May 24, 2013: As the days lengthen and summer begins, Washington professionals begin a new sort of racing daylight. Starting around Memorial Day, we shut down our computers and bolt from the office with a renewed sense of energy and purpose. Intent on enjoying several hours of sunlight still ahead, we hurry through the downtown heat to the city’s edges, ready to maximize our time on water.
I gravitate to the edges. Though I’ve never lived oceanfront, I’ve hugged coastline as best I can, in a Chicago apartment within running distance of Lake Michigan, in a New York dorm room a short jog from Riverside Park, and in San Francisco always a precipitous walk from Bay. Our cities rivers and bays are among their best assets and guarantee we don’t need to save up vacation days to relax waterside. I’m not sure I could last someplace without access to an edge.
And so Wednesday night’s exodus leads us onto the Anacostia, the less popular of DC’s two rivers. Like the more familiar Potomac, the Anacostia routinely makes the bad lists, those revealing the nation’s most endangered and polluted rivers. Yet a weekday cruise out of the Washington Channel, around Fort McNair and northeast into this urban river reminds us of what’s worth of making an effort to restore. Like the kayakers and dragon boaters and rowers who pepper this river after work alongside runners and cyclists lining a brilliantly green Anacostia River Park, we are grateful for Washington’s waters.
Photos of our weeknight trip up the Anacostia are posted here…
June 12, 2012, Washington, DC: The boathouses of the Potomac River are a throwback to another era. The Potomac Boat Club first opened in 1869, a hub for Olympic caliber rowers, followed by the opening of the green-shingled Washington Canoe Club next door in 1904 — when Teddy Roosevelt was president and the sporting age was in full force. It’s easy to envision these boathouses as grand structures in their day, filled with elite athletes in training by day and visitors reveling in leisure time at night. It’s easy to picture the boathouses of the Potomac with a shiny new coat of paint and some twinkling lights bouncing off the water in the early evening.