Guest Post: Living in the Neighborhood

By Rebecca Borman

I never actually lived in Washington, D.C., but I lived in a Virginia suburb for more than twenty-five years.  And, as often as I could, especially in the summer, I would make my way into the city.  I enjoyed the theaters, the museums, the Mall and monuments, and the neighborhoods.  For some reason, I gravitated to the Dupont Circle area.  So, for my trip this year I decided that instead of renting a room in a hotel, I would try out the concept of a VRBO in that neighborhood.

It didn’t begin particularly well.  Just as my Lyft was pulling up to the curb, the skies opened up.  The owner had told me that the keys were in an envelope in the utility closet down the stairs, which sounded easy enough.  But it was dark and raining.  I finally found the keys, and the kind Lyft driver helped me get my suitcase up the steps and into the hallway.  By then, I was soaked to the skin, and I wasn’t in a good frame of mind.  However, the next morning, when the sun was out and I was rested, I looked around the room and then the neighborhood and decided it was going to be just fine…..

I had a few things I wanted to do while I was in the city, but I didn’t really have a schedule.  So, the first morning I wandered around the area, identifying a near-by Safeway, a great little coffee shop, and several promising restaurants.  I also verified that it was an easy walk to the Dupont Circle Metro Station.  Yes, this is what I had wanted…to have the feel of being a resident, if only for a few days.

The rest of the week was a lovely combination of revisiting some of my favorite DC places and catching up with old friends.  On the first afternoon, I spent several hours at the National Gallery of Art, one of many free Smithsonian Museums on the Mall.  I admired the permanent Impressionist Exhibit, one of the best in the world,…..

and was delighted to discover that there was a large exhibit of one of my favorite Italian Renaissance painters……

On my morning walk, I’d noticed a sign advertising an exhibition on “The Queens of Egypt” at the National Geographic Museum, so I spent several hours there another day.  It was fantastic!  There’s so much to choose from in this city of museums and historical sites.

But even more, I enjoyed the chance to visit with friends, all of whom I’d taught with.  We reminisced with fondness about our days at Bishop Ireton High School.  And of course we talked about our current lives. Some are still working and rearing children and others, like me, are staying busy during retirement.  We enjoy common interests, and one of my evenings included three of us seeing a play at my favorite theater. I sometimes forget how wonderful it is to have long-time friends, women who knew me when I was a younger person……

And what tied it all together was my pleasure in staying on a quiet street, where I watched people going to and from work, walking their dogs, or carrying bags of groceries from the Safeway down the block.  For just a few days I could start my day like a local, in a coffee shop observing neighbors sharing their news and opinions.  One night I walked a mile to what is known as the U Street Corridor and had a chili dog at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl.  And, when I wanted, I did as city people do and rode the subway to pretty much anywhere in the city.

Living in a DC neighborhood was a good start to my East Coast Swing.

(continued tomorrow)

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