My Beloved Husband came to DC this weekend, and we spent a delightful time exploring my neighborhood in between resting up from weeks of non-stop action. My BH said several times how much he approves of Cleveland Park as a neighborhood, and we exploited many of those advantages during his visit.
The National Cathedral is about a half hour walk from my apartment, and we decided to get tickets for their gargoyle tour. About half way through the construction of the cathedral, the new architect realized that people were willing to pay all kinds of money to sponsor a gargoyle and perhaps influence its design, so that became an innovative way of financing some of the building. The cathedral has both gargoyles, which have the requisite rain spout, and grotesques, which lack the water drainage feature. They are an integral part of the stone, so they can’t be added on later. There are animals, such as an elephant, a donkey, a warthog, a frog, and a wise owl. There are a number of statues that are tributes to husbands, such as the bird watcher or the dentist, who is carving away at walrus teeth. I especially liked the salacious stone carver, who faces the adjacent girls’ school, and the nearby scandalized dean.
The tour started with an indoor slideshow featuring close up pictures of the gargoyles and grotesques so we could hear the stories. That was a very wise move since many of the statues are challenging to view even with the binoculars that were supplied until they ran out. Because we had seen the pictures, it was much easier to pick out the details on the actual stone figures. I was also quite thrilled when I checked the photos on my camera and realized that I had successfully captured an image of the cathedral’s most famous denizen, Darth Vader.
My BH, the gardener, was also enchanted by the “Bishop’s Garden” at the cathedral. We enjoyed a good wander through that space, and we commented that someone obviously enjoyed purple flowers since the allium, salvia, and baptisia were all in bloom. It was a glorious spring day, and it was a treat to be outside.
On our return walk, we encountered peripheral traffic from one of the other local attractions. Cleveland Park is less than ten minutes away from the National Zoo. Although the Woodley Park metro stop is identified as the zoo stop, the experienced metro riders know that it is better to all the way to Cleveland Park because the zoo is *downhill* from there. The zoo visitors were easy to identify since they generally involved adults pushing strollers of children who were completely exhausted. If the kids weren’t exhausted, then the parents certainly were!
Cleveland Park was planned extraordinarily well. There are a few commercial blocks around the metro stop that include a small grocery store, two banks, two pharmacies, a dry cleaner, a movie theater, and a wealth of restaurants. The surrounding area is all residential, but almost everything needed for daily living is available within walking distance. My BH and I chose to check out the Mexican restaurant, which was new to me. It had excellent strawberry margaritas as well as good food, so I’ll definitely go back there. (Since I didn’t take this picture, I assume that this chap kept my BH company while I visited the restroom.)
On Monday, we decided to explore a nature trail that we had spotted on our return from the Cathedral the day before. We liked the unexpectedness of a small nature preserve in the midst of an urban area, but it was an excellent walk in the woods. The land was too small for a loop trail, but we enjoyed our return walking by the lovely houses on the neighboring streets. The land for each house is minimal, so I liked looking at what kind of garden or landscaping had been done in the front. My BH spotted several interesting plants, but I could also tell when his fingers got itchy to weed someone else’s plot.
One of the items on my DC bucket list has been to go to the Uptown Theater, a lovely art deco building right on the main drag. They are currently showing “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” which my BH and I saw last weekend, so we debated a bit about whether or not to go. As I was looking up movie times on the internet, I was intrigued that the Uptown Theater has a page on Wikipedia, so I clicked on the link. The Uptown Theater is supposed to be the best movie theater in the entire metro area, and has hosted such events at the World premieres of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jurassic Park, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Dances with Wolves. It was also one of the first theaters to show Star Wars and Apocalypse Now. Having read all that, my BH and I decided that we absolutely had to check it out.
Unlike many of the big old fashioned theaters which were subdivided into several smaller theaters years ago, the Uptown still has only one screen, but it is one of the largest screens in the DC area. The theater has a capacity of 850, down from over 1000 before a 1996 renovation, and when my BH and I discovered that it had a balcony, we decided that must be a prime viewing spot. The sound system was also excellent; when the Enterprise went to warp, there was almost a palpable thump in my solar plexus.
It was a wonderfully relaxed weekend, which my BH and I both needed, but it was also a pleasure to realize how many opportunities were within walking distance and didn’t even require a trip on the Metro.