D.C. Confidential: Personal Favorites

Dane Kennedy | Dec 1, 2007

Everyone who lives or works in or around our nation's capital has favorite places in the city that most visitors are not aware of—one reason, of course, that they are personal favorites. At the risk of ruining a good thing for the locals, members of the Local Arrangements Committee have agreed to reveal some of the places they like to frequent.

Kristin Ahlberg recommends the Alexander Calder room at the National Gallery of Art, where you can stand transfixed by the movement of the mobiles and the interplay between shadows and light.

Carolyn Brown likes Roosevelt Island, a densely wooded, seemingly remote natural enclave located on the Potomac River between Georgetown and Rosslyn. A memorial to Teddy Roosevelt stands at its center. Another favorite spot is the Georgetown waterfront, with its dock, restaurants, and views of the Kennedy Center and Roosevelt Island.

Susan Burch says that the best cake you'll ever eat is found at Cake Love (1506 U St. NW). She also appreciates the cozy atmosphere and reasonable prices at Mama Ayesha's (1967 Calvert St. NW).

Sharon Cohen's family enjoys the outdoor ice skating rink at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and the experimental plays performed by the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company (641 D St. NW). Her daughter suggests nightclubs Fur (33 Patterson St. NE), Platinum (915 F St. NW), Home (911 F St. NW), and Play (1219 Connecticut Ave. NW).

Alison Games enjoys the behind-the-scenes tour at the Washington National Cathedral (you get to climb the tower), a walk or run in the woods of Battery Kemble Park, and a trip to the Pope-Leighey House (one of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian homes) at Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria.

Matthew Gilmore's favorite places to eat include Zengo (781 7th St. NW), with its Latin-Asian fusion, and the contemporary French-Indian cuisine at IndeBleu (707 G St. NW). His favorite historic places include Tudor Place (1644 31st St. NW) and the Interior Museum (in the Department of the Interior Building, 1849 C St. NW).

Jeffrey A. Harris frequents Logan Tavern (1423 P St. NW), a neighborhood institution; Rosemary's Thyme (1801 18th St. NW), an eastern Mediterranean restaurant with legendary half-price bottles of wine; and Otello (1329 Connecticut Ave. NW), with some of the best Italian food around.

Dane Kennedy is fond of two examples of Victorian Orientalist décor: the amazing Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery (on the Mall), a dining room designed by James McNeill Whistler for a British shipping baron in 1876–77, now permanently installed in the museum; and the bar hidden at the back of the Hotel Lombardy (2019 I St. NW), where the rich velvet chairs and draperies and the arabesque tables and lamps create a baroque haven from the hectic city.

Lindsay Moore loves the impressionist paintings at the Phillips Collection (1600 21st St. NW), which include Renoir's famous Luncheon of the Boating Party. She insists that the Chi-Cha Lounge (1624 U St. NW) has the best mojitos and sangria in town.

Whit Ridgway's choices include the C&O Canal, which runs from lower Georgetown all the way to Cumberland, Maryland; Great Falls, the Potomac's dramatic rush through a rugged and narrow gorge just a few miles west of downtown D.C.; and the Frederick Douglass House, located at 1411 W Street SE.

Kathy Steeves says that the monuments at the Lincoln Memorial end of the Mall are stunning at night. She also recommends the daily free performances at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage (6 p.m. in the Grand Foyer).

Jeffrey Stine enjoys a brisk winter walk at the U.S. National Arboretum in Northeast Washington, where you can get a great view of downtown D.C., then warm up in the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. (The arboretum can by reached by Metrobus B2 from the Stadium-Armory Metro station.) Other favorites include the Marketing Shakespeare exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library (201 East Capitol St. SE) and dinner at Bistro D'oc (518 10th St. NW), which specializes in food from France's Languedoc region.

Leslie Tentler recommends the Victorian splendor of the oft-overlooked Renwick Museum (across from the White House) and the stunning atriums of the Museum of the American Indian and the East Wing of the National Gallery.

—Dane Kennedy (George Washington Univ.) is the chair of the Local Arrangements Committee.



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