Summer

Get Your Splash On

Splash Zone at Navy Yard!

Splash Zone at Navy Yard!

Summer is here, which means all I want to do is play in water. But sometimes getting all geared up to go to the pool is more than I have the time or energy for. And if I had little ones, I can imagine that it would be nice to have a fun (and free!) alternative to the constant monitoring required at a swimming pool. Enter: DC’s splash parks! These are fantastic mini-waterparks scattered throughout the city that feature jets of water spraying up out of the ground.

Here’s POPville’s great round up of DC Spray Parks:

14th and Park Road Spray Park – 14th Street and Park Road, NW. This fountain has a mosaic tile surface with multiple jets of water. There is seating along the low perimeter wall.

Pros: Easily accessible via public transportation and parking, close to shopping and restaurants
Cons: Very crowded at all times, no shade

Chevy Chase Spray Park (aka Livingston Park) – 5500 41st Street, NW. The spray area has a concrete surface and is within the same fenced area as the playground.

Pros: Large park with a nice playground, shaded
Cons: Can be crowded

Friendship Spray Park (aka Turtle Park) – 4500 Van Ness Street, NW. There are several ground-level fountains that wet most of the 20’ x 20’ enclosed area. There are a couple of benches that are not guaranteed to be out of the spray zone.

Pros: Large park with nice playground and sandbox, shaded, communal toys and tricycles
Cons: Small and basic spray area, tile surface broken, not convenient to public transportation

Palisades Spray Park – 5200 Sherier Place, NW. Ground-level jets, dumping buckets, and a small water slide are on a rubberized surface. There are shaded picnic tables nearby.

Pros: Brand new facility with adjacent playground, shaded, dedicated parking
Cons: Crowded, mixed ages in the same play area can result in roughhousing and little ones not being able to use some features

Petworth Spray Park – 801 Taylor Street, NW. The spray area is enclosed but separate from the playground. The spray area features ground-level jets, dumping buckets, and carwash-style run-throughs. There are several benches.

Pros: Elaborate and large spray area, adjacent playground
Cons: Not shaded

Downtown Silver Spring fountain – 916 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, MD. There are many ground-level jets on a mosaic surface about 20’ across. There is shaded makeshift seating along the perimeter wall.

Pros: Easily accessible by public transportation and parking, nearby shops and restaurants
Cons: Unenclosed area with many passersby

Westminster Park – 911 Westminster Street NW. Ground-level jets shoot across the area at the center of the park. The water area is in the same fenced area as the playground.

Pros: Shaded, communal toys and tricycles, rubber surface
Cons: Small park

Georgetown Waterfront – 3000 K Street, NW. The waterfront fountain is both pretty and fun. The water on the rubberized surface gets gradually deeper to about 8”.

Pros: Large water area where kids can wade and splash, duck feeding nearby
Cons: Can be difficult or expensive to park

National Zoo American Trail Exhibit – 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Ground-level jets spray at alternating intervals, and a periodic “high tide” washes over the entire area.

Pros: Kids can splash along side the sea lions
Cons: Small area can get congested, no seating

Yards Park – 355 Water Street, SE. A new waterfront facility. The spray/water play area includes a shallow pool, waterfall, and ground-level jets.

Pros: Large pool doesn’t get too crowded, shaded areas with tables and chairs available
Cons: Driving and parking can be a hassle.

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Union Market Summer Round Up!

My most recent piece for Eater DC is a “Summer Update” on Union Market – the newest vendors, the current pop-ups, and the fun summer events planned for the season! Since Eater only posts one photo with my pieces (and doesn’t always use one of mine), here’s the piece including the full lineup of my photos!

New Vendors

District Fishwife – Selling the freshest of seafood alongside a rotating menu of seafood dishes for dining in at the market. The fish & chips are the one constant on the menu, and a must-try.

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Bidwell – “Roof-to-table” cuisine by Chef John Mooney, whose popular NYC restaurant Bell, Book & Candle is known for the rooftop garden that supplies its produce. He’s working to create a similar garden on the roof of Union Market. Menu items center around traditional comfort foods — roasted chicken, deep-fried deviled eggs, braised short ribs — but there are a few surprises too, like the raclette grilled cheese and venison chili.

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Ris – Chef Ris Lacoste’s stall is stocked with grab-and-go staples ideal for the busy Washingtonian looking for an easy, homemade meal: chicken, veal, fish and vegetable stocks, entrees like meatloaf and crab cakes, chicken and egg salads, side veggies like marinated beets and pickled peppers. She’s got your sweet tooth covered too, with hand pies, puddings, and beverages like her strawberry sage lemonade.

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Dolcezza Coffee Lab + Gelato Factory – Technically not in the market, but on the block right behind it. Worth a summertime visit if you’re in the area — sample gelatos, tour the factory, and fuel up on their gourmet coffee.

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Current Pop-Ups

Teaism – Dozens of teas, tea accessories, and exhibitions of work by local artists.

No. 1 Sons Pickles – Local fermented foods artisans; pickles, kimchi, and kraut all naturally fermented in barrels.

Toki Underground – H Streets infamous ramen and dumpling shop is dishing up “street food breakfast” every Tue-Sat, starting at 8am until they sell out of food. Ramen can be found on the rotating menu, but there is also bao (steamed buns stuffed with tasty fillings), other soups, noodle bowls and rice bowls.

The Suburbia Trailer – Back for the summer, customers can’t miss the shiny Airstream trailer parked out in front of the market. Grab a beverage or adult sno-cone, all expertly curated by Mixtress Gina Chersevani herself.

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Summertime Events 

Angelika Theater Pop Up – Now Open
The warehouse next door to the Dolcezza Lab has been transformed into a 3-screen theater complete with gourmet snacks, offering patrons a sample of the Angelika experience until the theater opens next year.

Suburbia BBQ – July 5th
The Suburbia Trailer joins forces with Red Apron Butcher, offering 6 Sam Adams beers on Draft, 2 Sam Adams cocktails on Draft, Sam Adams Flav-or-Ice, and hot dogs from Red Apron. There will even be a hot dog eating contest!

Annual DC Scoop – July 19th
An artisanal ice cream competition and celebration complete with face painting, photobooths, and if years past are any indication, plenty of free samples.

Union Market Drive-In – TBD
The drive-in movie series was super popular last year, so the powers that be are trying to get it on the schedule again for this year, but the plans have yet to be ironed out.

Mason Jar Lanterns: DIY Design Tutorial

 

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I am totally enamored with these beautiful blue mason jars from Ball. You may remember that I used them for gifting cookies to friends and family over the holiday. Now that the weather is *finally* warming up, I’ve turned them into lovely little hanging lanterns for my backyard. It’s super budget-friendly DIY Design project that any of you can do; here’s how!

What you’ll need:

-Mason Jars: 1 per lantern

-Kosher Salt (or other large-grained salt): enough to fill each lantern about 2/3

-Votive or tea light candles

-Chain of choice, cut into 2-foot pieces (available at Home Depot, etc. I chose the smallest silver chain they had available. They’ll cut the chain for you on the spot in the store.)

-18-gauge wire, ideally same color as your chain

-Pliers (mine, pictured below, also cut wire. But you can just use needle-nose pliers and a pair of scissors if you don’t have the fancy wire-cutting kind.)

– Optional: Strong scissors (if pliers don’t cut wire).

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Fill your jars with enough salt to make it easy to reach the candles for placement and lighting. But make sure the salt level is low enough that the wick is beneath the top of jar. The whole point of the lantern is to keep the wick protected from the wind! I usually fill the jars about 2/3 of the way with salt.

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Cut a piece of wire that is 2-3 inches long. Take one of your 2-foot pieces of chain; starting with one end, loop it around the jar so it lays as flat as possible underneath the grooves at the top of the jar. Then loop the piece of wire through the links so that the chain is hugging the jar very snugly, and twist once to secure tightly in place.

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Using your pliers, tighten the wire loop and then twist the ends tightly two or three times. Once the wire is twisted tightly into place, cut the excess length off of the wire. The little twisted link that you just made will blend right into the chain. IMG_3489IMG_3490

Now you have a nice snug necklace wrapped around the top of the jar, with one long loose piece of chain hanging off of it, like so:

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Take the last link on the loose end of the chain and fasten it to the exact opposite side of the jar opening using the same technique described above, forming the loop that you will use to hang the jar.

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And that’s it! Hang from tree branches, a shepherd’s hook, your fence, or anything else that protrudes and is strong enough to securely hold these babies.

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