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A Perfect Washington Weekend

Your perfect Washington weekend begins with a reservation for a room at the fabulous Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. We've long considered the Four Seasons chain of hotels the best in the world. You may find its equal in various international cities, we doubt that you will find better. The attentiveness and warm hospitality of staff members extends to every department. Whether doormen, front desk, concierge or dining room staff, the service is something to write home about. We've stayed at the Four Seasons in a dozen cities, and whatever they are doing, they should bottle it.

The management has recognized the extent to which business and leisure travelers want their fitness amenities away from home. At the Four Seasons in Georgetown, they've provided a state of the art center with a lap pool, abundant treadmills, step-machines, bikes and Cybex apparatus to work those muscles and keep in shape. They'll soon be introducing a "quiet room" where you can escape from it all and listen to music, meditate or contemplate creatively. An impressive array of spa services are also available as well as aerobic classes and should you wish, personal trainers. The Four Seasons cuisine also reflects the contemporary scene. The Four Seasons restaurant is one of Washington's most highly rated. Whether for breakfast, lunch, the famed Sunday brunch or dinner, alternative ("health-conscious") cuisine is available - and deliciously prepared. The new wing adds additional rooms as well as 21 fully equipped, beautiful new suites. For resevations, tel. 202-342-0444 or fax 202-342-1673.

While in Washington, be sure to dine at Nora, 2132 Florida Avenue, NW. Tel 202-462-5143. Nora has created her own unique American cuisine, based on the use of farm-grown products, many of which are organic. The restaurant is utterly charming, a converted stable, filled with antiques which delight the eye. The food preparation and presentation is tops. Our party sampled her caesar salad, crabcake, mushroom risotto, pork loin (less fat than steak, you know), wild rock-fish (Chesapeake sea bass) and an onion-crusted rack of lamb, each dish superb. Accompanying vegetables and breads were equal to the appetizers and main courses- and as for desserts. Well, after trying Nora's peach pie and chocolate souffle cake, you'd better spend extra time in the fitness club. We did! Wines are well selected, too. We started with a lovely half-bottle of Sancerre, then moved on to Savigny-Morot from Burgundy, selected by one of America's best importers, Robert Kacher. His name on the label is a reliable assurance of quality.
Be advised: reserve in advance.

Don't miss the FDR monument. It's a splendid park with sculpture commemorating each of FDR's four terms. What a memorable visit it was, reading the words of FDR as he and America faced Depression and The Second World War. And we weredeeply moved by the bronze grouping titled "Bread Line" by George Segal, the noted sculptor.

If you haven't been to see it before, The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a must. Remember Santayana's injunction- "Those that don't learn the lessons of history are forced to repeat them." The museum is free, and open 363 days each year. Arrive early, if possible. Otherwise, reservations are advisable. Again, the concierge staff can help - as they can with a visit to the White House, we are told.

You should also stop at the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial and pay respect to the men and women who defended our liberty at the cost of their lives.

For your second night in Washington, dine at Obelisk, the highest rated Italian restaurant in the Capitol. At 2029 P St. NW, 202-870-1180, this trattoria is an original. A prix fixe menu provides exceptional, creative dishes that you're sure to enjoy. An excellent wine list, good ones at reasonable prices will complement your meal nicely. The meal is arranged and planned according to market availability and there are choices to satisfy your tastes, whether meat or fish. The pastas were light and beautifully wrought - a feathery ravioli filled with eggplant was tops. We tried a marvelous halibut and a grilled tuna which was perfectly prepared with capers and vinegar. Desserts - four yums for the chocolate and the fruit tart.

If you can't resist ice cream (at least limit your intake), next door to the Four Seasons at 2816 Pennsylvania Avenue NW is Cafe Cafe. The proprietor, Mr. Idelbi is justifiably proud of his product, which has been described (not just by him) as the best in Washington. We liked it a lot.

Please let us know what you think about our recommendations for a Perfect Washington Weekend.

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