Something’s Brewing in Blagden Alley

Most people’s instincts are to avoid alleys. At least in fiction and film, nothing good ever comes from taking a wrong turn into one.

But when it’s the opening of a new coffee shop in an old District alley way, you can’t keep me away.

Saturday morning I ventured into Blagden Alley in the historic Shaw neighborhood for a first taste of La Colombe. It’s a trailblazing coffee company from Philadelphia, with cafes also in New York, Chicago, and Seoul. They’ve recently been supplying coffee to some notable D.C. restaurants, and have finally opened an outpost here in the District.

La Colombe, D.C.'s newest coffee shop in historic Blagden Alley.
La Colombe, D.C.’s newest coffee shop in historic Blagden Alley.

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A Tale of Two Statues

This weekend I visited two statues in the District I’ve been meaning to see for a long time now.  Sometimes it takes an out-of-town visitor to make it happen, and luckily I had a great one – my friend and former co-worker Heather, who was visiting from Johannesburg.

There she’s known better as 2Summers, which is a fantastic blog about life in South Africa – but particularly about the under-appreciated city of Johannesburg. She calls herself a destination advocate, which is how I feel about D.C.

One of our destinations on this trip was Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X), for a photography session with some of the park’s eclectic statues. The one she was particularly interested in learning more about is almost hidden in the northwest part of the park, and is called Serenity.

It looks like a weathered, marble Greek goddess from antiquity, but it turns out she’s much younger – only the years have not been kind to her. And neither have Washingtonians.

2Summers communing with the Serenity statue in Meridian Hill Park.
2Summers communes with the Serenity statue in Meridian Hill Park. (Photo: Historic District)

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Pre-Occupied D.C.

A tent city of protesters springs up in our nation’s capital during a severe economic downturn. After several months of Bonus Army Posteroccupying government property and the public’s imagination, the protesters are finally evicted as police raid the camps and destroy the temporary shantytowns.

While this might be ripped from today’s headlines, I’m not talking about the end of the Occupy D.C. movement, which has spent the past several months camped in the city’s McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza parks.

This is the story of D.C.’s very first group of occupiers (not counting the British during the War of 1812) – the Bonus Army, which staked its tents in our nation’s capital eighty years ago.

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Tourist-In-Chief?

Tourists at the Lincoln Memorial this afternoon were surprised to find a very prominent visitor in their midst – President Obama.

Obama made the quick trip from the White House today not to take in the sights, but to make a point.

Obama - Lincoln Memorial - Getty Images
President Obama, Tourist-In-Chief? (Photo: Getty Images)

All of the memorials, Smithsonian museums, and other government-funded tourist attractions would have been closed this weekend if Congress hadn’t compromised on a temporary spending bill.

The District narrowly avoided a government shutdown last night – incidentally on my birthday – when it passed the bill just a couple of hours before a midnight deadline.

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