‘”The Grand”, as it is known to all who have had the pleasure to live under it, or ski beside it, or hike around it, or climb to the top of it, is more than the highest mountain in what many would call the continental United States’ most spectacular range. It is a magnet, a motherlode, a home base to a breed of people who have no home. Not just people who ski and climb, but skiers and climbers, the ones who relegate real-life activities like laundry and relationships to those couple of weeks in the spring and fall when the lifts have closed but it’s too slick to climb, or the snow has come but the runs aren’t yet open.”
-Pam Houston, On (Not) Climbing the Grand Teton
April 30, 2012, Washington, DC: It was the summer of 1998 when two friends and I got in the car to travel to Jackson.
April 29, 2012, Washington, DC: Over by the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial is a long, narrow slice of land, an island actually, that juts south between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. Hains Point, home of East Potomac Park, is named after Peter Conover Hains, a major in the Army Corps of Engineers who served as chief engineer on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers during the 1880s. Hains is credited with designing the Tidal Basin, and for good reason: He did it to eliminate the awful stench of this marshy area here at the entry to the nation’s capital.
Thank goodness for that, because the smells beckoning me around the perimeter of this point today on my bicycle are to die for.
April 28, 2012, Washington, DC: Want a taste of my neighborhood? Here it is: My neighborhood is funny and filling. Today I spent the afternoon at an annual local event called Taste of 8th, assigned to take photographs for the organizers at Barracks Row Main Street. There’s so much food on these few blocks of 8th St. that we need to celebrate more than just once a year (formally, that is), so I happily agreed to photograph/indulge for another go-round. A total of 21 restaurants, cafes, and the liquor store along our main street set up on the sidewalk and sold tickets for appetizers, desserts and tastings. I love where I live. It’s no place for a diet.
“We shall solve the city problem by leaving the city. Get the people into the country, get them into communities where a man knows his neighbor, where there is a commonality of interest, where life is not artificial, and you have solved the city problem. You have solved it by eliminating the city. City life was always artificial and cannot be made anything else. An artificial form of life breeds its own disorders, and these cannot be ‘solved.’ There is nothing to do but abandon the course that gives rise to them.”
April 27, 2012, Washington, DC: How differently things are shaking out, huh? So much for eliminating the cities that the founder of Ford Motor Company declared the root of our troubles. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and projections show nearly three quarters of people on Earth will be urbanites by 2050. Despite Ford’s declaration, it seems people — most people — have not abandoned our cities. Perhaps today’s cities are neither isolating nor fake nor problematic, but rather full of solutions.
Washington’s city leaders certainly think so. Earlier this week, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and his team laid out a vision for making D.C. the most livable and sustainable city in the country. Goals include cutting citywide energy consumption by 50 percent, increasing the number of jobs devoted to green goods and services by five-fold, and guaranteeing that 75 percent of all trips are walkable, bikeable or accessible by public transit. Imagine 1.5 million square feet of green roofs on city buildings. And swimming and fishing in the Anacostia and Potomac rivers. And knowing that a quarter of all food consumed in the District is grown within a 100-mile radius of the city. It’s all part of the plan.
“I could feel history and geography transforming me, and I fell stupidly in love with travel.”
-Brad Newsham, from ‘Take Me With You: A Round-The-World Journey to Invite a Stranger Home’
April 26, 2012, Washington, DC: I bought one more plane ticket last night. It’s for the final trip I’ll be making for the purposes of this project back to one of my former hometowns. I haven’t been back to Toronto since I moved away in 1982 and I can’t wait to check it out.
April 23, 2012, Washington, DC: Welcome to Miles From Monday, a new weekly travel feature on Neighborhood Nomad. On Mondays, we’ll venture out of the spaces we inhabit during our weekday routines and retreat to those that feel far from the start of the work week. If only virtually, from our offices and our desktops, we’ll explore the wide open spaces that have inspired us, the landscapes we subconsciously tote around daily. Continue reading →
April 21, 2012, Annapolis, MD: We’re not in Eastport much anymore, not since we moved from Annapolis back to DC. Just across Spa Creek from historic downtown Annapolis, the Maritime Republic of Eastport as it’s called these days is a place with a rebellious spirit much like my birthplace of Westmount on the edge of Montreal. Legend has it that Eastport residents here on the peninsula called Horn Point declared their independence from Annapolis over beers at a neighborhood pub in 1998. That fall, Eastport residents challenged Annapolis residents to a rowdy tug-of-war stretching across the water in a show of strength that has since become a local tradition. It was the first tradition we witnessed here the weekend we moved to Annapolis back in 2009.