No matter what time of year you visit, there is ALWAYS too much to do in Washington, DC. Going into this trip, I had a Plan A and then a Plan B if weather did not allow for Plan A. Plan B was any of the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall
, which is always a solid choice. But Plan A was to visit some of the Boundary Stones of Washington, DC
, which has been on my bucket list for years now!
Below is information directly from www.boundarystones.org
Finding the Boundary Stones is a real life treasure hunt only high-tech, thanks to Google Maps! I usually stay near the East Falls Church Metro Station when I visit DC so I used Uber to get to the closest Boundary Stone, which was Southwest 9. The Uber driver could not get me right to the stone due to a road closure, but he got me as close as he could. Luckily the Boundary Stones website
has a very accurate description of the location of each stone, so the detour did not prevent me from finding the stone. Of all of the stones I ended up visiting over race weekend, SW9 had the best signage identifying it's historical significance. The stone itself is mostly sunken into the ground, but part of the inscription was still visible.
Benjamin Banneker Park and the SW9 stone are easily walkable from the East Falls Church Metro Station, where I caught a train to the more stones in Alexandria, VA.
I got off the train at the King Street Station and walked just a few blocks before I found the Southwest 2 Boundary Stone. This stone sat between the sidewalk and the street and only had a tiny plaque to identify it. The inscriptions were long gone.
Some streets still follow the original boundary line of Washington, DC, which makes it easy to walk in a straight line from stone to stone. That was not the case in Alexandria, so it was a decent hike to get to Southwest 1. The Southwest 1 Boundary Stone also had a fence protecting it, but it was within a gated yard rather than adjacent to the street. Luckily the Boundary Stone was easy to spot from the public sidewalks. This stone also only had a small plaque and the inscriptions had mostly disappeared.
Next, I walked back to the King Street Metro Station and traveled to the Friendship Heights Metro Station to see stones on the Maryland side. The Friendship Heights Metro Station pretty much falls right in between the Northwest 6 and Northwest 7 Boundary Stones. Northwest 6 sits in a small park with a protective fence that was recently damaged. It also had a great plaque explaining it's significance.
Next stop was Northwest 7, which was in the front yard of a private residence. I just snapped a photo from the sidewalk, even though the website indicates that a new plaque was added near the stone in the 1960's.
After visiting Northwest 6 and 7, I headed to the race expo
and didn't continue my Boundary Stone quest again until the day after the race. That time I started at the North Boundary Stone, which is just a short walk from the Silver Spring Metro Station. This inscriptions on this stone were the best preserved of all of the stones I was able to see during this trip, but you would still have to know where to look to find it. This stone was surrounded by a fence, but was basically in a ditch leading into the woods.
From the North Boundary Stone, I headed back towards the Metro and followed East-West Highway to the Northeast 1 Boundary Stone. NE1 is the only Boundary Stone that has been totally lost. Only a plaque in the sidewalk of strip mall marks it's place today.
I really wanted to fit in one more Boundary Stone during this trip, so I took an Uber to the Northeast 2 Boundary Stone. This stone is easily walkable from the Takoma Metro Station (just not easily walkable from the NE1 Boundary Stone), and behind a great local restaurant and coffee house, Busboys and Poets
. It is surrounded by a protective fence and has a small plaque.
I managed to fit in eight of the 40 Boundary Stones during this trip, so it will obviously take me YEARS to see them all. These stones aren't anywhere near the typical touristy-areas so if you are looking for something unique to do or an opportunity to avoid the crowds, I highly recommend visiting the Boundary Stones
Food and Drink:
Uptowner Cafe - Alexandria
I just stopped in here for a coffee and to charge my phone as I was visiting two of the Boundary Stones in Alexandria, but I just fell in love with this place. The man who waited on me appeared to be the owner and greeted everyone with a smile. This cafe is great for people watching and a local option if you are wanting a quick bite or a good beverage.
This isn't a "restaurant" but it is an event held world-wide, once a year. I attended this event once when I lived in DC, but the race
just happened to fall on the same weekend as World Thinking Day this year for several Girl Scout troops in Falls Church, VA. The evening kicked off with a parade of nations followed by food sampling. The various troops select a country to represent, and then they sell little trinkets and food samples from that country. It was a very affordable and fun way to spend a Friday night!
|Parade of Nations|
|My favorite - candy sushi!|
Pastry Xpo is one of the original businesses in the new and trendy Mosaic District. I came here several times when I worked in the area and their cupcakes are just amazing! My post-race/celebratory desserts over the weekend included a lemon-strawberry and the cherry blossom cupcake. Delicious!