Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts

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!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Washington D.C. ~ Monumental ‘Wanders’

A week ago today I was flying to Washington D.C. for one of those whirlwind trips that conference attendance often generates. The kind that allows only a few hours on either side of the event to get out and explore the area.

To those of us living on the West Coast, Washington D.C., on the opposite side of the country, is the ‘other Washington’– the one that requires an almost six hour flight to reach from ‘our Washington.’

That ‘other Washington’, is our nation’s political engine. That fact alone is a turn-off to many would-be tourists, who see it as a haven of politicians; a grandstand for their rhetoric and bickering. Others, like me, also see it as a treasure chest of wonders; museums, monuments and memorials showcasing so much culture and history that it would take weeks to visit them all.

So where to wander in a matter of  hours?

DSCF1240 Three of us West Coast Washingtonians caught METRO and for $2.45 each way, whizzed  from Arlington, Virginia (where the conference was held)  to the National Mall’s  underground Smithsonian Station, from where we emerged to the sight of the Washington Memorial (pictured) to our left and the U.S. Capitol Building to the right.

From there we set out to pursue our own itineraries:

I headed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (14th Street and Independence, 202-448-0400).  It was my third visit – and I could still return ten times over, each time learning/seeing  something I’d missed on a previous trip. You don’t tour this four-story archive of 1930’s – 40’s European history, you experience it. I used most of that afternoon’s free time pondering and shuddering at the story told through its 900 artifacts and 70 video monitors about  Hitler’s rise to power and the devastation that followed.

One of the displays  tells of the Hitler-ordered book burnings across Germany in the Spring of 1933.  Books authored by Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis,. . .Helen Keller, among them.

It wasn’t until this visit that I noted on the display window, a chilling quote written decades in advance of Hitler’s reign:

“Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned.”
Heinrich Heine, 1797 –1856, German Jewish Poet.

Admission is free.  What you experience here, stays with you for a long time. Photos inside the Museum are not allowed. I took the photo to the right as I walked to the Museum CafĂ©  housed in the building on the left; the Washington Monument in the distance.  The sculpture is titled, Loss and Regeneration.


DSCF1263We managed another monumental ‘wander’ during the three hours after the conference’s end and our flight home. We again hopped Metro and for $2.20 each, emerged from the underground station at Arlington National Cemetery.

We opted – because of the short amount of time we had – to take the narrated, 45-minute shuttle tour ($8.50 per person) with the idea we’d see the whole place and if time allowed go back to those particular places we wanted to see a bit more in-depth.


We scrapped that plan when we arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier within minutes of  the Changing of the Guard – an event that I now know shouldn’t be missed. 

We were walking toward the Tomb when in the distance we heard the echo of a 21-gun salute. . .we were told that some 25 military burials take place each day. . .

As we waited for the human guards to change, we watched a Bald Eagle, our national bird and our country’s symbol, soaring  overhead, as if the ultimate guard of the more than 320,000 servicemen and women buried within Arlington’s 624 acres.

And then the Changing of the Guard:


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