Road Trip

Where: Washington, D.C.

Guide: Mary Naylor, 38, D.C. native. Founder and CEO of VIPdesk, a Web-based provider of concierge and virtual-personal-assistant services. Naylor's staff handles more than 400,000 service requests each year from its Alexandria, Va., headquarters.

Local beverage of choice: An old-fashioned mint julep from one of the brilliant bartenders at the Willard Hotel.

Best burger joint: The Old Ebbitt Grill, downtown. Parking is tricky, so take a taxi. White House staffers go there after work, maybe because the Ebbitt has the longest bar in the city -- 30 feet.

Fastest way to spread a rumor: Call in a tip to a reporter at the Washington Post.

Best place to meet with a venture capitalist: The Tower Club in Tysons Corner. It's up on the 17th floor, so you get a panoramic view of the city.

A thing about D.C. that only locals would know: No building in town can be taller than the Washington Monument.

What we'll be wearing: Really uncomfortable shoes. We're kind of buttoned-down still. But since techies invaded the District and brought casual days with them, we've loosened up. Men don't need ties, and women can ditch the pearls.

Don't even think of coming here without: Walking shoes (despite what we wear).

Bigwig every businessperson should know: Mario Morino, absolutely. He's the guy who coined the word netpreneur, and he runs several nonprofits here.

Best place to take a child: The Awakening, a 70-foot aluminum giant sculpted by J. Seward Johnson Jr. All you can see is this huge bearded guy's head and part of his arms and leg, as if he's pulling himself out of the ground. You'd think it would freak kids out, but they love it because they can plop themselves in the palm of his hand.

Whom to contact for tickets to anything (Warning: Shameless self-promotion to follow): VIPdesk Inc., unless it's last-minute tickets for a White House tour. For those you've got to call your congressperson and fork over your Social Security number, just to get on the waiting list.

Men like it here because: The ratio of single women to men is in their favor.

Women like it here because: What they say about power is true.

Best place to people-watch: Sequoia, a restaurant on the river. Friday night. Sit up on the terrace so you can see the yachts coming in and the guys on Harleys who congregate on the south end.

Sunday morning ritual: Political intrigue on TV talk shows. Then lattes at a real local joint, like Misha's Coffeehouse in Old Town Alexandria. People wear sweats and bring their dogs and read the paper.

Dog of choice: Retrievers, both goldens and Labs.

Washingtonians wouldn't be caught dead: Staying in town in August; too swampy. I go to Colorado.

--Written with Nancy Austin

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