the potomac

Just outside of Washington, D.C., in Virginia, Great Falls Park is the perfect place to get some exercise. There’s hiking, biking, fishing, climbing and boating opportunities. But, however fast you’re moving, the stunning view of the Potomac River crashing over the falls will stop you in your tracks. Photo courtesy of Jose Torres.

During his move to Washington, DC, Stiles made a number of realizations about life, the most prominent of which was that it was amazing what kind of hobbies a guy could pick up when his days weren’t packed full of running for his life from various supernatural horrors. Like trivia nights, for example. Stiles had a regular team and the entire bar groaned when they walked in because they knew they were about to get creamed.

Or the tabletop gaming club he joined, where everyone was just as competitive as he was, and punches had been thrown on more than one occasion.

Or like, Stiles jogged now.

Through the National Mall.

Like Captain America or some shit.

And with these hobbies came a sort of routine, and though most were on hold during the summer when his trivia team and gaming rivals were back home, the running stuck. It was calming and got his mind off things, gave him a chance to think about any papers he had to write, or de-stress about his FBI internship when it got a little hectic.

It was a good routine.

So every Saturday morning, Stiles got up a little earlier so he could get in his longer route, and left his dorm for his jog through the National Mall. On Saturdays, he took the path that went through the war memorials, down into West Potomac Park, and over to the Jefferson Memorial. It was his favorite place to take a breather because that early in the morning, there were rarely any tourists, and other joggers left him alone. It was nice and private, with a great view of the city across the water.

Stiles leaned back against the front steps and glanced around him casually, making sure there was no one too close before pulling out his little burner flip phone.

He had an old school drug dealer flip phone. His dad would be so proud.

There was only one number the phone ever called, so there was no need to save it under a name.

He waited for a few minutes, biding his time until the clock hit 7:15am, and then he called that number.

On the third ring, Derek picked up.

“Morning, sunshine!” Stiles greeted, already wide awake from his jog. Derek grunted back. He must’ve had a late night at the bar. “Any leads?”

Derek yawned loudly. “Still no werewolves with triskele tattoos, still wanted for murder.”

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Top American History Moments - and I Just Started Another Biography

- Ben Franklin falling asleep on the congress floor

- Alexander Hamilton getting stoned by a mob while defending the Jay Treaty

- John Quincy Adams being the first president to give a female reporter an interview, but only because she caught him skinny dipping in the Potomac and sat on his clothes until he listened to her

- people calling John Adams “his rotundy”

- the Salem Witch Trails probably being because everyone was tripping balls because there was LSD in the water supply

- Alexander Hamilton having a horse named Riddle

- Thomas Jefferson going to Italy and stuffing rice seeds in his pockets to take back to America

- Thomas Jefferson having a waffle iron shipped back from France

- Alexander Hamilton basically saying that Jefferson was gay for France

- John Adams accidentally sending pages from his dairy to the Continental Congress, where they all laughed at him

- Thomas Jefferson calling Hamilton a hypochondriac when he caught yellow fever

- Washington surrendering Fort Necessity on July 4th, 1754

- The continental army having to be ordered to stop shooting at geese because they were wasting gun powder

- Merriweather Lewis accidentally being shot in the ass

- Aaron Burr’s speech to the Senate when he left allegedly bringing everyone to tears

- Hamilton saying that there was no need to open the Constitutional Convention with a prayer, because that would be asking for “foreign aid”

- Hamilton also saying that he was “as little fitted” to be a farmer “as Jefferson to guide the helm of the United States”

- Lafayette naming his daughter Virginie, and Ben Franklin then saying that he had twelve more states to go

- Aaron Burr consistently referring to himself in the third-person in letters

Washington D.C. in 48 hours

From rooftop views of the White House to the best Indian food in the city, Garrett M. Graff, former editor of Washingtonian magazine, reveals how to spend 48 hours in the capital.


Day One

08:00 – Like a local

It’s hard to miss the power and grandeur of Washington, the centre of the city remains a political powerhouse and it permeates nearly every corner, but there’s also much more to the city than simply politics.

After landing at Washington Dulles International Airport and you’ve settled in, start your morning like the locals with coffee and breakfast at the Tryst Coffeehouse in funky Adams Morgan, before heading up to the National Zoo (Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, to give it its full name). It’s seen a dramatic renovation in recent years that has turned its 163 acres into a shining gem filled with great exhibits from elephants and pandas to American buffalo. Entry is free and it’s open 364 days a year.


Noon – Power lunch

Recharge with a casual pub-style lunch at Duke’s Grocery on 17th Street NW (have the Proper Burger) or indulge in the city’s best Indian food at the fine dining Rasika in Penn Quarter, where you might very well find yourself dining next to a Cabinet member. Don’t miss the palaak chaat – crispy flash-fried spinach – that’s one of the city’s most-requested dishes.


14:00 – Read all about it

Spend the afternoon at the Newseum, the towering interactive museum of news, where you can revisit the world’s most notable events, and lose yourself for hours watching old footage and breaking news coverage. The Washington D.C. Explorer pass offers a package admission to the Newseum and other top D.C. sights like the International Spy Museum.


17:00 – No reservations

Getting into many of Washington’s hottest restaurants has grown harder in recent years, with some of the most popular adopting no reservations policies that can lead to long lines. At Bad Saint, a 24-seat Filipino restaurant – named as the second best new restaurant in the USA by Bon Appetit magazine in 2016 – lines can begin as early as 17:30.

Not up for waiting? Plan ahead with a reservation at Tail Up Goat, a Michelin-starred restaurant featuring creative Mediterranean and Caribbean food by chef Jon Sybert – expand your drinking horizons at the bar by following the lead of sommelier Bill Jensen.


Day Two

08:00 – Morning rush

Breakfast at the Old Ebbitt Grill, one of the city’s oldest restaurants, usually packed with lobbyists and power players first thing in the morning before the tourist crowd sets in during the day. 


09:00 – Famous figures

Across the Potomac River, Arlington National Cemetery is best known for its stark and formal Changing of the Guard ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, honouring America’s war dead, but the 600-acre cemetery is home also to the graves of many famous figures like John F. Kennedy – marked with an eternal flame ­­– boxer Joe Lewis, and Pierre L’Enfant, the architect who designed Washington. Save your feet and jump on the Hop-On, Hop-Off trolley.


Noon – Fit for a First Lady 

Lunch on the Georgetown waterfront at Fiola Mare, the glimmering Italian seafood restaurant of chef Fabio Trabocchi – a favourite of Michelle Obama.


13:30 – Remember them

Spend the afternoon wandering ‘America’s Front Lawn’ on the National Mall, starting at the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Wall, then up to the sunken World War II memorial, where you can see the emotional visits of buses filled with veterans, and gaze up at the Washington Monument. [NB the monument is closed until spring 2019 but can still be looked at].


14:30 – A history lesson

Nearby, take in Washington’s hottest new attraction, the giant National Museum of African-American History and Culture, honouring the artistic contributions of African-Americans while also wrestling with the nation’s still-unfolding racial legacy of slavery and civil rights. Plan ahead – or wake up early – to score timed-entry tickets, but it’s well worth the effort.


17:00 – Treats and eats

Spend the evening wandering the environs of 14th Street NW, which has been the centre of Washington’s revitalization over the last decade. Window-shop at the boutique Salt and Sundry, Detroit-made watches and leather goods at the city’s flagship Shinola store, or vintage and antiques at Miss Pixie’s, a long-time 14th Street fixture. 

Once you’re hungry, the area has something for every palate: for the city’s swankiest French bistro, try Le Diplomate, where the breadbasket alone is worth the visit. 

Prefer Latin American? Try Tico for its hibiscus margaritas, tacos, and a delicious shredded cabbage salad. Or, on nearby 17th Street NW, get in line for mouth-burning, authentic Thai food at Little Serow [NB Little Serow is shut for summer 2017, reopening 7 September] from one of Washington’s top chefs, Johnny Monis (if it’s a weeknight, be in line by 17:00 or 17:30 for dinner, if it’s a weekend, try even earlier). Once your name’s on the list, have a drink around the corner at Hank’s Oyster Bar while you wait. 


Where to stay 

W Washington D.C. – head up to the cocktail bar for presidential views down on the neighbouring White House.

Washington Hilton is home to many of the city’s black tie galas, including the star-studded spring White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Hilton Garden Inn is a new hotel in the city’s West End, you’ll be just around the corner from where former President Barack Obama has set up his new office.

Plan your Washington trip now


Words by Garrett M. Graff, former editor of Washingtonian magazine 

Photo by tpsdave on Pixabay

Mute!Tony: Part Two

I know that SunnyStark wrote a thing to fix it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this world, and well, no one ever argues with more fanfiction. 

Part One is Here. You kinda need to read it first. And yeah, it looks like I’m gonna need to write a third part bc no way are you going to be content with where this ends. 

Some folks that might want to see this are tagged at the bottom. 


Tony should have noticed it sooner.

He could have gone quiet sooner.

The team could have been happier sooner.

He was a genius, dammit, he should have seen within a few hours of meeting them that they didn’t want to hear him speak. Fine. With the Chitauri trying to level Manhattan and Loki leading the charge he had a justified distraction for the first day. For a week, tops. Then he should have noticed. What use was he if he didn’t notice what the team needed. His brain was the only thing they really needed from him. They didn’t need him talking. The team needed his input. Sometimes. If there was tech involved. They talked to him if there was a purpose, but no one came to him just to chat. They never did. Never had.

And hey, genius billionaires were supposed to be eccentric.

Tony was playing to type.

Taking after Howard Hughes.

It was part of a long and noble tradition.

And if he’d stopped making public appearances, well, the press was thrilled to have so much time to spend talking about the new Mysterious-Maybe-Avenger-Maybe-Not that had helped Captain America in his darkest hour.

Steve only came to Tony when the need outweighed the annoyance, which, Tony knew, was what everyone did. He didn’t blame them, it made sense. Everyone made choices like that, all the way down to whether they wanted to get up to reach the remote.

Tony thought the balance was a little different for Steve. He thought maybe Steve reached for him sooner. Thought maybe Steve didn’t mind him quite as much. He was wrong.

He watched the news coverage from his lab, not knowing where Steve had vanished to, not knowing if he was alive, and pushed away the thought. He stood rapt as he got reports of Captain America going rogue, of Nick Fury being killed, and he barely blinked while he watched footage of a battle over the Potomac as Steve, Natasha and some random civilian fought Hydra.

He almost climbed into his suit several times, but stopped himself.

They never contacted him. Tony tried not to think about why not.

It wasn’t until he’d checked the hospital records and confirmed that Captain America was still breathing that Tony went back to inspect what their silence meant.

Even with his life in danger, even with the world in danger, it hadn’t been worth it to Steve to contact Tony. They needed someone who could fly, who could work with tech, who they knew could fight, and they still hadn’t contacted Tony.

It was hard to deny that kind of evidence.

Tony liked evidence when it gave him clear information. He didn’t like the conclusion, but it was good to have clear data. This told him how high the bar of necessity had to be before Steve wanted to see him.

Steve and Nat limped back to the tower with their new friend.

And Tony stopped lying to himself.

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Sunrise over Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. At this site, parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains run almost north-south across the Virginia/West Virginia/Maryland countryside, but the Potomac River has eroded its way through the ridges. This gap hosts the meeting site between the Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers - both of them are funneled along the ridges until they find a small gap right here. This site also served as a Civil War era munitions depot and was involved in several campaigns, including the Antietam Campaign in 1862 and John Brown’s raid before the war.