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Science, Science

Washington D.C.' s green streak

Posted by Hannah / June 5, 2006

washington-dc.jpg "The city's nickname is the City of Trees," a friend told me over dinner at Lauriol Plaza, a massive three or four story Mexican eatery that's crowded nightly. The restaurant has won the Washington Post's "Best Mexican Food" award--and it is good--but I suspect it was the frosty, salty margaritas that pulled it up to the top of the list. (The salsa they bring you as you settle into your table is good too, but I like a little more salt on my freshly fried tortilla chips.) My recent addiction to old episodes of Homicide had left me with a craving for Maryland crab. How could I say no to crab enchilladas? I was not disappointed.

But back to the City of Trees. I used to live in D.C., but walking around its streets last week, I was struck by the number of tree-lined semi-residential streets and the leafy respite they offered from the humidity. Between 1973 and 1999, the city of D.C. lost roughly half its trees, says Audobon Naturalist News. But a 2001, $50 million dollar grant, pumped more green into the city's canopy.

There's a bit of a green theme going through the city these days.

Best event on D.C.'s green tour is the National Building Museum. Get there by hopping on the Metro's air conditioned red line train and rising out of the city's depths at Judiciary Square. The park is a tribute to the country's cops who have died in the line of duty. The red brick building is a semi-replicate of an Italian palace in Rome. It's elegant from the outside, but spectacular inside. The central atrium rises 159 ft around a fountain, and supported by massive faux-marble columns. It's ringed by balconies and arches, and by white plaster busts that represent the trades involved in building construction. Washington%20001.jpgAlthough the building originally housed the Pension bureau from 1887, it's had many tenants and risked demolition multiple times. It took an act of congress to turn it into the museum it is today.

Soon after I landed, I headed to the museum to take in its green building exhibit. The exhibit is designed for the individual curious about incoporating green building materials into their home renovations and for those following the prefab housing renaissance. aaaglidehouse.jpg A version of Michelle Kaufman's Glidehouse has been erected within the gallery space and lets visitors poke through the kitchen cabinets and relax on the 'sun porch', while reading little tags that explain materials, energy efficiency and sustainability. It's also highly tactile, encouraging you to caress bamboo floors and recycled paper counter tops. There are also plenty of pictures and models of residential green houses from around the world to examine and dream about.

There are plenty of museums and monuments to see in D.C. It's not my cup of tea, but if it's yours, consider City Segway Tours. At least it gives the rest of us something to giggle at. Washington.jpg

Instead, tour the lettered and numbered streets for spectacular brick and stone buildings. Stop in at the ecclectic and inviting Tabard Inn for a drink or for dinner. (There's a patio in the back, or in winter, fireplaces in their many lounges.) And if you stay the night, you'll be so pleased you with your room that you'll forget that you missed all your favourite HBO shows. The hotel even owns the potato chip factory, Route 11, and sells bags for 75 cents a piece. Also worth a visit are the lobby and bar of the Hotel Willard. Pure decadence.

Discussion

9 Comments

Swathi / February 5, 2015 at 05:53 am
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That is cute! My camera has a litlte video recorder, but the quality is not great. I just might post a video now on my page....Can't wait to see some of yours!And thank you for the sweet comments! I have loved getting to know you! It has been fun! You are so kind and funny! :)
Swathi / February 5, 2015 at 05:54 am
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That is cute! My camera has a litlte video recorder, but the quality is not great. I just might post a video now on my page....Can't wait to see some of yours!And thank you for the sweet comments! I have loved getting to know you! It has been fun! You are so kind and funny! :)
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