Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Obama's Backyard

Washington, DC is an awesome place to live. It has so much to offer on so many different levels. Their are various micro-cities within the district, all with their own distinct flavor and style. Take the new NOMA neighborhood, for instance, with its cool shops, cafes and markets springing up just north of Massachusetts Avenue and slowly but surely building a unique vibe for the up and coming area. You can't beat Union Market on 5th St. NE for its culinary offerings, community focus and full event schedule. A wonderful venue to catch outdoor movies, take cooking classes, enjoy a Sunday brunch or grab a few last minute ingredients for a home-cooked meal. If you're not close enough to walk or bike, there's even a free shuttle that runs to and fro the market and nearby stops.

Still, if you want to stay fit and really see the city proper, the best way to get around town is by bike. Luckily, owning your own sweet blue bicycle is not a necessity.

Capitol Bikeshare is at your service with inexpensive bike rentals stationed all around town. Just hop on one, at say, Union Station and head down to the Smithsonian within 30 minutes and your ride is free! This is such a cool system and the deal gets even better if you become a member.

While at Union Station, if you're feeling peckish, grab a tasty bite at Le Pain Quotidien. There's a location here and one at Eastern Market where you can munch al fresco. Either way the organic bread is phenomenal and you won't be disappointed.

And you'll have more than enough energy to get back to cycling. One of the most incredible things about DC is the National Mall, of course. And the fact that the museums are free is not even the half of it. Food trucks abound, the green spaces welcome almost daily events and the monuments are spectacular and should be enjoyed from every angle, both night and day and on many occasions.

The Lincoln Memorial with all its historical significance and value is heart-stirring in the evening with a majestic view of the Washington Monument to the North.

As is the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, a stunning testament to the strength and resilience of MLK and the Civil Rights Movement.

I am astounded every time I visit, by the magnificence and grandeur of the National Gallery of Art.

This museum is a feast for the eyes, the soul, even.

Please, please, please go here, walk slowly, study the works of art, soak up the architecture, then come again and again. Then after, head right over to the African Art Museum.

Oh, the wonders inside this treasure trove. El Anatsui, Ben Enwonwu and the list of great artists goes on...

Do take your time, because everything in here is not to be missed. And it's constantly changing so don't just come once, come twice, become a member!

A great dining and cultural event spot to check out after enjoying the Mall, is Busboys and Poets.

There are several locations, but the one at 14th and V Street is the best, I think. A great bookstore is on site to peruse while your delicious meal is being prepared.

By the way, order the blackened salmon, it's A1.

The DC farmer's markets are second to only the stellar markets in the Bay Area, CA. But if they were all like the one Dupont Circle hosts on Sundays, then DC would be #1 in my book. This market is incredible. So fresh and organic and fresh and yes, organic!

While there, you must get the juicy crab cakes from the empanada stand and the tart sorrel from the Endless Summer hydroponic stall, the chocolate gelato from the Dolcezza trolley and oh, the scrumptious hummous from the Soupergirls and the pesto pizza from the Wood-Fired Pizzeria.

If by chance, you've worked up a great appetite biking around and you're still hungry after your sampling at the market, don't fret, a fine meal can be had at Sette Osteria, a moments walk away. By the way, all their pastas are made fresh in-house.

Wait...we're not done yet. A kayak along the Potomac is the best way to cap a splendid day in the city.

Take a boat out at the Belle Haven Marina and savor the view, the peace.

The experience will leave you completely fulfilled, as if living in DC was the best decision you've ever made and on the way home as you pass by Obama's place, you feel content sharing space with BO in his exquisite backyard.

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