District Yuletide Traditions, Olde and New

The District has some great holiday traditions – from the lighting of the National Christmas Tree and Menorah, to the decorations in the lobby of the Willard Hotel, to present shopping in Georgetown.

But there’s always room for making new history, and so I added a couple of traditions to my holiday list this year.

One was Holiday Primetime Libations at the new Union Market.

I managed to catch the last of these end-of-week happy hours this past Friday, and it made me wish I had gone sooner. What better way to get into the the holiday spirit than by imbibing a few?

We sat at the bar of the excellent soda shop Buffalo & Bergen, which acquired its liquor license just this month. Lucky for us, because veteran DC mixologist Gina Chersevani whips up a great punch, as well as a cocktail list guaranteed to keep you warm.

Holiday spirits at Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market.
Holiday spirits at Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market.

The other new tradition on the list was ice skating with a view of the Potomac.

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Floodgate

It’s often said that Washington, D.C. was built on a swamp – usually in August, when the humidity in the District is unbearable. While that’s not entirely true, the Georgetown waterfront certainly looks like one right now.

The Potomac River flooded after a weekend of heavy rains, and by Monday the river had risen up to 12 feet.

Normally floodwalls are raised to protect Washington Harbour, the restaurant and office complex on the waterfront. The modern floodwalls were part of the original construction, and have been used successfully dozens of times since they were built in 1986.

But this time, a section of the wall wasn’t raised early enough. Muddy water gushed into the Harbour complex, which is conveniently shaped like a crescent bowl.

Washington Harbour Flooding
Washington Harbour flooding (Photo: Alex Greenlee, DCist)

A week later on Earth Day, the Harbour is still closed as a clean-up crew deals with the effects of Mother Nature.

Of course, this all got me thinking about historic floods in the District.

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