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One Perfect Summer Day: Washington, DC

This week, our bloggers remember one perfect summer day. Today, it's  AARP blogger Beth Carpenter.

Meridian Park Drum Circle

Ok, I'm cheating here. Washington, DC? Don't you live there? I do, yes. Are you supposed to write a vacation blog about your own city? Probably not. It's DC, anyway. What's there to do outside the Air & Space museum? Exactly.

What do you think when you visit Washington, DC? Museums. Big ol monuments. Maybe someone told you about Ben's Chili Bowl. Forget all that. Here's a Sunday in the city, the way I love 'em... let me tell you how this works.

Wake up. (If you timed your trip well, you're in April, or maybe May, and the heat hasn't hit yet but the flowers are everywhere. Well done, traveler.)

Head to Florida Ave Grill. Only a few blocks from that famous Ben's Chili Bowl, it's arguably a bigger landmark - and, in my book, a tastier one. Hotcakes and butter? Here they're practically marinated in it. Cornbread biscuits? There's that. Hash browns overflowing off the plate? Yep. Everyone in their Sunday best? Check.

Diet schmiet. Eat. Maybe nap. It is Sunday, after all. Wander around U St, wander in the bars and the furniture stores on 14th st and the boutiques by 15th. Find a rooftop and have a beer. Walk up 13th street to Euclid and stop at the top of the hill - what? I wanted you to work off that breakfast! - and take a minute to check out the view, the best view in the city, over all the buildings downtown, Capitol to your left, Washington Monument to your right.

Wander over to Meridian Park.... by 3pm, drummers are working their way to the shade by the stage, and by 5, it's a cacophony of rhythm. These drummers have been there for 55, 59 years, depending who you ask... and every Sunday, every summer, there they are. Take a nap by the cascading fountains. Wander around while people do yoga, attempt to tightrope walk, eat picnics. Read a book.

Head to Blues Alley, 930 Club, Bohemian Caverns... whichever is putting on a good show that night. One of them will. Cuddle with your sweetheart with a glass of wine in the caverns. Grab late-night mac and cheese at Oohs and Aahs. Walk back to your hotel, if you can - walk through Shaw, or Dupont, or any of those old neighborhoods, and wave to the people on their stoops in the early warm evenings.

Buenas noches, Washington.

The Sunday afternoon drum circle at Malcolm X Park (Meridian Hill Park), Washington, DC. Via Flickr user kcivey. 

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