Sometimes, there are days in Washington, DC where you can’t help but marvel at the beauty surrounding you. Saturday, April 21st was one of those days.
While running an errand in Capitol Hill Saturday morning, I found that I had stumbled into a perfect Spring day. It was sunny and cool, with very little wind and barely a cloud in the sky. A great opportunity to get some fresh air.
I began my journey by walking up to Eastern Market, where I found the Saturday Flea Market in full swing. Dozens of vendors showed off their goods, and patrons browsed around to admire their handiwork. It was striking how diverse and international the selection was. “Tunisian Touch,” read one vendors sign. “Crafts from Columbia,” read another.
There was a large amount of artistic talent on display. I made a mental note to myself to return to this Flea Market and buy some art for my new apartment, which I’m moving into next month. One artist, who signed every piece as Sasim, really stood out with his DC themed interpretation of Mozart’s iconic “Starry Night” painting.
Eastern Market itself is a DC historical landmark, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. President Thomas Jefferson ordered its construction in 1805, and it was originally located in Navy Yard on 6th St between K and L Streets SE. By 1873, it was relocated to its current location.
The indoor market is home to about a dozen vendors, who sell fish, meats, cheeses, fresh produce, and groceries. In an age where Amazon Fresh can deliver your groceries in 2 hours, Eastern Market’s vendors provide an old school option for folks who want truly fresh ingredients in their home.
After a quick walk through Eastern Market, I made my way 4 blocks northeast to Lincoln Park, which was full of activity. Dog owners congregated with their furry friends, playing catch and running around. A boy zoomed around the square on a go-kart-like vehicle as his dad looked on. An extremely cute little girl was half carrying/half dragging her little brother around the dirt in an apparent attempt to help him walk.
Lincoln Park features two statues on opposite sides of a big square lawn. As I approached from Eastern Market, I first saw the Freedman’s Memorial to Abraham Lincoln. One of the first statues of Abraham Lincoln ever created, a plaque at the bottom explains that funding for the monument began when a freed slave named Mary Scott contributed $5 towards a monument of Lincoln. According to the National Park Service, the monument was completed funded by former slaves, most of whom were African-American Union soldiers.
On the opposite end of the park stands the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial. Bethune was an educator, philanthropist, and civil rights activist who served in FDR’s cabinet. She founded a school in Daytona Beach, Florida which is now known as Bethune-Cookman University.
This statue was the first erected on public land in Washington DC to feature an African American woman. The inscription at the bottom reads, “I LEAVE YOU LOVE. I LEAVE YOU HOPE. I LEAVE YOU THE CHALLENGE OF DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE IN ONE ANOTHER. I LEAVE YOU A THIRST FOR EDUCATION. I LEAVE YOU A RESPECT FOR THE USE OF POWER. I LEAVE YOU FAITH. I LEAVE YOU RACIAL DIGNITY. I LEAVE YOU A DESIRE TO LIVE HARMONIOUSLY WITH YOUR FELLOW MEN. I LEAVE YOU FINALLY, A RESPONSIBILITY TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE.”
On these rare Spring days in Washington, where the sun is shining and the weather is perfect, I feel like I have to take advantage. Capitol Hill is without a doubt one of the best places to enjoy the outdoors in this fine city.
Where do you like to get some fresh air in the nation’s capital?
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