Distance run: 5.61
I have a confession to make. Yesterday, I didn't actually run HOME from the Metro :/. I know, I know. It's the POINT of the BLOG! But before all four of my readers stop reading in contempt, hear me out. I have a car. A cute little blue jelly bean of a car. And it was sick so I took it to the car doctor. (More correctly, the boyfriend-type person took it to the car doctor, because he is nice like that.) So little blue jelly bean car has been sitting at the car doctor waiting for me. The car doctor is located approximately 1.5 blocks past the Clarendon Metro station, and closes at 5 pm, so my only option was to pick up the little car before work one day. It seemed like a no-brainer to me. So, I ran TO Clarendon, and was immediately reminded why I do not commute to work in my little blue car...rush hour is horrifying.
But about my run. It started like any other: Planned my route, checked the temperature (wind chill 16...oh boy this will be fun), put on some clothes (lest anyone should think I forgot that step) and I was off. Route planning is already starting to get a little difficult, because there are so many things that could be easily repeated, and so many things that I don't want to miss! But in the end I settled on this, the most obvious route (to me) and one that offered lovely scenic views of the sunrise over the Potomac (but more on that later).
Let me reiterate that it was insanely cold. And windy. And still dark when I left, which made taking pictures...interesting. The first nearly mile of the run wasn't terribly exciting. At least to me. Running straight up Porter from Connecticut Ave to Wisconsin Ave is something I do all the time. But I didn't go quite all the way to Wisconsin. I went to Idaho!
Idaho can be found crossing Wisconsin at one of the weirdest intersections ever, and then proceeding through my old neighborhood to Massachusetts, where it disappears into the woods...That brings me to my old neighborhood. I used to live in McLean Gardens off the Wisconsin Ave corridor. The property along Wisconsin Avenue has a long history, but most interestingly it was owned at one time by John Roll McLean, who owned The Washington Post at the time. The family in the area is well-documented...you might have heard of a little place called McLean, Virginia? Same guy. His family owned the land and a very dramatic mansion on it for over 40 years. (His daughter was one of the owners of the Hope Diamond, ooh la la!) But, there was, as there often was in the upper crust of olde, drama, intrigue and divorce. The family sold the land to the federal government in 1941, who promptly built dorms. Well, really dorm-style apartments, but they were built to house all the Defense workers at the start of WWII. The history isn't so colorful after the war, but it remains a lovely place to live and I like living somewhere with a bit of a back story.
|CACTUS. Say no more.|
|Burka's: the finest liquor store I've ever seen|
The other great thing about this neighborhood? This old school Giant and the neighborhood war that has ensued over its redevelopment (slated to include...CONDOS! The HORROR!). If you have several extra hours to read, the vitriol spewed by those opposed and in favor of the development is fascinating. All Life is Local has been recapping.
|Much less blurry than the last one...|
I continued down Wisconsin Ave through an interminable array of condos and apartment buildings and very nice houses called Cathedral Heights. I passed the Russian Embassy on the way. (Not all the embassies are clustered around Embassy Row on Massachusetts Ave).
South of Cathedral Heights is Glover Park. It's not really metro-accessible, so I know a lot of people who have never been there, but it's a really nice area, bordered on one side by the National Observatory, which is where the Veep lives (but I'll get to that in another post). I always wondered who this Glover person was, and according to Wikipedia, he was responsible for Rock Creek Park and for Embassy Row, due to his generous donations of land. What a stand-up guy! Glover Park has more lovely, expensive homes and some nice shops and restaurants, a great park, and a Vespa dealership!
|Glover Park along Wisconsin Ave|
|Blacked-out windows...I'm sure |
the neighbors LOVE Good Guys
A little bit down the road is something I've ridden past on my bike like a million times, but never bothered to look up or investigate.
|The holiest of roods. Which means cross, for those of |
you who never had to study really old English in school...
Across the street from this ancient and venerated ground is what purports to be the "Holiday Inn Washington-Georgetown." All I'll say is that if I booked online thinking I was going to be staying in Georgetown and then I ended up at this crappy Holiday Inn 1/2 mile up the road from Georgetown with a view of Wisconsin Ave and a cemetery, I'd be perturbed.
Down Wisconsin a bit further is like art and culture central, with the British School of Washington, Corcoran College of Art and Design, and the parking lot where the hold the Georgetown Flea Market on the weekends. Highly recommend the Flea Market. I turned right on 34th Street across from the ridiculously awesome, rebuilt 24-hour social Safeway (if you're not familiar with DCers' naming of their Safeways, Prince of Petworth has a good list from two years ago), to run through some 'hoods on my way to Virginia.
I cut over and made a detour to 35th Street to run by Duke Ellington School of the Arts, which boasts the second-most famous big chair in DC (the first, and purportedly the world's largest, being in Anacostia). It's small and green in the first picture, larger and still green in the second.
|Duke Ellington School for the Arts|
|Chair. Big and green.|
Mars Volta? Anyone? Ok then. That's where I ran into something ELSE I've never seen. It's a mysterious and dramatic building. The plaque says "Volta Bureau." The internet, via the NPS, informed me that it's a historic building, constructed by Alexander Graham Bell to be a center of information for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It went through a few iterations, but eventually the Volta Bureau (named for the Volta Prize Bell got from the French) merged with the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, and it's here now as the Volta Laboratory and Bureau.
Side note: On 34th Street at Volta is an awesome outdoor pool that's free for DC residents, if you're feeling in an aquatic mood.
A bit farther I heard this awesome church bell dinging, so I stopped to take a picture, but unfortunately I wasn't able to find anything out about the church. Anyone?
|I also saw cobblestones, and remnants of DC's old streetcar line.|
Past the park, finally I was on my way to Virginia, across the Francis Scott Key Bridge (he's popular around here...) commonly known as just the Key Bridge. Apparently, the Key Bridge in a previous incarnation was actually an aqueduct! I'm learning so much :). Side note, I think it's fitting that the bridge is bookended by Francis Scott Key Park in DC, and the Key Bridge Marriott in VA, which is decidedly one of the ugliest hotels I've ever seen. Point, DC.
|Frozen Potomac and glaring sunrise|
I continued on Lynn St. through Rosslyn, then turned right on Wilson, which is an evil, evil hill that was at the time full of people on their way to work who looked even unhappier than the girl running uphill in 20-degree weather. Once on Wilson, I was honestly not sure where to start taking pictures, because I will have to cover the stop/neighborhood AFTER Rosslyn, Courthouse, in another post as well. Apparently I'm not the only person confused by these boundaries. Wikipedia lists four separate sets of boundaries to be used to define Clarendon. I rest my case.
I started picture-taking with this place I used to go to long ago, when I lived in Arlington:
I actually enjoy a lot of the shops in Clarendon, and used to hang out there a lot when I crossed the river for non-blog-related purposes. Apparently, a century ago, Clarendon was Arlington's original "downtown," thanks to the streetcar lines that went through the middle of this part of the city. In the 70s it also used to be known as "Little Saigon," but that concentration of Vietnamese restaurants and grocery stores has since moved farther out into the suburbs. Now, Clarendon is upscale and largely populated by apartments and corporate chains. It also hosts a huge cycling race every summer, the Clarendon Cup, which has gone through several iterations and is now a part of the Air Force Cycling Classic (proudly brought to you, apparently, by Northrup Grumman).
awesome site, was built in the late 1920s-early 1930s with stones from a retaining wall from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The site also says they MOVED the entire thing to Courthouse for safety reasons at one point, and then in the 1980s (a time of great reason, I'm told), they moved it right back to its original spot.
What this picture doesn't show is that the monument is basically in the middle of a traffic median, so I stood there like an idiot waiting for cars for a few minutes before making my way to the car doc (and passing my SECOND Vespa dealership of the day). My drive back to DC reminded me why I do not drive from Virginia into DC to get to work: traffic.
|The white van in front of me claims to be |
a "proffesional." I highly doubt that.