Category: Places That Shape Us
Oh hello there! It has been eight months since my last
confession post. The truth is, I’ve been busy cooking up a new project and here we go, I am excited to share:
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just launched my own business, a family-friendly bicycle outing company here in DC called Recess Outings. We’ll be offering group bikes rides predominately for parents who would like to bike with their young child along for the ride. Please come visit over at www.recessoutings.com, share the site with friends and family, and sign up for a bike ride! When booking an outing, you’ll be able to choose whether you’d like us to attach a child seat to one of our bikes. All gear and equipment are provided so it’s easy to get out the door and meet us for a fantastic outing.
Of course you’re most welcome to join us without children too. The goal is simply to go play outside and have an adventure with like-minded people. We’ve spent these long summer days scouting routes, largely along the Anacostia River and throughout the bike lanes of Capitol Hill, and we can’t wait to get things rolling.
Because the mission of the new company is so well-aligned with this existing blog, a handful of content from Neighborhood Nomads has been pulled over onto the Recess Outings blog to showcase the delight of exploring close to home and celebrating places we belong. I’m excited to be sharing my love for the city in a whole new way!
May 24, 2014, Washington, DC: The art of slow travel has some history along the C&O Canal towpath. Back in the day, boats transported goods between east and west along the canal that parallels the Potomac River before railways offered a faster alternative and helped make canal transport obsolete. A journey on the 184-mile canal once took five to seven days, a pace at which the tiniest details of this landscape might have become quite familiar to those at work along the route.
April 15, 2014, Washington, DC: Washingtonians often remark how much they hate tourist season, but once in awhile it’s wise to keep the opinions to yourself and follow that crowd. The tourists of April are onto something here: a refreshing tradition that celebrates the arrival of spring with an explosion of pink. Sure, cherry blossoms are scattered throughout the city and we don’t need to head specifically to the Tidal Basin to catch a glimpse, but isn’t it nice to get caught up once in awhile in the spirit of something you wouldn’t necessarily do at home? A total mob scene, but a joyous one, and boy, is it beautiful.
Taking a cue from heaps of visitors, Sunday’s city hike took us on a walk down Capitol Hill straight to a Tidal Basin filled with paddle boats. We ducked through family photographs and slipped through crowds jam-packed along the sidewalks before turning east along the waterfront for a walk around Washington’s south side. Crowds thinning as we strolled past the marina and an already smelly fish market in the heat of the day, we continued past construction advertisements along the Southwest Waterfront, alongside Arena Stage and beyond the shiny new buildings of M St. SW. We detoured after crossing South Capitol back into the quadrant where we live, taking the long way through L’Enfant Plaza and between DC’s federal buildings, then going against the grain back up Capitol Hill and arriving home.
Soon enough, blooms will disappear, heat will weigh on us, tourists will vanish, and traffic will subside. In no time flat, the city will be ours again and we’ll be glad we followed that crowd while it lasted.
April 6, 2014, Washington, DC: It’s baseball season, the sky is blue and the blossoms have finally made an appearance. What more could a girl ask for? It’s walking weather here in DC, and we walked for hours this weekend — to Hill East’s Pretzel Bakery and around Lincoln Park, home from Nationals Stadium and through Eastern Market, down Capitol Hill onto a crowded National Mall, to Taylor Gourmet and back again. This year the transition from winter to spring in the city is sweeter than ever. After all, we waited a long time for it. Can you believe it was snowing last Sunday? It appears we’re all doing our best to forget.
February 14, 2014, Washington, DC: I’m continuously inspired by the writers and thinkers who record their observations about the power of place and our changing cities. Two years ago, I posted a list called, ‘Writing About Place: A Reading List’ on my blog, Neighborhood Nomads. I’ve updated it intermittently in the Comments section since, and invite you to comment with your own recommendations today.
Here are some of the words that have crept up since my last update, now added to the running list. They’re long overdue odds and ends, all worth a read on an icy winter day…
December 8, 2013, Washington, DC: Apparently I have a thing for places called Lincoln Park. I lived in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago as a graduate student several years ago and spent many wonderful days before and after the temperatures dropped biking through the park itself to reach the path along the lake. These days I frequent Lincoln Park in DC on my regular running route through Capitol Hill.
Beautiful things happen in this Lincoln Park: ordinary, simple, everyday things. Parents converge on its playgrounds with their little ones, older kids play football in the wide open central space, dog owners huddle holding cups of hot coffee. P&C market on the corner facing the park is the only place in town I can find my favorite type of yogurt, and some of the wide wintery brownstones surrounding Lincoln Park remind me of Chicago itself. In the summer, sunbathers and readers stretch out on blankets in the grass and a rag tag, not entirely legal, fireworks display brings neighbors together on the 4th. I always get the feeling this park truly belongs to its neighbors and they take good care of it.
An article I read earlier this week about the value of shared neighborhood spaces and our role in making them better made me reflect on my frequent runs throughout this neighborhood gem. What struck me was an observation in the article, published by the Project for Public Spaces, about “the tendency of people (particularly in the developed world) to see regulations where they don’t exist.”
“After decades of society turning its back on public life in favor of the private realm of home, office, and car, a lot of people now feel that they need permission to use public spaces the way they’d like to,” its author stated. “We can give that permission to each other.”
I do get the feeling that we have that kind of permission in Lincoln Park more so than elsewhere. I appreciate that runners have carved out a dirt jogging path that parallels the sidewalk and that someone has painted the tree roots there with reflective paint for those days when the sun sets early. I have seen the beauty of the everyday unfold here in all sorts of weather except for one… I can only imagine how the neighbors will make this place come alive in the snow.
Related Posts on Neighborhood Nomads:
- On Places, Puddles and Plans (October 12, 2011)
- Map of Mornings: Lincoln Park (October 2, 2011)
- Keep Your Cool: Thoughts on Summertime in Washington (July 8, 2012)
- My Top Ten Places of 2011 (December 31, 2011)
“We were meant to move. Our ancestors were wanderers, hunters, and gatherers. They followed herds and water. They relocated themselves continuously, depending on the weather and seasons. Our very survival once depended on our mobility. Our every continent, tribal communities traveled to where the best opportunities lay — they moved or they died. To this day, we carry this legacy within our genes, programmed over millennia.”
-Jeffrey A. Kottler
Travel That Can Change Your Life
November 12, 2013, Washington, DC: We were meant to move, I believe that. We were meant to start anew, to close one door and open the next, to keep on pushing forward. Movement keeps us healthy and warm and alert. It’s when we sit still for too long that things get tricky.
Many people around me are knee deep in big moves lately, from one home to the next, from one phase of life to another. Surrounded by all this movement, I’m reminded how exhausting it is, not just physically, but emotionally too. Moving is draining, overwhelming and supremely exciting hard work, whether packing up brown cardboard boxes and saying goodbye to someplace you love, or sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other and moving throughout the neighborhood and the day.
I always sleep more soundly after a flurry of activity, worn out and relieved to know that movement is the only way on to the next adventure.