Wednesday, September 26, 2012

TP Thursday: The “Other” Capitol Hill in D.C.

When you say Capitol Hill and Washington D.C. in the same sentence, one image probably comes to mind:

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But two weeks ago – prompted by a note I’d scribbled from an article in an in-flight magazine, and accompanied by my like-minded travel friend, Jill  -- we headed out to find the‘other’Capitol Hill; the one that is home to the Eastern Market, Washington D.C.’s oldest continuously operating fresh food market.

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The Eastern Market was established in 1805 by President Thomas Jefferson in the Navy Yard area.  In 1873 this market building was completed in the Capitol Hill area (several blocks east of the Capital Building) to serve as its home.  The market was part of a larger, city-wide market system that was created at the end of the Civil War, a time when city fathers were under pressure to get rid of the sleepy southern village image of the town.

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It was the first market built as part of a 1870’s public works program. The outside structures were added in 1937 to provide shelter for vendor stands that set up near the building's entry. (If you are thinking the building looks pretty modern for its age, that’s because it was badly damaged by fire in 2007, rebuilt and re-opened in 2009.)

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It was calm and relatively empty on the September Wednesday morning of our visit, a stark contrast to the weekends' hustle and bustle, we learned. The pace intensifies during the growing season when fresh food vendors offer their just-harvested produce for sale.

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Having been born and raised in Central Washington, (the “other Washington” on the West Coast in an agricultural area that proudly called itself ‘The Fruit Bowl of the Nation”) I found this stand to be a bit lacking in size and selection. On the flip side, it was fascinating because I’d never imagined produce being grown on ‘Maryland’s Eastern Shore’ before.

We spent a good deal of time admiring all the goodies that were on display – delectable and delightful:

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And then we set off to explore the neighborhood. These taverns and eateries are just across the street from the market’s main entrance.

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We strolled just a few blocks from the market and found . . .

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So many beautiful homes and gardens that we couldn’t take enough photos of them all.

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A stunning church, Christ Our Shepherd Church (801 N. Carolina Ave.) became the focus of our photo-fest. The building is a a stone Romanesque that was built in the 1890’s.

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There weren’t a lot of folks snapping photos because we seemed to have been the only tourists roaming the area that morning.  Our somewhat off-the-beaten-path outing put a heart and soul on Capitol Hill. I'll never again think of it only as the power hub of our nation’s government.

I’d recommend a visit to this charming neighborhood the next time you find yourself in ‘that Washington”.

If You Go:

The Washington D.C. Metro system is a  fabulous and inexpensive way to get to all of Washington’s popular sites.

To the Market:  Take either the orange or blue line and get off at the Eastern Market station.  As you emerge onto the street from the Metro tunnel,  follow directional signs to the Market, about two blocks away.

For more information on The Eastern Market, and the many activities that take place there, click this link to its website.

Thanks for stopping by! Today is Travel Photo Thursday so head on over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos!

27 comments:

  1. It's great to learn about the other Capitol Hill and see a side of Washington that you don't often see. For a while there I thought I was in a country town not power central!

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    1. It did put a different face on the city. I will definitely return to this area should I find myself back in 'that' Washington.

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    1. You can have the bison stew and I'll go straight for the fresh pasta!

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  3. The market and the architecture certainly interest me! Thanks for the useful information in this post, Jackie.

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    1. Andrew with your photographer's eye, you would have a hey-day in this place. Hope you get there one day.

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  4. As a foodie, I would rather see the other Capitol Hill. It amazes me that the inside of the market is so clean. haha I'm used to the ones in Asia :D

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  5. What a great place to visit! I'm hoping to squeeze in a trip back to DC next spring and I'll add this to my list of "must sees". I love to visit markets and had no idea there was another Capital Hill! What a fun tidbit!

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  6. Thanks for the wonderful memories of "the real" Washington D.C., Jackie. I used to work in a Congressional district office. I was fortunate to be able to stay in the Congressman's apartment from time to time in the top floor of a house like those you picture. And I did indeed walk up to Eastern Market and eat at some of the many little restaurants in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. David Baldacci set some of his Camel Club mysteries partially in that neighborhood, if you're looking for D.C. reading material.

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    1. Love Baldacci and his Camel Club! Great suggestion Vera.

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    2. Ditto from here as well. I love reading books set in areas that I am visiting, will visit and have visited. I'll be getting some of his books - soon! Thanks for the idea.

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  7. DC is one of my favorite places to be and now it even got better! What a great find. I would definitely visit this area next time I'm in DC.

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    1. It is so easy to get to and I do recommend it highly.

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  8. Very difficult to picture Washington DC as a sleepy southern village now. Very interesting glimpse of a lesser-known side to the city this.

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  9. I'm addicted to food markets. Ever since visiting a few last winter, I try to find them in every city I visit! This sounds like a great find and definitely something I would have never thought about in DC.

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  10. I passed through Capitol Hill in July and was surprised to see how much it's changed since I left D.C. Love this part of DC, used to go there a lot for brunch and just to walk around. I was sad when I heard about the fire. It's the first time I'm seeing photos of the renovation. Thanks for sharing, Jackie!

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  11. I have been to D.C. several times and never heard of this market! I'm definitely making sure I visit it next time.

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  12. What a great find! I think I'd rather visit this hill than the busy one. i would be taking a lot of pictures of those charming houses too. I'm hoping to be in DC soon so I would love to visit this place.

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  13. I always enjoy strolling through a city's food markets. When I think of Washington D.C., I only picture all the government buildings. I like your pictures of the charming side of D.C.

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  14. A beautiful post on Washington. It has been too many years since I visited and we will certainly include the market in our next trip.
    I found you, through Heather, Lost in Arles and immediately signed to follow you. Looking forward to knowing your blog

    Helen

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    1. Thanks much for the nice note Helen. Keep the comments coming and we look forward to getting to know you in this blogosphere world!

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  15. Markets always interest me, and this one looks great. The neighborhood was definitely worth a look. Thanks for sharing Jackie.

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  16. Love it! Thanks for taking us to another part of Washinton D.C. you don't normally get to see!

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  17. Your sauntering through markets and neighbourhoods actually looks like a lot more fun than taking in the government buildings. I agree about the display of produce. Overflowing is what usually sells.

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    1. I suspect this was just the mid-week display as it sounds like farmers and fruit growers come from near and far and set up displays on the far-busier Saturdays.

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  18. What a great tip for something to do in Washington other than look at government buildings and visit museums!

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  19. Thanks everyone for your comments this week. I have to admit that this was such a pleasant alternative to all the government buildings and sites in D.C. -- all of which are wonderful, but sometimes feel removed from the 'human experience'. My friend Jill and I ended our visit with a great stop at an Italian restaurant where we sipped wine and had a long leisurely lunch in the outdoor patio. There are many from which to choose and each looked like a fabulous place!

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