Neighborhood Nomads
places we belong

Tag: Barracks Row

Breakfast Time on Barracks Row

photo 3 copy 2August 7, 2014, Washington, DC: “Good morning! I didn’t know you were open!”

“We’re not. But you’re about to get a doughnut!”

So began this August morning on Capitol Hill. During my outing down 7th and 8th streets to peek inside the doughnut shop coming soon to Barracks Row, I both met a neighbor who usually keeps to himself and had a spontaneous coffee-doughnut breakfast with a new business owner and a marine. This is something I love about my neighborhood: the random interactions with people we’d never meet otherwise if we didn’t all share the same living space.

One thing I appreciate about cities is their physical variation — the way architectural details from different eras occupy a single block, the way old and new butt up against one another like old friends. But the same can be said of a city’s people. In the neighborhood I call home, residents from all walks of life cross paths during the course of a busy day. And District Doughnut co-founder Greg Menna is certain a good old-fashioned doughnut, individually crafted in small batches by pastry chef Christine Schaefer, will appeal to them all.

Case in point, Greg says: “My dad would never be caught dead buying a cupcake.”

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A Tuesday Evening Garden Party

Capitol Hill Garden Party, May 2013

May 23, 2013, Washington, DC: How delightful it is to put on a summer dress and walk through the neighborhood to a garden party! Because that’s something that happens, well, never, Tuesday night was extra special. It was also one of the first hot summer evenings of the year — not just hot, but only-in-DC steamy — which made the music and chatter and cold drinks perspiring in clanking glasses all the more mesmerizing at this gorgeous home on East Capitol Street. It was almost as if I’d been whisked away to another era, to an earlier time on a grand old avenue where neighbors mingled regularly on impossibly warm summer nights.

What made this garden party especially fabulous, though I’m guessing they all are, is the reason this group came together. Everyone who attended did so because they love Capitol Hill and support the mission of Barracks Row Main Street, our neighborhood organization committed to economic development on 8th St.SE, historic preservation, and safe, clean streets throughout the community. In every corner of this tented garden and on the wide side porch of a neighbor’s lovely home, conversation lingered around a shared conviction: the belief that we live in the greatest neighborhood on earth.

I took photos of the garden party for its organizers; you can check out the rest of them posted here.

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Capitol Hill Garden Party, May 2013 Capitol Hill Garden Party, May 2013 Capitol Hill Garden Party, May 2013


Gaia’s New Mural on Barracks Row

Gaia mural, Barracks Row, Washington, DC, May 2013

This is one in a series featuring our city neighborhoods and the people who love them. Would you like to participate? Click here for more information about contributing to Neighborhood Nomads.

May 7, 2013, Washington, DC: Talented street artists Gaia and Nanook recently completed this massive mural on the side of a building in my neighborhood on Barracks Row. The newly opened Persian restaurant Tash and Asian restaurant Nooshi now feature this image of a woman with fish and fishing boats flowing into her hair, a piece as vibrant as city life itself on this DC main street. Because not many people experience their surroundings like this — from atop a ladder, creating large-scale art that the neighbors will see everyday, I suspected 24-year old Gaia might have a unique perspective to share with Neighborhood Nomads. When he replied that, “The fish were a delight to massage into the wall,” those suspicions were confirmed.

Read on for more from this artistic neighborhood nomad…

Snap Happy Easter

easter barracks row, dc 2013March 31, 2013, Washington, DC: A sunny Saturday Easter egg hunt along Barracks Row preceded this cloudy holiday and the kids of Capitol Hill got out to enjoy the day. Check out all these tiny neighborhood nomads searching up and down the city sidewalks for eggs! What can I say? This place is photogenic. It doesn’t have a bad side and it is full of beautiful families.

Neighborhood Nomads wishes yours a snap happy Easter, wherever you might be.

See the rest of my Easter photos on Barracks Row Main Street’s Picasa page.

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The Real Reason I Love It Here

culinary crawl 2013, barracks row, washington, dc

February 19, 2013, Washington, DC: It seems somewhat disingenuous to have come this far on Neighborhood Nomads without mentioning one of the main reasons I love living where I do. In truth, it’s the pizza. As someone who could eat pizza seven days a week, living mere blocks from both Matchbox and Seventh Hill, the city’s best pizza joints in my expert opinion, is a definite draw. If ever we move away from here, it’ll be pizza I crave most.

That said, I loved taking these photos at Sunday morning’s pizza class at Matchbox. The class was part of the weekend’s Culinary Crawl, during which the neighborhood was transformed into a cooking school with local chefs convening classes in their restaurants on Barracks Row and in the fabulous teaching kitchen in the nearby Hill Center. I was happy to again document the courses for Barracks Row Main Street (see the rest of my photos on their Picasa page), but mostly I felt lucky to be at Matchbox before 10 a.m. as the group talked pizza, rolled their dough, and flung it high into the air. A camera sprinkled with flour is a sign the day is off to a good start.

matchbox pizza, washington, DC

Is there any food in your neighborhood that you simply can’t live without? Divulge your favorites in the Comments section below.

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Inauguration Through the Eyes of a DC Neighbor

Inauguration 2013, Washington, DCJanuary 19, 2013, Washington, DC: Those of us who move around a lot experience many ceremonial and formal beginnings. We are accustomed to looking back and remembering the bookends — the day we arrived somewhere, the moment we settled in, the afternoon we packed up and drove away. It’s easy to recall the commencement of something new, to call up the morning the transition ended and we began again.

Inauguration weekend in Washington feels like a fitting time to recall these memories, not only due to the nature of the tradition, but because my own relationship to Washington tracks so closely with President Obama’s.

Celebrating Fall on Barracks Row

Barracks Row Fall Festival, September 22, 2012. Photo Credit: Kate Gallery

Barracks Row Fall Festival, September 22, 2012. Photo Credit: Kate Gallery

September 23, 2012, Washington, DC: Look at this place! Yesterday hundreds of people swarmed to Barracks Row for the annual fall festival on our neighborhood Main St. What I like about this festival is its odd blend of elements. The Marine Barracks at the heart of the neighborhood’s geography and identity plays a key role in the festival, opening the celebration with the presentation of colors, hosting a Military Chef’s Cook-Off, and giving tours of the Commandants Home and the barracks themselves. At the same time, drummers and swing dancers, artists, families, and foodies celebrate in the street. Walking away from the festival yesterday afternoon, I could hear drumbeats from 8th St. bouncing off buildings in one direction, and cheers and music erupting from Nationals Park in the other. I took photos of the Barracks Row Fall Festival for the organizers yesterday and included some of my favorites here. Click below to see the rest.


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