As we’ve already established, our decision to move to Baltimore is not based on a desire to escape Washington. So, now that we are five days (and counting!) away from our Big Move, I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite things about living in DC.
Our neighbors. The day we moved into our Capitol Hill house, our neighbor Jessica introduced herself. She even handed over her car keys as she headed off to work, in case we needed to move her car to make room for our moving van. Over the next two weeks, people up and down the block introduced themselves and made us feel so welcome. That certainly never happened in Fairfax! In the time we’ve lived here, we’ve made friends we expect to keep our entire lives.
Our Front Yard. It was the Japanese maple in the front yard that sold us on the house before we ever stepped foot in it. After we bought the house, I planted herbs and perennials in place of the English Ivy that covered most of the yard. I have so cherished being able to harvest herbs from my yard when I make dinner, and am already plotting a container herb garden for the deck of our Baltimore house. Sadly, the new house has no front yard, which is much more common in Baltimore than in DC (where you mostly see it in Georgetown). I admit to being a little weirded out by it. But it seems to work for everyone else — I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
Trusty’s. What can I say? When we first moved here, we were pleased to have a selection of bars within walking distance. Then Trusty’s opened, and we had a bar within crawling distance. A real neighborhood hangout. Sauntering over to Trusty’s after work has been our Friday evening ritual for years now, and I know we will miss it.
Results the Gym. OK, I’m not a total gym rat. But I’ve really enjoyed my membership at Results. In fact, the yoga program at Results has been a vehicle for me to mature my practice and has inspired me to learn more about yoga in general. And the shower area is like a spa! That definitely helps keep me motivated. I hope to practice yoga and stay fit in Baltimore, but I doubt I’ll find a studio or gym that’s as great as Results.
Eastern Market. So awesome. Eastern Market is what the Broadway Market, Lexington Market, and Cross Street Market are no longer. The stalls have been owned by local families for decades and provide the best poultry, beef, pork, pasta, cheese, prepared sauces available in the city. Outside on weekends, there’s locally grown produce and a huge flea market. It’s a place to bring your kids and your dogs, see your neighbors, and really feel like a member of the community. I’m encouraged that a Farmer’s Market is now operating on Saturdays by the Broadway Market. And I know that the University of Maryland-Baltimore is leading the Westside Strategic Committee to revitalize West Baltimore, including the Lexington Market. I look forward to seeing the positive results of these efforts.
Being a block and half from a grocery store. Actually, we are a block and a half from two grocery stores. I expect the Harris Teeter will beat out the Safeway some day. Certainly its urban design (mixed-use building, underground parking, pedestrian entrance at from the sidewalk) is more suitable to the neighborhood than Safeway’s isolated store fronted by a huge parking lot. But even before the Harris Teeter showed up, it was nice to have the Safeway down the street. We have an ingrained habit of planning only one or two meals ahead. I have loved going for a quick daily shopping trip to prepare for dinner. Our Baltimore house is not quite so near the grocery stores, so we will need to develop new habits of planning several meals ahead.
Metro. How great is it to have a metro stop steps from your front door? Quick and easy access to so many places. Unlike many of my suburban friends, I vastly prefer taking the subway to driving. After all, I can’t read or knit if I’m driving! One of our first tasks after we move is to learn about the various mass transit options and which ones will work best for us. Of course, you know I’m happy to walk!
Capital Bikeshare. I don’t own a bike, but I plan to get one once we move. In the mean time, I’ve enjoyed making use of Capital Bikeshare, which lets you check out a bike, ride it where ever you like, then check it back in at any location. No worries about bike maintenance or security. The bike kiosks are all over the city, the bikes work fine, and it’s super easy. I’ve ridden to Georgetown, to DuPont Circle, to H Street, to the Tidal Basin, to Waterfront Park, and to the White House. I totally want to become a Real Bike Rider now.
As I said, Washington is a great city, and Capitol Hill is a wonderful neighborhood. Fortunately, we’re holding onto the house here, so we can look forward to frequent visits to our old ‘hood.