Living on DC’s Southwest Waterfront: Cecille’s Mid-Century Modern Enclave

This is one in a series featuring the places and spaces people call home. Would you like to participate? Click here for more information about contributing to Neighborhood Nomad.

May 31, 2012, Washington, DC: From the liveaboard community at Gangplank Marina to the mid-century modern architecture of the Tiber Island and River Park cooperative homes, Southwest DC has its own thing going on. And it’s the perfect place for Cecille Chen, a lover of history, architecture, design and modernism. Judging from her explosive involvement in the neighborhood from the moment she moved it, this is clearly what it means to find a natural and built environment that brings out the best in you.

This is what it means to be in your element.

Continue reading

Miles From Monday: Old Montreal

May 28, 2012, Washington, DC: It’s on these hot summer nights that arrive unseasonably early in Washington that we romanticize Vieux Montreal. We let our minds travel back down the narrow streets and alleyways in the oldest part of the city and we recall — sweating — what it was like to feel cold there. Downing lemonade with extra ice, we remember fondly our dinner by a fireplace on Rue Saint-Paul back in December when the cobblestones were slick from an icy rain turning to snow. We remember feeling oh-so-Parisian during that lunch of butternut squash soup and red wine at the luxurious Hotel Nelligan, and we consider how quickly time passes — that it feels like just yesterday we ducked into Bon Secours Market for hot chocolate and now we’re darting into DC’s museums desperate for a blast of cold air.

Continue reading

Happy 75th, Golden Gate

May 28, 2012, Washington, DC: As commutes go, this one ain’t bad. Any pessimism you may have about the day ahead is easy to shake off as you cross the Golden Gate through the microclimates between San Francisco and Marin. On the morning drive, the bridge’s paint color of international orange will give you a jolt stronger than coffee. On the evening ride home, this bridge is the entry back into one of the greatest cities in the world.

It was 75 years ago Sunday that the Golden Gate Bridge first opened, and it’s hard to imagine life without it. In many ways, the Golden Gate is a place I grew up.

Continue reading

Holiday Weekends in the City

May 26, 2012, Washington, DC: The Friday night and Saturday morning of a holiday weekend is always a good time to enjoy the city. If you’re staying put, you watch the evening traffic head out, bound for the beach or a weekend with family. You watch the roads clear and things grow a bit quiet, then hear the volume crank up a notch as the neighbors head out for the night and reclaim their local spaces. It is on city nights at the start of a holiday weekend that you realize how small this place really is, nights like this when you feel like it’s entirely your own.

Continue reading

Nights I Love This Place

May 22, 2012, Washington, DC: I met a friend halfway today after work; she biked south down Rock Creek Park from Adams Morgan and I pedaled west from Capitol Hill to meet at the Thompson Boathouse. We had every intention of exercising together, perhaps an ambitious sprint up the C&O Canal, but instead we sat there on the Georgetown waterfront catching up. There was a lot to say. About halfway through our conversation, the skies behind the Swedish Embassy opened and the rain poured down through a bright backdrop. We huddled beneath an awning wearing bike helmets and waiting it out, expounding on the things we fear and love, like great white sharks and San Francisco.

Continue reading

Miles From Monday: Perspective on Long Island

“Even when the east excited me most, even when I was keenly aware of its superiority to the broad, sprawling, swollen towns beyond the Ohio, with their interminable inquisitions which only spared children and the very old -even then it had always for me a quality of distortion. ”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

May 21, 2012, Washington, DC: The traffic piles up on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. approaching Bridgehampton. By dinnertime in Amagansett, the Meeting House on the square is full, families and old friends stuffed in tight beneath golden light, sharing beet salads and mussels and sipping good wine. They’ll work it off tomorrow at one of the many Pilates or yoga studios in East Hampton, maybe try on the stunning clothes hanging in the store windows along the way. They’ll wear them well, I assure you.

Late at night, music booms from the Stephen Talkhouse, where bouncers will charge a $10 cover on Friday and $20 on Saturday. The cab fare home and a morning omelette at Babette’s will be pricy, like you never left Manhattan.

Welcome to the Hamptons, where the crowds have arrived, the people are gorgeous and the costs are steep. It’s not even Memorial Day.

Continue reading

Today’s Pit Stops

May 18, 2012, Washington, DC: We’ve got a few pit stops to make today and stopping by to applaud Bike to Work Day is only the first. Next up, we’ve got a stop at the Metro station and another at the airport, a hiatus up in the air and a trip out to Long Island. We’ll stop by the rental car counter and set out for a drive on roads we’ve never navigated before arriving for a wedding in a town we’ve never seen.

But first we stop one hundred yards from the front door at one of 58 pit stops throughout DC, Virginia and Maryland set up this morning to help riders navigate Bike to Work Day.

Continue reading