10 on Tuesday: Things You Like About Where You Live

Yes, yes… I know it’s Wednesday, but I finally got around to joining the email list for 10 on Tuesday over at Carole Knits (where Hillary, from whom I usually crib the ideas, gets her prompts) and therefore actually had this post started before yesterday was derailed by squirrels and duct tape. And let’s be honest, here… I’m not really a prolific enough writer to be able to trash a perfectly good post just because the title is out of date.

So, without further ado, here are 10 things I like about the place I live, which is, as they say, Our Nation’s Capital.

1. There are lots of things to do here – many of which are free. Obviously, the Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art, and National Mall/monuments are the big players, but there are also smaller historic sites, as well as festivals, farmers markets, and recurring activities like Jazz at the Sculpture Garden and Screen on the Green.

2. I don’t need to own a car to go practically anywhere I want to go. For all the complaining we locals are wont to do about Metro, both their trains and buses remain a pretty dang reasonable way to get around town. Transit-centric development (Columbia Heights Target, I’m looking at you), a plan for streetcars, and the fact that  much of the city is easily walkable mean that most days, driving isn’t necessary – for me, anyway. (And yes, Rudi. I know DC is bike-able, too. I’m just too afraid of the cars to make that part of my reality.)

3. My darling nephews live right up the road in NoVa. Well, two of them, anyway. Having them – and of course, my brother and sister-in-law – nearby makes such a huge difference in my quality of life. I’m a girl who needs her family.

4. Eastern Market. It may a bit of a cliché to call it the center of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, but it’s also 100% true. I am not sure I have ever been there without running into at least one person I know. I also love the fact that this past weekend, I bought enough fresh food and produce from small local businesses to feed me at least as far as tomorrow – for only $40.

5. Having a front-row seat to the growth of Barracks Row & H Street Main Streets. I’ve lived on various parts of the Hill for more than 10 years, long before either 8th Street, SE or H Street, NE were anywhere near what they are now, which is vibrant destinations for all manner of delicious food and beverage… and I look forward to watching them continue to add retail and other entertainment options.

6. Living on a  (reasonably) quiet street. My neighborhood, just south of Lincoln Park, looks as suburban as anyone could want, with front lawns and giant, old trees, but it’s still mere blocks from… well,  pretty much everything. I don’t lead the exciting sort of life that requires constant activity, so the fact that I get the best of both worlds makes me very happy.

7. The Caps & the Nats. Right now, I’m finding baseball to just be a pleasant – if not always satisfying – way to pass the time between hockey seasons. I am patient, though – I spent the better part of a decade going to Caps games, waiting for them to actually be fun to watch. They are now, and  I remain confident that someday the Nats will be, too… and in the meantime, am counting the weeks until October while madly refreshing my Twitter feed to get the latest updates from the Caps’ development camp.

8. I get to live in DC, not Washington. When I watch the news and hear about “what Washington thinks” or how life is “inside the Beltway” I always wonder who the heck they’re talking about, because it sure isn’t me. Day-to-day life in the District – especially in the non-profit/museum area – is very, very different from the “Washington” of television. I don’t know all that many staffers for politicians, and the majority of those I do know work for local DC officials, not anyone in Congress.  While I see the Capitol every day on my commute, I have not one iota of insider knowledge of what happens there, and though I can eat my lunch in Lafayette Park with a view of the White House, I don’t know anyone who speaks in Aaron Sorkin-esque policy banter.

9. There is major cultural and ethnic diversity. Because DC is home to embassies, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, along with myriad smaller NGOs that work across the globe, there are lots of kinds of people here, and so every day offers a snippet of foreign languages, fashion from other cultures, and…

10. Lots and lots of good food. I’m a huge fan of international cuisine and DC never fails to please on this front. From Afghan Grill to Zaytinya, it seems like every kind of food the world offers is represented by at least one restaurant. Interestingly enough, the most expensive places around here tend to be “traditional” American steakhouses, so it’s both good for the palate and the wallet to have a spirit of culinary adventure. If you pass up the high-end joints, there are still plenty of places to get a tasty burger, a fabulous salad, or an epic grilled-cheese sandwich.  And then there are the cupcakes, of course!

Looking for even more things to like about DC? My friend sprite took a crack at this week’s list, too.

2 thoughts on “10 on Tuesday: Things You Like About Where You Live

  1. common loon July 14, 2010 / 5:31 pm

    Here’s just what came to mind, in no particular order (and not checked for spelling or grammar):

    1. There’s lots to do here and lots of it is free. Between the Museum Adventure passes and corporate sponsorships, if the place you want to go isn’t free today, you can go on a Thursday or Sunday, or get a pass from the library and enjoy!
    2. Plethora of parks, national parks, lakes, etc. Everyone here knows and uses the DNR, and the DNR folks are exceptional. There are tons of waterfalls that we hike to / swim in, the BWCA (how many places can boast that kind of wilderness?), headwaters of the Mississippi….etc. etc. You can drive & get away from it all, or you can swim or fish in a lake with the city as a beautiful backdrop. Most who visit are impressed by the cleanliness of our Twin Cities, and the amount of green space.
    3. No insane traffic!!!! I left jury duty downtown during the heart of rush hour, and was still home in 30 minutes. The only thing here that even remotely resembles coastal traffic is construction season – and it’s only a remote resemblance.
    4. Cost of living. We can afford to raise a family here without being a dual-income powerhouse (although there are plenty that do that, and I’m not knocking it at all!!!). 4 of Money Magazines top 25 places to live are here, and some have been on the list for consecutive years.
    5. Strong, traditional American values. A very politically knowledgeable group (I’d never participated in a caucus prior to this move, delegates and representatives are very accessible and present in the community). EVERY town has it’s own festival, many of which include parades, complete with marching bands and horses (and candy). We all participate in National Night Out (1st Tuesday in August, for those who are unaware).
    6. It is “the most literate city” in the U.S. It has a strong / current medical community (Mayo is often ranked among the nation’s best). It has strong charitable programs and progressive public social programs…translated means that we are culturally rich (’cause lots of folks want in on this action). There are many places where you can visit and not hear English (yeah, that blew me away…thought everyone was Finn or Norwegian but we boast the highest Hmong population outside of Asia, and we’re a Hindu and Islam center, too – who knew?).
    7. All major sports are represented. THIS IS THE STATE OF HOCKEY!!!! Folks aren’t spectators, we KNOW our stuff, and most play hockey. Even Lemaire spoke favorably of us. And Favre left his Packers for us.
    8. Minnesota nice. It’s great. There’s also Minnesota tough. No drama, just tough (there’s a reason so many of our kids go onto the NHL).
    9. Farms and orchards. For historic, hit the Kelley Farm, or Eidem just a jog down the street. For apples, you haven’t tasted apple bliss until you’ve tried a “Sweet Tango” (also love the “Honeycrisp”).
    10. All four BEAUTIFUL seasons. Summer (for the most part no humidity, fireworks can’t start until 10:30 pm because the sun sets so late) and Fall (very much like upstate NY) are my favorites, but there is just such fun during Winter, too. The Hollidazzle, the Ice Palace, and more (with a long Winter, there’s gotta be a lot or we’d be hosed).

  2. Eileen July 16, 2010 / 12:15 am

    It took a while to generate this list. And I couldn’t write the first half without the second 🙂

    Ten things I like about Houston 
    Not including people

    1. Houston Museum of Natural Science & History (but it’s expensive)
    2. We have a nice zoo with lovely park/gardens/amphitheater complex
    3. Central Market – it’s not Wegmans (or Trader Joes) but it’s a mighty fine grocery though expensive!
    4. Johnson Space Center is cool
    5. Proximity to UT football games – it’s a day trip
    6. Galveston is lovely – albeit under utilized fun
    7. Excellent restaurant choices – Thai, Indian, Mexican / Tex-Mex, seafood (Italian/pizza not so good but…) plus Paciugo (gelato)
    8. We have generally great weather November to February, especially of you’re not a fan of snow (which I actually miss)
    9. We have excellent medical facilities at the Texas Medical Center (which is ten minutes from our house) 
    10. The Houston livestock show and rodeo is a hoot – love the calf scramble and bull riding 

    Ten things I hate about Houston
    1. Almost everyone I love requires airfare to be seen
    2. It’s hotter than the hinges of hell here June through September 
    3. People can’t drive worth a dam and 8 lane highways make no difference
    4. Hurricanes suck
    5. It’s flat as a pancake 
    6. Seasons consist of hot, hotter, hotest, and wet
    7. No good Italian food or pizza
    8. Everything requires a car!
    9. Very few things are free 
    10. No one here loves hockey (unless they came from somewhere else)

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