This weekend finds festivals galore happening in the area. On Saturday there are two festivals in DC and one in Clarendon that all seem worthwhile. All are metro accessible, one has a 5k and 10k race, one has famous authors, and the third has delicious Eastern Market in its path. Also, wine, hikes and vinyl after the jump.
1. The Library of Congress’ National Book Festival is 10 years old this Saturday, September 25, 2010. It goes from 10 am to 5:30 pm on the National Mall between 3rd Street and around 7th Street. Line up to see some of your favorite authors. The Oprah-approved Jonathan Franzen will be there plugging his bad-review resistant Freedom, and DC native Jonathan Safran Foer shows up as well. The full schedule and list of authors is here. You can also check out past readings on the Library of Congress site. One of my favorites is Robert Caro plugging the third LBJ book he wrote. Last year Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz was my fave. When someone asked him how they were able to translate his incredible The into foreign languages since he interspersed with English throughout the novel he said something to the effect of “I don’t know, but it must be fuckin’ hard to put in to Korean.” The wonderful elderly woman who was a festival volunteer and standing near the stage gave him a look that said “With that mouth this guy won the Pulitzer?” Diaz gave a great talk and then hung out in the rain chatting with adoring fans for as long as people came up to him. Poor Colson Whitehead, a great author, had to follow Diaz who had the crowd, certainly me, in further awe of one of my favorite writers. Whitehead did not disappoint those who stayed though. The Book Festival is on the National Mall, so if seeing some of our nation’s great monuments to poetry and prose isn’t enough, go to a museum, a monument or just have a nice wander around and watch all the tourists and author gawkers. I took a pic of a banner they’ll have up at the festival this week as they were going up:
2. Festivals Continued: The Barracks Row Festival also takes place Saturday near the Eastern Market metro station just a few stones throws from the National Mall. The Barracks Row Festival looks to be a fun, local way to kill a day, and the cheerleaders are going to show, if that’s your thing. Also in festival world taking place in Arlington is Clarendon Day. There’s a bunch of healthy living stuff but you should still be able to buy beer amongst the bands, kids, and healthy folks. Clarendon Day has includes Virginia Hospital Center Foundation’s Family Fun Day. So in addition to the 10k/5k/Kids Dash, music on two stages, over 50 vendors, and food from over 15 local restaurants, you can take part in fitness classes, health screenings, dancing and kid-friendly activities like face painting. The festivities take place on Saturday, Sept 25th from 11 am to 5 pm, in the area around Clarendon Metro station.
3. Grape Stomping, Paddling, Hiking, BBQ and Bands: On the way to kayaking on the Monocacy River Trail in August of this year, while just off of Highway 270 between 495 and Frederick, MD, we passed two great looking places we vowed to check out. One was the Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard where they were also having a farmer’s market at the time. For the next two weekends the vineyard is having a grape stomp with BBQ and bands. Though you will have to pay, it’s $15, gaining still gaining a mix pick. The other thing we passed on the way to the Monocacy River was Sugarloaf Mountain itself, which is maintained by a nonprofit for public use, according to them. We haven’t yet been but there are hiking and horse trails and it looks great.
4. Public Lands Day: It’s Public Lands Day Saturday, September 25, 2010, and we wanted to help get the word out. There are several local events including one with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Go help maintain your amazing public lands so they can stay pristine.
5. An Urban Hike from Van Ness to Silver Spring via Rock Creek Park’s Valley Trail and the Soapstone Valley Trail: A hike so nice we recently took it twice. Walking just half a block from the Van Ness metro you can hop straight in to the woods and walk about six miles to Silver Spring. The Soapstone Trail has yellow trail markers, the Valley Trail’s are blue. The Valley Trail runs parallel to Beach Drive and splits in to two at several points, either of which you’ll be safe on. It’s getting off at the right time that can be tricky. When leaving Rock Creek Park the trail forks, and you walk on West Beach Drive turning right to walk up Portal or N Portal Dr. NW at the final frontier of DC before crossing in to the pleasant streets of Silver Spring, Maryland. Once you hit Silver Spring, whether you’re close to home or headed toward the metro at the end of a hike there are a few worthwhile spots to hit, all within an easy stroll of the Silver Spring metro stop. The first is Joe’s Record Paradise, by far the most expansive vinyl collection in the DC area. It’s like someone’s dream basement and on our last visit there was a live band playing that included a sitar. We picked up some Leon Russell, Cat Stevens, Notorious BIG, I believe a 99 cent Chipmunks album, and several other items. Up the block in either direction is Jackie’s which has delicious fancy adult beverages and the Quarry House, a gritty, amazing bar located in the basement stairway next to the Bombay Gaylord Restaurant. Quarry House has a ready, massive supply of fancy beers, and of course, tater tots with Old Bay seasoning. Note, in addition to wildlife and people dressed as pirates entering and exiting Piratz, you will also find a social breed of urban hiker, pleased to be in the woods though they also be in the city. Among the wild creatures we met included the attorney Bruce, who, according to him loves to hike, recently scored a free Jetblue flight, has at least two aunts, and spoke gently to a mountain lion while hiking and camping in the Grand Canyon. There was also the Walter Reed employee enthralled with Rock Creek’s beauty. A friend noted before leaving the woods to return to our paved, urban world, that these creatures seemed to be more social than the throngs of wild animals in DC’s concrete jungle.
6. Vinyl at U St. Music Hall on Sunday: There’s also another DC Record Fair this Sunday at U Steet Music Hall. If you should feel the need to hike there from somewhere, here’s a suggested route to take from the Van Ness area through Rock Creek Park and past the zoo, where there are wild animals, and lion cubs not yet on display to the public. Zoom in or out for more or less specifics or make your own route.
With another six mix picks, I bid you a wonderful weekend alongside a baby lion. May your weekend roar in with courage.