Le Decor: Morning Coffee

May 9, 2013

Is it spring yet? We’ve finally gotten to the point where it might be warm enough to call it that. On the way to work, I see kids are wearing shorts to school despite 50-degree morning temperatures. When it’s warm enough, the biggest luxury for me is taking the time to read the newspaper in the backyard. As my brain takes about an hour to rev up, I like to enjoy a quiet time in the backyard reading the news and pretending not to be scared about the Nats’ mediocre April record.

In keeping with the early light of the orning, simpler design with natural materials are tranquil. These side chairs by Janus et Cie remind me of Bryant Park in New York. Cityscape Planters by West Elm would look great filled succulents, and Jonathan Adler mugs are a cute vessel for a.m. fuel. [gallery ids="149568,149532,149561,149538,149556,149545,149551" nav="thumbs"]

Georgetown Garden Tour 2013

On Saturday, May 11, the annual Georgetown Garden Tour, presented by the Georgetown Garden Club, will open a select number of private gardens to visitors and runs 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. On Saturday, tickets can be purchased at Christ Church, at 31st and O Streets, NW. The church will also host an afternoon tea from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the church’s Keith Hall, included in the ticket price, as well as a garden boutique which will offer for sale a selection of topiaries, porcelain and gardening tools as well as products from Georgetown-based porcelain company Middle Kingdom and products imported from Haiti.
Gardens on the tour “show how something beautiful can be created in a small, urban space,” said Elizabeth Shriver, president of the Georgetown Garden Club. Included on this year’s tour is Dumbarton Oaks Park on R Street. In the past, funds raised from the tour were donated to Book Hill Park, Montrose Park, Volta Park and Trees For Georgetown, Shriver said.

For more information about the Georgetown Garden Tour, visit www.georgetowngardentour.com.


Gardens West of Wisconsin Avenue

3304 R Street

A sophisticated garden with style and a sense of humor. An enormous cup pours water into the pool, imaginative sculptures abound, delightful touches throughout.

1631 34th Street

A clever, two-level small garden packed with treats. A comma-shaped pool has a marvelous Japanese maple like an umbrella over it. A secluded lower level has a waist-deep dipping pool with seating.

1552 34th Street

A brick-paved square frames an exuberant fountain, two large urns are planted with mondo grass. Plantings include the pink climbing rose Cecile Bruner, vitex, red crape myrtles, a fig, and a golden chain tree.

3415 Volta Place

An inviting garden filled with lovely details: a pool, lace leaf maples, a hedge of weeping beeches, Chinese red garden sheds, antique pots, a greenhouse, bamboo, and the soothing nearby murmurings of little caged birds.

3327 P Street

Juxtaposition of rectangles outlined with narrow flagstone borders, Buddhas from Bali, mondo grass edging for planting beds, a water feature with fountains, a fire pit, gas lights.

3313 P Street

A sequence of four garden rooms wrap around three sides of the house: borders for active gardening, a lawn area, a place for outdoor meetings and a seating area around the pool.

Gardens East of Wisconsin Avenue

1401 34th Street

This small lushly planted garden is partially enclosed by an old carriage house. The free-form pond features water lilies and lotus. Ferns and hellebores abound, plus Harry Lauder’s walking stick. By Rogers & Co.

Off Lovers’ Lane, on R Street between 31st Street and Avon Place

The Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy offers its own special tour at midday of the “wild garden” that was once part of the Dumbarton Oaks Estate – all designed by Beatrix Farrand. Pastoral delights and insights into garden restoration abound.

Listings and descriptions provided by the Georgetown Garden Club. [gallery ids="101281,149484,149498,149477,149504,149469,149509,149463,149515,149491" nav="thumbs"]

Smithsonian Craft Show Transforms Building Museum

April 24, 2013

Each year, the Smithsonian Craft Show provides the opportunity for discerning shoppers and craft-lovers to indulge their senses among many artisans. The annual event is run by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, which works to provide financial assistance to support Smithsonian Projects. This year’s show will be open from Thursday, April 25, through Sunday, April 28.

Shoppers will be able to shop from artisans practicing in a wide range of mediums, including ceramics, jewelry, furniture, clothing, glass, textiles and wood. Many pieces are one of a kind.

Attendees of the Preview Night Benefit, Wednesday, April 24, will be able to have a chance to shop the craft show before anyone else. They will also be able to meet the artists, and enjoy cocktails and a dinner buffet. This year’s honorary chairman Martha Stewart will be attending this year’s benefit as well as presenting a lecture on her new initiative, “American Made” this Thursday, April 25.

In addition to Stewart’s lecture, the Craft Show will be presenting two panel discussions.

One, on collections, is at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, and on Sunday, April 28, at 1:30 p.m., interior designer David Mitchell will moderate a panel discussion with several Washington interior designers about decorating around your art. Both events are free.

To purchase tickets for the Smithsonian Craft Show’s Preview Night Benefit, visit SmithsonianCraftShow.org. The website also features a list of all participating vendors.

Easter Seals Raise Funds for Veterans

Easter Seals Serving Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, honored Tom Brokaw, actor Gary Sinise and Citi for contributions to military, veterans and their families at its annual Advocacy Awards on April 16 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The event focused on achievements in veterans employment and recognized individuals, corporations and foundations that have transformed the landscape for people with disabilities and special needs. The fundraiser generated more than $400,000 to support Easter Seals services, the highest total in the event’s history. [gallery ids="101264,147827,147817,147823" nav="thumbs"]

Georgetown BID CEO Joe Sternlieb Sounds Off

April 10, 2013

Five months ago, Joe Sternlieb took office as CEO of the Georgetown Business Improvement District. After some months under his belt, Georgetowner features editor Nico Dodd checks in to see how Sternlieb has adjusted to his new job and what his plans for the future are.

Georgetown 2028
“Our goal is to make sure that the businesses here do better. Better for the retailers on the streets and more customers in the stores spending more money. Better for the office buildings, meaning lower vacancy rate. Greater stability in the tenant base… So, it’s just thinking about making it work for everybody.
I’ve embarked on a long-range vision process called Georgetown 2028, which is a 15-year vision process that we’re engaging lots of people on our board of directors, key stakeholders and property owners, people in Georgetown, who aren’t on our board, and CAG, GBA, ANC folks, residential neighbors and city agencies. We’re just ready to kick it off. We’ve been doing focus groups for the past month. We’ve done six or seven focus groups, where we ask people a bunch of different questions. So, to think big about what’s happening here. Asking them what’s great and what works about Georgetown, what doesn’t work at all. What areas are really thriving in Georgetown? What areas really need help? We’re collecting all that information, and we’re going to come back to people with, sort of a heavy lift. We’re doing a task force with 25 to 40 people, that’s going to meet for 33 hours. We have 11 3-hour meetings planned to deal with transportation issues, because that’s the number-one problem everyone talks about.”

Transportation & Parking
“Transportation, huge problem. You talk to the merchants, and they say that their customers are always having a hard time finding parking and they’re always getting tickets. They come in to buy $100 worth of stuff, they get a $50 ticket and they’ll never come back. So, the city, they say, is too aggressive. The folks in the ANC say, ‘Look, you’ve got all of these people circling our blocks looking for parking and we want to be able to park in front of our houses.’ You’ve got the parking lot owners and operators, sometimes often not the same people, who are saying we don’t have enough business to stay open on the weekends. Well, part of it’s because you charge crazy amounts of money, right? They can go to Tysons Corner for nothing, or they can charge you $18 for all-day here. It’s an easy decision, right? So, we’re trying to work with all of these folks, and also with the city.
I’ve brought two people on. I’ve been here five months now. The first thing I did was I interviewed everyone on our board. Everyone said transportation. So, the first board meeting we were all at, I said, ‘O.K., this is what you all told me. And transportation’s the number one problem that we have, and this is where we spend our money.’ And I said, ‘We spend $20,000 on transportation.’ We write a check to the D.C. surface transit to market the circulator, and that’s all we spend on transportation. That’s 3 percent of our budget. No, what am I talking about? It’s less than 1 percent of our budget.”

Fashion Night In?
“We are trying to decide what to do about Fashion Night Out this year because Conde Naste cancelled it. So, we can’t use that name. They own the brand and the trademark. So we’ve been talking about what we can do to help the Georgetown fashion industry, and what would be clever and what would be Georgetown-centric and maybe not one night, but maybe over the course of a week or two.”

The Possibility of a New Boathouse
“Georgetown and GW both have the money to build boathouses and get out of Thompson’s and expand their ability. Peter May [Associate Regional Director, National Park Service, National Capital Region] says he’s ‘getting close’ to the Park Service making a decision. It should never take 20 years to decide anything. It’s too long to make a decision. It can take you 20 years to build a Metro system or 20 years to found a country or something, but to make a decisions seems, to me, too long.

Jack’s Boathouse
“The Park Service should have gone to him [Jack’s Boathouse owner Paul Simkin] and said to him, ‘We can’t do this the way it is, and we need to figure out something else.’ If it’s done right, and you play ball, you’ll get to stay there. There’s no nuance in what they do. So, they evict him. It’s crazy.”

Attracting New Businesses to Georgetown
“The Georgeotwn BID has not traditionally done much B2B [Business to Business] marketing. A lot of consumer marketing and advertising that are aimed at the consumer to come to what’s here. What I’ve done is get everyone lined up to get people to reach out to the business community to tell them you need to be here.
What we’ve got is we’ve got a great product. And we’ve got to convince people that sometimes it’s worth paying a premium for a better product.”?

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell at Strathmore

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell have enough fans between them to support their own tours, but the two singers brought their pipes and picking to Strathmore Music Center last Friday, March 29. The theater was filled by the drugstore cowboys of yesteryear. After the two stars traded a few songs, they settled into their collaborative album, “Old Yellow Sun,” released this February. The Georgetowner last caught up with Harris before her performance at Wolf Trap in August.

Harris’s roots in the area lead to an inexplicable amount of remembrances. “Remember country music?” “Cassette tapes? Remember those?” “I remember the 80s…” She was all about remembering things.

Being that the performance was on Good Friday, there seemed to be an added note of somberness to the performance. One of Harris’s guitar straps had the image of the Virgin Mary on it. “Spanish Dancer” and “Back When We Were Beautiful” were excellent but heart-wrenching. More upbeat songs like “Hanging Up My Heart” and “Black Caffeine” did not manage to level the mood. I guess that’s what they call the blues.

The contrast between the two singers was interesting: Harris being more timid, Crowell more seasoned towards country music. Crowell aptly described Harris as having the “soul of a poet, the voice of an angel and the heart of a cowgirl.”

For this reviewer, the highlight of their performance was Jedd Hughes, their lead guitarist. I admit it: I’m a sucker for guitar. Hughes knocked my socks off as he played on telecasters most of the night and switched to an acoustic for “Spanish Dancer.” Richard Thompson joined the group for one number.

Richard Thompson Electric Trio

Opening the evening was the Richard Thompson Electric Trio, which brought down the house as an opening act. Richard Thompson, one of the original members of the British rock group Fairport Convention, is touring for his newest album, “Electric,” which was released this February.

As with most virtuosic guitarists who are also vocalists, Thompson’s vocals and lyrics fill the space just fine, but the musicianship was the backbone of the group’s performance. The dense sound it produced as a trio is a tribute to the musicians’ ability and uncynical approach to it. Nearly every song received a standing ovation from the audience.

The trio showcased its abilities on Fender instruments. Thompson is a fan of Fender Stratocasters, and bassist Taras Prodaniuk played on a Precision Bass and used Fender amplifiers. Along with Strathmore’s exceptional micing, it made for a crispy sound which wouldn’t sound out of place in a Guitar Center.

Thompson’s Britishness came across with his subdued, cheeky humor and hints of New Wave. An audience commenting on Thompson’s Converse sneakers got a reply of, “You realize we’re in the middle of a concert?” “Good Things Happen To Bad People,”, a track from the “Electric” album, has rootsy, three-part harmonies. Hints of folk ballads are everywhere. Prodaniuk pulling out a fretless bass underlined a proggy, druidic feeling that turned Strathmore into Stonehenge.

The tour will be making its next stop today in Atlanta at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Easter Brunch Guide

1789 Restaurant
1226 36th St. NW Washington, D.C. (202) 965-1789. Easter Day brunch includes a guest appearance of the Easter Bunny at each table delivering candy for children. Celebrate the holiday with a festive three-course brunch or an a la carte dinner. Entree prices range from $28-36.

Al Dente
3201 New Mexico Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 244-2223. Al Dente is offering a family style menu for $39.95 that includes first and second courses, an entrée and dessert. The restaurant will be open from 11:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Billy Martin’s Tavern
1264 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 333-7370. Martin’s will be offering a special Easter brunch menu for $30 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Bistro Francais
3124-48 M St. NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 338-3830. Celebrate Easter at Bistro Francais with Champagne Brunch a la carte 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Regular menu also available for both Lunch & Dinner

Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar
1737 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 333-0111. Bistrot Lepic is offering an Easter Brunch special priced at $49.95.

Cafe Milano
3251 Prospect St. NW Washington, DC. (202) 333-6183. Easter brunch, made to order omelets and Italian cuisine, $95 per adult, $25 ages 6-12.

3205 K Street NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 333-2565. Chadwick’s offers Sunday brunch from 11:3 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. priced at $22. Be sure to make reservations.

Clyde’s of Georgetown
3236 M Street NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 333-9180. Clyde’s will be offering its regular brunch menu as well as spring menu items.

Nick’s Riverside Grill
3050 K Street N.W., Washington D.C. 20007. (202) 342-3535. Nick’s Riverside Grill will be offering a two course, prix fixe brunch for $18.95 that includes two courses. Available from 11-3 p.m.

Peacock Cafe
3251 Prospect St. NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 625-2740. Peacock Café will be offering its regular brunch menu.

1226 36th St NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 337-6668. Don’t forget about free coffee cake on Sundays at Tombs.

Adour at St. Regis
923 16th St. NW Washington, DC (202) 509-8000. Four-course menu $90 per person, $40 per child.

The Colonnade
The Fairmont Washington DC. 2401 M St. NW Washington, DC. (202) 429-2400. Easter brunch buffet, $99 per adult; $49.50 per child age 6-12.

Roof Terrace Restaurant & Bar
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 2700 F St. NW Washington, DC (202)416-8555. Brunch from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Take your picture with the Easter Bunny and receive a special treat. Enjoy a special Easter brunch with skyline views of the Potomac River. $39.95 for adults and $20.00 for children.

Tabard Inn
1739 N St. NW Washington, DC (202) 833-2668. A la carte Easter brunch in a quaint hotel setting near the White House.

Bistro Vivant
1394 Chain Bridge Road in McLean, VA (703) 356-1700. A la carte menu with Easter specials. Prices range from $12 to $22 for appetizers, $24 to $26 for entrées and $11 to $12 for desserts.

BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier
1600 King Street Alexandria, VA. (703) 894-3440. Easter brunch buffet $55 per adult, $15 per child.

Let’s Do Lunch

No one does lunch quite like our publisher, Sonya Bernhardt. With years on D.C.’s restaurant scene under her belt, she is quick with any recommendation for a hungry foodie. Our new column, “Let’s Do Lunch” takes us to new venues for tastes and culinary experiences. For our first installment, oUur office went to Union Market in Northeast Washington, D.C.

Union Market is the newest space for an authentic marketplace experience in the nation’s capital. Featuring over 40 different venders, the market is sure to have some- thing for everyone.

Drawing from the market’s history, dating back to 1931, development firm EDENS renovated the market and reopened it in September 2012.

Shoppers can choose from many different organic and artisan wares, from fresh pickles to handsoap, which our publisher’s husband, Wally, proudly endorses. Not married yet? We think Union Market would be a fun place to go on a date. You can choose from flowers, chocolate, or many dessert choices to treat your special someone.

Eaters can please their palates with a variety of cuisines, including quality treats at D.C Mediterranean Corner and eco-conscious oys- ters from Rappahannock Oyster Co. In addition, many of D.C.’s food truck favorites are offering their food indoors, like D.C. Empanadas, Curbside Cupcakes and TaKorean.

The operative word of Union Market’s offerings is “fresh.” If you like everything fresh, including your milk, this is the place to be.
Located at 1309 5th Street, NE, near Florida Avenue, the market is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit UnionMarketDC.com for more information.? [gallery ids="101178,142766,142778,142759,142783,142753,142788,142746,142794,142772" nav="thumbs"]

Ribbon Cutting Inaugurates Rose Park Improvements

April 8, 2013

Residents gathered Oct. 17 for a ribbon-cutting inaugurating the recent improvements to Rose Park at 26th and O Streets. Georgetown advisory neighborhood commissioner Tom Birch emceed the event.

The new improvements include a new brick walkway, an improved “tot lot,” a new fence and new benches. The benches have been ordered but were not installed at the time of the ribbon cutting. The project began 18 months ago and was finished on time and under budget three weeks after ground was broken. All improvements were paid for by community donations. The new brick walkway includes bricks inscribed with the names of people who donated money to the project. The work was completed by Perez Landscaping & Stonework.

The Georgetown Garden Club donated new sycamore and cherry trees as well as new rose bushes.

David Abrams, who lives across the street from Rose Park, was awarded with a plaque for “15 years of service” to the park. Pamla Moore, founder of Friends of Rose Park Foundation, was also awarded for her service to the park. Abrams is pleased with the improvements, as they make the park “safer” and “cleaner.”

Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans also gave remarks and joked that Birch had been at Rose Park to greet Pierre L’Enfant and George Washington to Georgetown. ANC2E commissioners Jeff Jones and Bill Starrels were also present at the event.

On Oct. 31, a pumpkin festival will be celebrated at Rose Park. A pumpkin parade will begin at 4:30 p.m.
[gallery ids="101028,135838,135834" nav="thumbs"]

H.L Poling & Sons Closer to a Georgetown Reality

February 28, 2013

More details have been revealed about the soon-to-be-opened Georgetown haber- dashery H.L. Poling & Sons, namely about
the individuals behind the retail concept. The duo, prep-revivalists Drew Poling and Scot Meacham Wood, now of San Francisco, Calif., were available for a few questions from the Georgetowner last Thursday. Drew Poling is an alumnus of Georgetown University who worked at the Georgetown University Shop from 1984 to 1986.

Since then, he worked as a buyer for Bloomingdale’s in New York City and in social media at UNICEF. His partner, Wood, is an interior decorator and has done visual work for Ralph Lauren. He boasts more than 500,000 followers on Pinterest. According to Poling, the two began developing the store about a year ago. The location of the Georgetown store has not been disclosed.

The concept of the store is that it is a contin- uation of the original “Poling’s” menswear shop in Ottumwa, Iowa, founded in 1910 by Poling’s grandfather. The shop was taken over by his father and closed in the mid-1990s. The two de- scribe the store as “old Ivy for modern times,” with customer service being a top priority. “We want it to be a welcoming place,” said Poling. H.L. Poling & Son’s website, hlpolingandsons. com, lists the store as “coming to Georgetown Fall 2013.” ?