Author: Andrea Kenner

U.S. Botanic Garden — and the Corpse Flower

On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, I went on a hike to the U.S. Botanic Garden with the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group. Because it was a dreary, rainy evening, it ended up just being two of us walking… hike leader Toby and me. It actually turned out to be a perfect evening for a hike, because the garden’s corpse flower was in bloom!

Corpse flower in bloom. U.S. Botanic Garden, Aug. 29, 2017
The thing was huge; the flower alone was about a little more than eight feet tall! I didn’t find it to be as smelly as people say. The air in the room was warm and humid, and if anything, I thought it smelled like a stinky old locker room or some gym socks. We got there the day after peak bloom. The flower’s size was still rather impressive, even though it had started to lean a bit.

We started our hike under the Friendship Arch in D.C.’s Chinatown.

From there, we made our way to the nearby National Law Enforcement Museum, which is currently under construction. The museum’s garden features this adorable statue of lion cubs at play. The cubs were under the watchful eye of their mom, who was guarding them from the other side of the path.

Lion cubs at play. National Law Enforcement Museum, Washington, D.C., Aug. 29, 2017

Site of the City Spring. John Marshall Memorial Park, Washington, D.C., Aug. 29, 2017
Our next stop was at the John Marshall Memorial Park, where we saw the tribute to the City Spring that you see to the left.

Below are some additional photos taken at the U.S. Botanic Garden for you to enjoy. It’s a beautiful garden, well worth a visit, regardless of whether you’re a long-time DMV native or you’re just passing through.

Chenille Plant
Datura metel
Venus flytrap

A visit to the Greenbelt Farmer’s Market — and a recipe

Barry and I went to the Greenbelt Farmer’s Market in Greenbelt, Md., last Sunday, and because we had such a good time, we went back this Sunday as well. (See map below.) I hope you enjoy this gallery of photos from our market visits. To get the gallery started, click any photo and use the back and forward buttons to see the rest of ’em.

At this morning’s visit, Barry bought me a great-smelling lemon verbena body scrub bar from Mystic Water Soap this morning. I can’t wait to try it out!

When I was looking for good ways to cook fresh green beans, I found this quick, easy green bean recipe. Because I’m from Maryland, hon, I threw 1/4 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning into the spice mix. As you can see below, the beans were both flavorful and beautiful to look at!

The final result. Yummy!

If you live in the DMV, you should definitely give the Greenbelt Farmer’s Market a try. It’s a great way to spend a summer Sunday. This year (2017), the market is open every Sunday, from now until November 19, except Labor Day, so you still have plenty of chances to get there!

Here’s the map:

Meridian Hill Park in the rain

This evening, I hiked to Meridian Hill Park with the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group as part of their Hike DC series. Meridian Hill Park is a bit off the beaten track. It’s not in a part of DC that tourists typically see. It’s situated along 16th street (see map below) and is managed by the National Park Service as part of Rock Creek Park, although the main sections of Rock Creek Park are nowhere to be seen. (See the NWS page about the park for details.)

Photo of our group taken by hike leader Toby
Our hike started and ended at Dupont Circle. Right before the hike started, we were unexpectedly hit by a drenching thunderstorm, prompting a few of us to scoot over to CVS for umbrellas. The park was unexpectedly lovely in the rain.

These weekly four-mile hikes have been a perfect way for me to train for my participation in the Avon 39 in Santa Barbara, Calif., later this year. Plus, they’re a lot of fun, and they have given me an opportunity to meet lots of nice people!

Here’s a map that shows the location of Meridian Hill Park:

Carlisle Chrysler Nationals

The Carlisle Chrysler Nationals are held each year during the second weekend in July. The 2017 show was held over the weekend of July 14-17, 2017, and we were there!

Barry’s a certified (certifiable?) car nut. I’m not. Barry would happily go to any Carlisle car show — from Spring Carlisle through Fall Carlisle, and everything in between — checking out the tool booths and looking over the old car parts. Not me. I have a special affinity for one, and only one, car show — the Chrysler Nationals.

I’ve never had a Chrysler in my life, but there’s something about those muscle cars from the ’60s and ’70s that really speak to me. I love the crazy colors, from Sublime Green to Plum Crazy Purple. I love the time and care people lavish into making them look like new. I guess those old Chryslers bring back memories of simpler days for me.

Here’s a gallery of images that shows you some of the many sights we saw at the show.

And here’s a video that can give you a sense of how BIG the show field is:

Was it fun? Would I go again? Yeah to both!

Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is about 110 miles north of Washington, DC. Here’s a map:

Hiking the Northwest Branch Trail

I like to discover beautiful places to visit in the mid-Atlantic region, and I like to share my favorite places with others. I’ve recently discovered this one, and I’m sorry it took me so long. The Northwest Branch Trail is inside the Capital Beltway, so it’s close to Washington, D.C. It’s a seven-mile, paved trail that follows the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River through leafy, wooded terrain, with rock formations on both sides. The trail connects Prince George’s County with Montgomery County, and it runs from Hyattsville, Md. all the way to the Beltway in Silver Spring. Here’s a Mesh gallery of shots I took while meandering down the trails.

The lovely, restored Adelphi Mill sits on its banks.

Adelphi Mill in Adelphi, Md., near the Northwest Branch trail. (Photo by Andrea Kenner)
Adelphi Mill in Adelphi, Md., near the Northwest Branch trail. (Photo by Andrea Kenner)

It’s cool in the summer, and almost makes you forget you’re in a dense, urban area. But please don’t forget — it’s always safer to walk with a dog or a human friend.

Where do YOU like to commune with nature? If you’re in the mid-Atlantic region, do you have any favorite places you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comments.

Hiking at Savage Mill

I’ve been to Savage Mill in Savage, Md., several times before, but never as a hiking destination. I will definitely go back there again!

Savage Mill has a funky, old-timey vibe. It has lots of places for an after-hike lunch, including the Ram’s Head Tavern. According to Wikipedia:

“The Savage Mill is a historic cotton mill complex in Savage, Maryland, which has been turned into a complex of shops and restaurants. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It is located in the Savage Mill Historic District. Buildings in the complex date from 1822 to 1916.”

The Savage Mill is close to Savage Park, which features a number of hiking trails. We hiked on some of those trails today. Here are some pictures from the day.

Tulips in the early morning sunshine
Tulips in the early morning sunshine
Hikers on the Bollman Truss railroad bridge adjacent to the mill
Hikers on the Bollman Truss railroad bridge adjacent to the mill
Rocks and rapids on the Patuxent River
Rocks and rapids on the Patuxent River
A bridge support on the Bollman Truss bridge
A bridge support on the Bollman Truss bridge
Pansies at trail's end
Pansies at trail’s end

Hiking at Lake Audubon

I participated in a 4.5 mile hike today at Lake Audubon in Reston, Va., with the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group. Even though it’s officially spring, it still looked a lot like winter today, and the air was chilly and damp.

streambed

It was a wonderful hike, and as a first sign of spring, we saw lots of skunk cabbages poking up in some of the swampy spots.

skunk-cabbage

Spring will get here, it’s just taking its own sweet time!