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here… I’m not really a prolific enough writer to be able to trash a perfectly good post just because the title is out of date.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.