A Capitol Night

Capitol Building

Dear Reader:

After a day acclimating ourselves to our neighborhood in Arlington, VA just across the Potomac from D.C., we hopped on the Metro yellow line and zipped over to L’Enfant Plaza, just a block over from the National Mall. Walking up Maryland Avenue toward the beautiful white dome of the U.S. Capitol, I spotted something familiar. Raised garden beds!

Raised beds in children's garden

Here was a children’s garden, sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration, General Services Administration, and the FAA Child Development Center, right in the heart of one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the world! After attending a conference about child development and learning how gardens benefit children, one of the GSA members organized the creation of this experiential garden for kids. The other groups came on board, and the garden was created in 2010–a positive example of how government entities CAN work together for the common good. Click HERE to read about the project.

Sign at the children's garden

A few steps further, still buzzing from my exciting find, I saw more garden boxes filled with flowers, veggies, and herbs. The uniquely-shaped beds were alive with birds and insects in the warm, late-afternoon air.

Garden in the Heart of D.C.

Out came my camera again . . .

Community garden, perhaps?

Check out this basil . . .

Basils

. . . summer squash?

Some sort of squash plant

I almost dropped my camera when I saw this . . . a compost bin steps from the National Mall.

Compost bin!

Okay, if we can have a real veggie garden complete with compost bins right in the middle of Washington D.C., can’t we plant community gardens in every neighborhood, housing development, condo association, and hamlet in the U.S.A.? They don’t take alot of room, they beautify the neighborhood, they are wonderful tools for children’s education and development, and the produce is nutritional and tasty.

My family, though used to my rantings about community gardening and all things composty, were anxious to view the more usual tourist sights, so on we went to the Capitol Building.

Inspiring architecture

How did they build these things without large cranes and hydrolics and electric nail guns?

Here was my thought as I stood at the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, awed by the architecture and sense of history that is seeped into the place: If every American had a chance to come to D.C., to feel the power and beauty and logic of what our founders were able to accomplish and build, we would all be inspired to be better citizens and do our best to make our country and world a better place.

(Yes, I was teary-eyed. Couldn’t help it. Imagine I’ll be a puddle of mush by the time I leave this place at the end of the summer.)

The White House

From the Capitol, we headed down Pennsylvania Avenue past the Canadian Embassy, the Newseum, the National Archives and then up into Penn Quarter with all its restaurants and hotels and twenty-somethings out for a night on the town. We walked past the Shakespeare Theatre, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the American Craft Museum, and then across the 15th St. and up around Lafayette Park to view the White House and have our picture taken.

Shaky night picture of Washington Monument

By then, dusk had turned to dark and the fireflies were out in the grassy area in front of the White House. We headed down toward the Mall where the Washington Monument was all lit up–huge, and pointy in the evening sky. Senses overloaded and feet beginning to hurt, we trekked back to L’Enfant and the Metro. Twenty minutes later, we were in Arlington safe and sound.

All in all, we had a capital Capitol night. Can’t wait to explore some more!

One response to “A Capitol Night

  1. Glad you are enjoying your time. I’ve been there twice and still find it a place of inspiration and beauty. There’s just something about a big city like D.C. or NYC that is magical to me. Maybe it’s because I never lived there. Will be anxious to hear how you like living in a large place like that.

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