Eastcoast Trek v2019 – A Recap

The District of Columbia was created by Charles L'Enfant and it's famous quadrant layout was completed by Benjamin Banneker, noted African-American scientist and city planner




gerund or present participle: trekking

  1. go on a long arduous journey, typically on foot.

Our 2019 EastCoast Trekkers. Maryum Robinson (my aunt), Willie Cravins, Del Huff, FT3, Judith, Renie

We just completed our EastCoast v2019 trek.  It is called “EastCoast” because we normally cover the states of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  This year we were gifted with five days and decided to spend it all in D.C.  Trekking is not for the weary or those not flexible or those needing lots of pampering.  Indeed it is a vacation but not the kind that you might imagine.  It is better!!!!  Trekking requires you to get off your butt or comfort zone, immerse yourself and explore.  Normally trekking requires a commitment to public transportation (the Metro) and some good old-fashioned walking.  For our 2019 version we included some Uber/Lfyt and even got snakebit taking a taxi.

If someone had told our crew before they made the journey the trek would require walking 20-25 miles……..Judith and I would have been by ourselves.

In addition to Judith and myself, we were joined by our good friend Del Huff, her friend Willie Cravins, who is now considered family and of course my aunt Maryum, who over the years has elevating her trekking skills and ranks with the best.  In 2012 when the long-awaited MLK Memorial was completed and ready for unvieling, Hurricane Irene had other plans.  Through that incident I was blessed to meet Renie Hale…….at all places, Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Since then he has joined our family and from his perch in Laurel Maryland always fits in to round out those making the journey.  He has been an active participant ever since then.

What’s so special about the EastCoast or DC?

Our commitment to HBCU’s

Judith and I first visited DC in 2005 as we were exploring Howard University where our son, Fred IV wanted to attend (He eventually decided on Bethune Cookman University).

DC is a city full of national history.  Ever since then we have annual visits centered around the last week of August, which coincided with the historic March on Washington which was August 28th.   It is our gesture to pay homage and reflect on a small piece of our heritage.

Original March on Washington Button

The Foodie Craze

Each trek has offered a different blessing.  Starting in 2010 as the foodie craze became popular, we added a foodie excursion to our agenda.  In 2019 we were not disappointed as in five days we covered ALL quadrants that DC had offer.

Managing the NMAAHC

Fortunate enough to attend the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture which happened to be President Obama’s last official event ceremony we have tried to warn folk on how to manager their experience to the museum.  YOU CANNOT DO THE FULL MUSEUM IN ONE DAY, that is if you are truly serious about absorbing the history!  This year we carefully planned our trek to include three visits to the museum.  The plan payed off.

A Rarity at NMAAHC

The National Museum of African-American History & Culture runs smooth like a fine-tuned machine.  Call it intuition, luck or just plain blessed but I knew there was a reason we were lucky to have tickets to the museum for three days during our trek?

Saturday’s are the busiest time for the museum.  Having arrived early for our 12 pm tickets we noticed a line but that is not out of the ordinary.   Shortly thereafter, I met the customer service extraordinaire Seymour who was part of staff and had been dispatched to deal with the folk waiting to get into the museum.  Seymour had the responsibility to tell folk, the museum would be CLOSED FOR THE DAY, due to some type of power issue.  For us it wasn’t that big of a deal as one down, two to go.  Po’ Seymour was mortified in explaining to folk who had made financial and personal sacrifices for THAT DAY that they would not be getting into the museum.   Anyway, the issue was resolved and the museum promptly opened up on Sunday.  Hats off to Seymour as somebody had to communicate with the crowd and he did a remarkable job.

Photos and Media

Finally, as you can imagine, a trek is not complete without lots of photos and documentation.  We split our media into categories for easier consumption.  Simply click on the link and you will be directed to the appropriate page.





God willing EastCoast Trek v2020 is right around the corner and we look forward to sharing another journey with you.

NMAAHC Newsletter released

[Washington, DC]  The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture continues to be one of top visited sites in the District of Columbia.  Some of you are charter members or other designations and received your recently published newsletter (Vol 4, Issue 1).  For those of you who didn’t receive it we have made it available via .pdf format.  The issue takes a look back from the historic opening until current.

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Eastcoast Trek 2017, NMAAHC & Foodie Excursion


The NMAAHC is placed in a coveted spot on the national mall. Immediately behind it is the Washington Monument. The White House is approximately 3 blocks to the north. Photo Fredyt123 (c)

Our eastcoast trek’s started over 10 years ago.  The dates are always around August 28th and the focus was to pay homage and offer a tribute to Dr. King and all of the unsung heroes of the March on Washington (MOW).  This year marked the 54th anniversary.

The importance of this photo is iconic as the strategy of placing the memorial was so that Dr. King is facing the Jefferson Memorial (to the right) and the Washington Monument (on the left). The pose of Dr. King was in his office and a picture of Ghandi was above his head. Photo Fredyt123 (c)

This year’s trek was shortened due to scheduling which meant we really had to hustle to accomplish all of the activities on our itinerary.  Last year the inaugural opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture was moved to the last week of September.  What started with just Judith and I quickly morphed to a group of twenty as friends came from all parts of the United States to witness the iconic opening.  Also during that trek we organized a “Foodie Excursion” and it turned out to be a big hit.  Because our group numbered six, we were able to once again add the excursion to our schedule.  So, we started in Baltimore and finished in DC and were blessed to accomplish our plan in just three days.

Lisa Brooks (New Jersey) and Norma Pezzotti (New Jersey via DR)
Maryum Robinson (Los Angeles)
Fredy (Los Angeles), Justine Love (District of Columbia), Renie Hale (Laurel, Maryland via NOLA)


The city of Baltimore and the District of Columbia (DC) have nearly the same population (approx 700,000-800,000).  Like DC, Baltimore has lots of sites to see.  So, our Foodie Excursion started there.


National Museum of African-American History & Culture

The National Museum of African-American History and Culture is special.   You will notice folk of ALL racial backgrounds flocking to the museum because while the site focuses on the history of African-Americans, it is also an important slice of American history.  One other critical point to clarify as some criticize the museum for starting at the slavery period?   It is understood even as slavery started there were few who were indeed defined as “free.”  Again, African history is African history and starts there.  While the museum does give a snapshot to bring you forward…….technically the African-American experience starts in 1607 and that is the focus of the interpretation. 

(for more NMAAHC pictures please visit our other blog)


The next three pictures are from Jet Magazine which was the first publication to alert the public. Photo Fredyt123 (c)

When visiting the NMAAHC it is highly suggested you have a plan.  The site is massive and impossible to capture everything in one setting.  As experienced as I am with such sites, I have mapped out a 5 – 7 year plan.  

This year our plan was pretty simple.  The Sweet Home Café was not yet open so my plan was to attempt to get in.  My second item was to get into the gift shop.  My third item was to see the Emmett Till exhibit.   Getting in or being able to access these areas may be simple, if not petty but once you try to gain access to the museum you will appreciate it can be wall to wall with folk, making it nearly impossible to see, let alone get in.

The Oprah Winfrey theater. Site for many lectures and events.

Other Special Sites

Carter G. Woodson House

The Carter G. Woodson house is another special site.  It is located in the historic Shaw District.  You could spend a full day in the “Shaw” and not come close to experiencing the history.  We were very lucky to be able to add this site to our schedule as it just recently opened.

The iconic Carter G. Woodson home. It just opened to the public. Photo Fredyt123 (c)

The Carter G. Woodson park is operated by the City and down the street from Dr. Woodson’s home. Photo Fredyt123 (c)Metropolitan A.M.E. Church

Phyllis Wheatly YMCA

Frederick Douglass Home

Foodie Excursion


Jimmie’s Famous Seafood

Due to its location to the water Baltimore is known for its crab.  Jimmie’s famous seafood does an excellent job while showcasing many crab dishes.

Crab cakes. Photo Fredyt123 (c)
Renie feasting on Crab sliders. Photo Fredyt123 (c)
Mrs. Minadakis, the grand dame of Jimmie’s took time to pose as she is preparing some of her famous stuffed tomatoes
Jimmie’s famous Crab Club sandwich. Photos Fredyt123 (c)

Ethel’s Creole Café

Ethel’s is located in the Mount Washington area, which is north of Baltimore.  It is a rare find offering an incredible Creole menu.

The Chef takes time to pose with Fred

NMAAHC Sweet Home Café

The Sweet Home Cafe is an outstanding place to relax and grab a bite to eat.  It is cafeteria style and the food is presented from regions of the African-American experience.  In other words you will notice the fried chicken, then wonder if you have room for the Creole dishes, or the Low Country dishes, or the Bar-B-Que, on and on.  As great as it is……in my opinion it is a bit pricey…..but worth it.

Ben’s Chili Bowl

Ben’s Chili Bowl has earned its iconic position as a place you must visit.   They are located in the iconic U District.  Just recently they updated the mural which now features President and Mrs. Obama among other faces, and it is outstanding.  Once you are inside there is a unique experience which awaits you.  Another important fact about Ben’s is during the 1968 Riots they remained opened and to date the community has rewarded their commitment.


Union Market

We do not have any pictures to share, however Union Market type venues are popping up all over urban areas.  They are boutique in style and offer specialized food menus, all in a co-op type of environment.

Timothy Dean Burgers

Timothy Dean’s Burgers is location in the NoMA (North of Massachusetts Avenue) and it is a great venue to relax.  Timothy Deans started during the Obama administration and the Obama burger continues to be the biggest seller.


TD’s famous Bar-b-que Brisket sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries. TD’s smoker is an iconic machine. Photos Fredyt123 (c)


Uprising Muffins

Uprising is part of the great Shaw District.  It is special to me because it is next door to the United Negro College Fund office.  They do an excellent job in preparing a variety of muffins and the coffee is very good.  They also feature great artwork, reflective of the area.

Oohh’s & Aahh’s

Oohh’s & Aahh’s is located in the historic U district.  For soul food, it is the place to go.  The servings are very large.  Even though the place is small, expect a line but it moves……so patience will be needed but it is well worth the wait.