Field Trip to the 2009 RWA Nationals D.C. Site

Are you busy packing for Nationals? Do you wonder what the conference site will be like?

If so, I have a treat for you. My awesome CP, Anne Barton, math teacher by day and writer of great Regency romance by night, lives in commuting distance of D.C. She’s agreed to take us on a Cyber tour of the conference site in one of my rare Saturday Special posts. So, come armed with your questions. Those Anne doesn’t answer in her article, you can ask her in a comment.

And I have a fun tote bag to give away, one ideal for romance writers.


Field Trip!

(to the site of the 2009 RWA® National Conference in Washington D.C.)

by Anne Barton

Did everyone bring their signed permission slips and brown bag lunches?

No worries! Today I’ll be your very own, personal, investigative reporter. I scouted out the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, got the lay of the land, and asked the hard-hitting questions . . . like, where is the nearest Starbucks? If you’re making the trip to RWA National this year or just want a sneak peek at the conference site, read on.

DC Nationals - #1

Front of the hotel

Before we begin, I should warn you that getting directions from me is like asking Hansel and Gretel the best way out of the woods. I took photos and talked to a very nice and helpful concierge, but in case of emergency . . . follow the trail of breadcrumbs.



DC’s Metrorail system (the “Metro”) has a station on the Marriott site–the Woodley Park stop on the Red Line. It’s 160 feet underground, and riding the escalator into the station will make you feel like you’re on the set of Journey to the Center of the Earth. If you’re scared of heights or don’t do escalators, you can take the elevator instead. The station is just a one-minute walk across a service road and up a sidewalk to the air-conditioned lobby of the hotel.

DC Nationals #2

Metro escalator


Lobbies and Lounges

There are lots of places to hang out, chat, and reconnect with your writing friends. The Wardman Park’s website has a great photo tour with pictures that (unlike mine) are focused and don’t have thumbs in them.  If you’re looking for a place to meet that’s away from the fray, I’d suggest the garden terrace.  It’s quiet and beautiful, and if it’s a little warm, you can always cool off with a frozen beverage.

DC Nationals #3

Garden terrace





Coffee and Cocktails

Brace yourself. I’m going to do this quickly, like pulling off a BandAid . . . there’s no Starbucks in the hotel. And Perry (the concierge) said the nearest one is five blocks east.  If you would rather not use a compass to find your latte, never fear. There is a coffeehouse on site–Illy’s—and a little deli called Woodley’s that also serves coffee.

There are three bars on the lobby level of the hotel as well. I’m partial to Harry’s Pub because it looks like, well, an old English pub. The lobby bar is conveniently located just off the lounge, and the Stone’s Throw Restaurant also has a bar area.



There are tons of restaurants within a block or two.  There’s a sushi bar, a couple of cafes, and French, Italian, Lebanese, Indian, and Afghan restaurants. Some of the closest fast food restaurants are McDonald’s and Chipotle (sorry, Keli, no Taco Bell  :-)). Best of all, after a long day of workshops and meetings and book signings, you can treat yourself to Baskin Robbins ice cream. On the same block as the hotel you can also find two banks, a CVS/pharmacy, and a dry cleaners. If you stop by the concierge desk and ask for Perry, he will totally hook you up with a map to your favorite spot.

The Neighborhood #1

Surrounding Neighborhood #1


Surrounding Neighborhood #2

Surrounding Neighborhood #2


Surrounding Neighborhood #3

Surrounding Neighborhood #3


Quick Trips about Town


Me (doing my best Lois Lane impression): Say I only have two hours before the limo picks me up for my swanky publisher’s party (yes, yes, this is obviously hypothetical).  What sights could I see in two hours?

Perry (not buying my scenario for one second): Your best bet is to hop on the Metro and go two stops to the Farragut North station. From there, you can see the White House. If you get back on the Metro and go another three stops to the Judiciary Square station, you can walk to the National Mall and see all the monuments and museums.

Me: Thank you for not recommending the zoo.

Perry (who clearly deserves a raise): You’re welcome.


Odds and Ends

The hotel has an outdoor heated pool and a fitness center. Public areas have wireless high-speed Internet access, and guest rooms are wired. The hotel’s gift shop has toiletries (in case–Heaven forbid–your luggage is lost) and a decent selection of snack foods. There’s also a FedEx/Kinko’s business center, should you want to ship some books home.  Parking is $32 a day. Ouch.

Fed Ex/Kinko's

Fed Ex/Kinko's


Checkout Time

So, that’s about it. Can you just see the ballroom brimming with authors (and books!) at the Literacy Autographing? And hear the lobby clicking with cute shoes? Me too. It’s going to be great.

Thanks for coming along on the virtual field trip. If you have questions, I’ll try to answer them. If I can’t, Perry said it’s OK to give him a call.  🙂


Thanks, Anne, for another of your awesome articles. Even though I’m unable to attend Nationals this year, I’ll now be able to picture those of you who are having a blast at this great venue.


Leave a Comment for Three Chances to Win


Saturday Special Drawing

I’m giving away a cool canvas bag. This sturdy tote would be just the thing to take to a writers’ conference. Not only is it romance themed, but it can hold plenty of books, papers and chocolate.

Romance Tote Bag

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on this post by midnight Pacific time July 11th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On July 12th, I’ll post the winner’s name right here.

Congratulations to Sharon Lathan, winner of the tote.


My Regular Drawing

My next drawing will take place July 20th.

The winner will receive a vinyl lined bikini bag, which is just the thing to toss in your tote for a trip to the pool, beach or seaside resort.


Bikini Bag.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by July 20th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On July 21st, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.


You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook!

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and July 31st. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

On August 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of several covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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25 Responses to Field Trip to the 2009 RWA Nationals D.C. Site

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Anne, what a fun article. I sure wish I was going to be in DC with you and the other Pixies attending Nationals. Alas, I won’t be, but at least I can get a feel for what it will be like from your photos. I’d love to sit in that beautiful garden area, sip iced tea and visit with you. I’d even be willing to survive a week without Taco Bell for a Pixie fix. 🙂

  2. MaryC says:

    Thanks, Anne. That was fun to read even though it did make me all sentimental for what I’m missing. Still, there’s always a great buzz in the air at Nationals time whether you’re going or staying home, so I’m excited for all of us that it’s conference time!

  3. Nice job, Anne. Sending this blog off to my mom too. She’s coming, but doesn’t know her way around DC. Let’s hope the Garmin doesn’t malfunction.


  4. Anne Barton says:

    Keli, we’re going to miss you in DC! Thanks for having me again. I’ve got my eye on that bikini bag–too cute.

    Mary, you’re so right about the buzz surrounding the conference. There’s a lot of positive energy (which I hope translates into good things for all of us!)

    Pat, I’m excited my mom will be there too, at the Awards Ceremony. My mom was the one who got me hooked on romances so it seems fitting. YAY for moms. I hope yours doesn’t get lost!

  5. Kate Parker says:

    Anne, where’s the yogurt? Can’t live without my yogurt, and the rooms don’t have fridges. I’ll be making lots of yogurt runs. Thanks for the really good pictures. Not a thumb in sight.

  6. Caroline says:

    Anne, thank you!

    That was awesome! I’m now totally excited. I’m glad there are a few shops close just in case, of course, I may need a quick shopping spree. Too bad about the Starbucks but I’m sure the other coffee house is just fine, no, better than fine. The English pub sounds dreamy!!


  7. Fantastic article! Thank you so much for putting the time into it. Sounds like you met Perry Bagwell too, eh? (BTW, how great of a name is that?) It’s wonderful to be connected with people like you, who understand how important this upcoming week is. Thanks again, Anne.

  8. Quilt Lady says:

    Oh wow I love the photos. I do so want to go to DC. It is something I have always wanted to do. Not going to happen but I can dream! Have fun on your trip and thanks for sharing!

  9. Anne Barton says:

    Kate, thanks for the tip–I didn’t know the rooms don’t have fridges. Yikes. I guess you could use the ice bucket to keep a few yogurts chilled. Next to the champagne, of course. 🙂

    Caroline, seeing the hotel got me excited too. Gave me butterflies actually. I hope I get the chance to meet you next week!

    Jamie, my ruby slippered sister, thanks for stopping by! If anyone wants to know more about the hotel and surrounding area, check out Jamie’s website:

    Quilt Lady, I hope you make it to DC sometime. I recommend the springtime–it’s not so hot then and you can see the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin. 🙂

  10. Tina says:

    Wow what a lovely peek into D.C.

    Enjoy the Cinderella, Golden Heart finalist journey, Anne. I’ll be rooting for you here in Denver. I checked your blog and didn’t see your 2009 Saturday night festivities dress posted. How can I live vicariously through you without it. Love your new photo!!

  11. Anne Barton says:

    Tina! Thanks for the good wishes and for asking about my dress–would you believe I’m still not sure what I’m wearing? I’d ask Ms. Marlena Fortune to lend her expertise, but . . . she scares me. 🙂

  12. Kit says:

    What!!! No Starbucks!!! I didn’t think there was a city block in America without a Starbucks. LOL

    So, Anne, thanks for the heads-up on that. Looking forward to seeing you. Keli, it’s just wrong you won’t be there. You will be sorely missed.

  13. susan seyfarth says:

    Thanks for the great info, Anne! And thanks, Keli, for providing a forum! I was just wondering which metro stop I’d need to take & what kind of walk it would be to the hotel. Great way to start a Saturday–with pressing questions answered!

    Looking forward to DC!

  14. 4kaylin says:

    Thanks, Anne, for the great info. I made lots of notes and am really looking forward to visiting some of your outstanding recommendations.

    Here’s to a fun, exciting conference!


  15. Anne Barton says:

    Kit, Susan, and Kaylin–all 3 of you will be wearing first sale ribbons this year, right? I’m so thrilled for you, and hope it makes the conference extra special! Can’t wait to see you girls there.

  16. Thanks for the sneak peak. It is always good to have some idea of what one is getting themselves into! I will actually be staying at the Omni, but just knowing the area immediately surrounding looks so normal is nice. I appreciate the tips! See ya all there! Sharon Lathan

  17. Marlena Fortune says:

    Anne, darling. No need to be afraid. Especially since you are one of the most fashion appropriate of the writers I have seen around the cyber universe. Best of luck dear.

  18. Anne, thank you so much for this great blog. I was very excited about going to the conference. Now I’m even more excited!!!

    It looks like the hotel is in a lovely area.

    Good luck at the awards ceremony! My fingers are crossed 😉

    Keli, I’m so sorry you can’t make it. Perhaps next year?


  19. Anne Barton says:

    Sharon, the Omni is just over a quarter mile away from the Marriott. Jamie’s website (the link is in an earlier comment) has photos of the Omni and great directions if you need them. The hotel looks very elegant–enjoy!

    Ms. Fortune, you don’t know how much that means to me! You’ve given me the push I needed to decide on a dress . . . so I can move on to anguishing over the accessories. Thank you, and I hope all the editors, foreign dignitaries, and unnamed members of the Administration treat you like royalty while you’re in DC.

    Mary, the neighborhood does look cute and inviting, doesn’t it? If the weather is half as good as we’ve had this week, we’ll be very lucky! Upper 80’s and high humidity is the norm. Thanks for dropping by, and have fun at the Literacy Signing. 🙂

  20. Thanks for the field trip! I haven’t been to DC in years and am so looking forward to this conference!

  21. sayaka says:

    Thank you so much for wonderful information!

  22. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who’s dropped by so far to read Anne’s wonderful article and join her on her field trip.

    To those of you en route to Nationals this year, I wish you all an incredible experience. To those, like me, who aren’t able to attend, my wish is a week of awesome creativity as you pour forth your stories onto the page.

    I’ve held the drawing for the romance-themed tote bag, and the winner is Sharon Lathan. Congratulations, Sharon. I’ll be in touch.


  23. Anne Barton says:

    Elaine and Sayaka, thanks for visiting!

    Congrats, Sharon, on winning that cute tote bag!

    Keli, thanks again for having me, and I second what you said. For everyone headed to DC, have a safe, fun trip. For those who can’t make it this year, have a wonderful week of writing, and treat yourself to a new book, or ice cream, . . . or both!

    Today I’m making lists (camera, pins, cell phone #s, etc.) but I’ll be around in case there are any questions. Happy packing!

  24. Jill Kemerer says:

    Wow! Thanks for the great photos and fun tips! This is my first ever conference and I am sooo ready to go!

    Keli, wish you were going too!

  25. Great post. My daughter Keri actually lives right around the corner from the Marriott. I love DC.

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