In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.
“I think baseball is way slower than the life we have now,” says Zimmerman, 37, who in January welcomed his fourth child with his wife, Heather. “Going from pretty much being home for a week, gone for a week, it’s definitely been an interesting change, but a good one. To be around and to be able to see the kids grow up at this age, I think a lot of people miss that time period because they’re working — age 30 to 50 is usually the most important time of your career — so I feel lucky to be home and to be around for a lot of these life moments.”
As the Nationals host the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend, Zimmerman will return to Nationals Park for a celebration of his career aptly billed as Ryan Zimmerman Weekend. Among the festivities: a pregame Q&A with Zimmerman on Friday and the retirement of the two-time all-star’s No. 11 jersey on Saturday.
But the Zimmerman family isn’t going anywhere. Ryan and Heather, who both grew up in Virginia, have put down roots in Great Falls, where they’re raising their daughters, Mackenzie, 8, and Hayden, 6, and their sons, Henry, 2, and baby Benjamin. On their perfect day in the D.C. area, Heather and Ryan enjoy an active morning and afternoon with the full clan before embarking on a date night on the town.
Heather Zimmerman: We’d start the morning by going by Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. Right after the Nats won the World Series [in 2019], they sent a box of doughnuts that had little plastic baby sharks in them, which was amazing. So we’d get a dozen doughnuts of various kinds, and I’d also get the fried chicken honey sandwich.
Ryan Zimmerman: We’d then go by Call Your Mother and get some bagel sandwiches — I like the Thunderbird.
Heather: And I would get the Royal Palm, because I like a good bagel with smoked salmon. We’d take it all and do a little breakfast picnic in front of the Washington Monument. While it’s still a cool morning, we’d actually jet back and do a quick little walk around Great Falls Park with the kids and the dogs, because that’s right down the road from us and it’s just beautiful.
Ryan: After that, our oldest, Mackenzie, loves the National Museum of Natural History, so we’d have to go there. We’d also stop by the National Children’s Museum for a little bit, and head to the National Zoo. We’re going to do a lot.
Heather: Our dream day has more than 24 hours!
Ryan: Next, we’d go to the Salt Line in Navy Yard. [Note: Zimmerman is an investor in the Salt Line.] Both of our daughters love the cheeseburger there, and Mackenzie also likes to try the oysters. Heather loves the lobster roll, and I love pretty much everything. So we’d do that for lunch, walk around Navy Yard a little bit and maybe get the girls some Ice Cream Jubilee.
Heather: Then we’d take a water taxi over to Alexandria and do some shopping at the boutiques. I love the Hive there, and Ivy Lane Living — they have a cute little shop with lots of art and decor and whatnot. Is there anything else we’d do with the kids?
Ryan: No, I think that’s about the time we take them home [laughs]. They got plenty of food and exercise. From there, there are so many restaurants we’d like to go to, so we’d do a cocktail at one place, appetizers at one place and the main course at one place.
Heather: We’d start at Bourbon Steak to get the bread with truffle butter and grab a cocktail — I like a dirty martini with stuffed olives.
Ryan: And they have a really good bourbon selection there, so I usually tell them to just pick something and make it. The wine list is also great, but if we did all of that, I don’t know if we’d make it through our dream day …
Ryan: They change the menu so much and they have so many interesting things that you almost have to have an open mind. One thing I tried there was this rabbit dish — they pound it and fry it and it comes on a bed of greens — and I would have never ordered something like that. But we tried a little bit of everything, and man, it was one of the best things. The jambalaya is also really good — it’s almost like a deconstructed jambalaya, at least when we were there, so it’s different from what you think it would be. They also have tons of options as far as seafood goes.
Heather: You have to get the pommes soufflé — they’re like puffed-up french fries, and they serve them with hollandaise sauce. And you’ve got to do the collards as well.
Then we’d go to an Eric Church concert at the Anthem, since the whole Wharf is such a fun spot. And we love José Andrés — he’s a good friend of ours now — so we’d definitely want to stop by Barmini to end the night for the fun atmosphere and a couple of cocktails.
Ryan: Then would we go home, or would we stay in a hotel?
Heather: Oh, we’d have to stay in a hotel — let’s make it a trip to the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. And we’ll plan on doing the spa there the next morning.
Ryan: Yeah, let’s stretch it — this is actually a “D.C. Dream 36 Hours.”