June 19, 2011, Washington, DC: What a weekend! It feels like waking up from a dream. In the blink of a tired eye, our friends and families have packed their cars and said their goodbyes, and we have traveled back up the Northern Neck to the city, our city, of Washington, DC. Tomorrow will bring airports and foreign countries, but today, in sheer and utter happiness exhaustion, we embrace the familiarity of home. All day, we have looked forward to picking up a pizza from our favorite neighborhood joint, Matchbox, and collapsing on the couch in our cozy, octagonal living room. It’s the perfect way to recall the weekend, to try our hardest to remember every detail before the memories fade away. There is no place right now I’d rather be.
This moment of satisfied calm is probably a good time to describe the place we call home. Home since November has been a lovely little apartment on Capitol Hill on the second floor of an old blue row house. Its bay windows let in massive sunlight over our quiet but active tree-lined city street, tucked away seven blocks behind the U.S. Capitol Building. Just how much I love this apartment and this neighborhood has been a delightful surprise.
One hundred yards from our front door is the Eastern Market Metro stop. A fleet of red beach cruisers are perched there at one of the city’s many Capital Bikeshare stations, always ready for us to hop on a bicycle and pedal to a nearby restaurant, friend’s house or baseball game. The public library is three doors down. Eastern Market – a city food market that’s been humming since 1873 – is two blocks up the street. Outdoor tables line the cafes and coffee shops along 7th and 8th Streets a block to our north and east. Our immediate surroundings include more than one incredible pizza joint and more than a dozen friendly bars. We live among families young and old who seem genuinely happy to be here. We live among neighbors invested in the businesses around the corner.
I can safely say I’ve lived in some truly spectacular neighborhoods in my life — from Montreal’s Westmount to San Francisco’s Russian Hill and Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Eastern Market is certainly among the great ones.