time can be a charm.

Kay and Jack Winder live in Westminster.

MY BEST SHOT

Poppies, a la Monet

My dog Lucy and I spent 15 days in France last May ... she's a French poodle, so naturellement, she was seeking her roots. On our walking tour of the Dordogne region, a striking landscape was revealed at practi-cally every turn. This field of poppies brought a Monet painting to mind. I think it gained an even more impressionistic look when captured on film.

JUDY CORCORAN, Baltimore

READERS RESPOND...

What is your favorite spot in New York City? And why?

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sara Clemence, Baltimore

"From the roof, you can see across the treetops of Central Park to the West Side, down Manhattan to midtown and feel the big sky over a quiet and grand city. Once, while gazing at a Rodin sculpture that makes its home up there, I saw a storm moving in from the west, a wall of rain and wind that picked up leaves and sped over the park, spinning beautifully over Manhattan."

East Village

Jerrett Hansen and Laura Ingersol, Baltimore

"Our favorite place is the East Village of Manhattan. In particular, a little tea shop at 108 Greenwich Ave. called Tea & Sympathy that is a bit of London and loaded with charm. Only about 10 tables and scones and cream that will transport you to the cream tea region of Devon, England."

Hope Garden

Betsy Swartz, Baltimore

"It is a lovely, peaceful, flower-filled area in Battery Park, with a plaque in memory of those who died of AIDS. There seems to be a sacred quality to the space, with any feelings of loss replaced by memories and hope."

Our Next Question

What is your favorite foreign country to visit? And why?

Please answer in 50 words or less. Send via fax to 410-783-2519, or write to: Travel Department, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

Pub Date: 06/06/99

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