Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Serious Heat Means Sirius Rising

The dog days of summer traditionally refer to the hottest days of the year when Sirius the dog star rules the heavens, but in my mind I see a bunch of exhausted dogs lying prostrate on porches.
And in Washington, where the air is often deemed unfit for breathing, I feel for the canines and spend an inordinate amount of time hanging around the frozen food sections in grocery stores or any place with good air conditioning.
Still summer is a precious time so the writers here at DC ROCKS have come up with Summer Lists to remind us just why DC rocks, and why we still like living here even as the heat clamps down.

So far my favorite moment of the summer was waking up to the sound of rain Fourth of July weekend in a tent under a magnolia in St Michaels, Maryland about thirty feet from the water. It was one of the coolest holiday weekends I can remember, and "the rain" was just the rustling of leaves overhead. But any place in and around Washington where there is an abundance of water is a good place and that's not hard to find. Here are a few of the other places I like to go:


My favorite summer activity used to be getting a sandwich from Harold's Deli on M, then taking it to the garden of the Old Stone House. The deli's gone, but the Stone House remains unchanged so find a picnic and try it. I also like to hang out in the church yard of Grace Episcopal down Wisconsin, almost to the river. A great place to sit and muse about things and only a stone's throw from the hullabaloo at Wisconsin and M.
Or have breakfast at an outdoor table at the original Booeymonger on Prospect Street. Again off the beaten path. Georgetown feels a little like Europe back there. And it's inches from Georgetown Cupcakes- a ridiculously wonderful confectionery.

Iota's back patio
. Pretty much a year round favorite though summer is the best. Many memories are piled up back there before, after and even during shows.

Dupont Circle One of the most beautiful spots in DC. Hit the Farmer's Market on Sunday and take something to eat over to the fountain. The bike messengers used to hang out there summer evenings.

Bishop's Garden of The National Cathedral I love the stone gazebo and the lawn. You can pretend you live here and are being benevolent towards the tourists.

Glen Echo I stuck my head in the Spanish Ballroom for the first time since it was restored last Saturday night and was stunned at how beautiful it is. While away a summer evening at a dance there or in the bumper car pavilion. Walk over to the old street car displayed out front and ponder how someone actually thought it would be a good idea to do away with that mode of transportation.

Maine Avenue Old time D.C. Fishmongers on floating barges. Total chaos on Friday evenings when everyone is down there buying anything from crabs to eels. Or you can stand right there at the docks and eat oysters on the half shell shucked moments before, now sitting pretty on a Styrofoam plate.

Lyn2's Favorite Summer Haunts:

Fletcher's Boat House - river dogs, water, people, my sister's picnic table. What more could you want?

Washington Harbor - It totally sucks on weekends, but that means it finally reached its intended purpose- which was to be a destination. I ran around the site from hole in the ground to grand opening because my sister Maude was a property manager for the project. Just west are the remains of an old building that had a ledge where I used to sit with a friend with our feet out over the water and drink sweet, white, German wine that cost $3.00 a bottle.

The Fox and Hounds or anywhere with outdoor tables. One place I mean to go more: Local 16 roof. One spot that is oddly comforting: Stetson's patio where you can watch the rat races up and down the walls; the AC isn't working inside anyway.

Fort Reno concerts - A 40 year tradition and fun for all ages and all types. Just sitting on a lawn chair or blanket on a summer evening watching a variety of music and chatting with friends is so pleasant you wonder why you don't do this every night. Unfortunately it's over for this year, but I got to go once this summer with my daughter Nicole, who is nearly 21. Ft. Reno is where I met her dad in 1979.

Eating lunch in McPherson Square, Franklin Square, Farragut Square or Lafayette Park. My Dad always liked eating in the park when he worked downtown, and his favorite lunch was a half smoke and a beer. Times have changed, but you can still have a coke with no hassle.

Rehoboth Beach -
To me Rehoboth has a bit of all the things a beach needs- yes, sand, surf a boardwalk etc., but also Planet X, Dogfish Head and other touches of class.

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