Potomac River Blog – Go Out and Play

I live near Washington DC and I have a theory that sooner or later everybody comes here for one reason or another. We get the movie stars traipsing through pleading their various cases before congressman. Spring brings protestors and my favorite joke is that if you’ve never smelled tear gas in front of the World Bank, you really haven’t been to Washington. I’m kidding of course but not really. We also get the politicians, lawyers up the yang and lots of tourists in the summer.

We have the Smithsonian, live theater, three major league teams, and more memorials than you can shake a stick at. There’s plenty of design stories to write about since the money is still flowing here thanks to the federal government. The District itself has experienced a total rebirth downtown and the inner city is gentrifying at an astounding rate.

The urban renewal is generally credited (although I think not enough) to a change in the Mayor’s office that happened a few years ago. Marion Berry (yes – that Marion Berry) moved aside to make room for Tony Williams, a bean counting, bow tie wearing, Harvard educated, ex-finance dude who put the city back to work. Mr. Berry still serves on the city council. I know. Don’t get me started. They love him here.

Anyway, my point is when you live right next to something major it’s easy to take it for granted. Think about people who live on the coast but never go to the beach. I’ve driven across the Potomac river lots of times and used to putt a motor boar around in it when the damn thing would run. The Potomac is one of the two rivers that ring the city, the other one being the sadly troubled, Anacostia.

The Potomac is the one that separates DC and Maryland from Virginia and the one that George Washington allegedly through a silver dollar across. The father of our country also tried to link it to the Ohio River with a series of canals to open the west to trading – a plan squashed by the invention of the railroad. Anyway.

We vaguely know some people getting married and somehow we got invited to their engagement party which was held at Jack’s Boat Rental on the Potomac. Jack’s is a funky little river rat joint hidden under the Key Bridge in Georgetown. The place even has it’s own parking. Who knew? We took our own kayaks not knowing what to expect and were pleasantly surprised by the selection of boats to rent, the sublime location, and the conviviality of the hosts. I even got to watch a woman execute a perfect “Eskimo Roll” in her kayak.

My friend Don went swimming in the Potomac, which you’re not supposed to do and as far as I know survived the experience. We paddled upriver to a rock formation called “The Three Sisters,” that’s supposed to be haunted and saw sights from the water that I’ve never seen. All and all a quite pleasant experience. Which brings me to me point, and I do have one. If you have one of these places in your neck of the woods that you’ve never been to or one of those things that you’ve always wanted to do but never done, now’s the time. As my mom used to say, “go outside and play!”

Jacks: http://local.yahoo.com/details?id=12384173

Scott Sowers
http://www.DesignPOV.com
The Potomac River

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