The flea markets of Washington, DC deserve another look. Here’s one from the archives in honor of our national holiday! Greg and I just got back from a too-quick visit to our nation’s Capitol to visit our cousins and their newborn baby, JP, over the 4th of July holiday, and I wanted to share a few of my favorite moments.
Cousin Lauren, who has been a guest blogger here, and her husband Scott and their adorable 3.5 month old, JP, were our fabulous tour guides and showed us all the cultural sights of the City. There is so much to see in DC that it felt like we needed months, rather than days, to soak it all in. One of the best things about this city is that all of the Smithsonian museums, like the Hirshhorn which houses modern art, are free all day, everyday, which is a wonderful thing.
A few of the exhibits at the Hirshhorn took on the subject of creative reuse, so I thought you might like to see some of them. The exhibit Over, Under, Next was fun and demonstrates how artists internationally have embraced the idea that art can be scavenged from fragments and detritus in the world around us.
This assemblage of wire-clad paper hangers by Dan Steinhilber really showed how ordinary objects in our environment that most of the time we’re wanting to throw or give away can be reconfigured into something beautiful. I wonder how many hours it took for the artist to get them to become a beautiful sculptural piece like this one.
One of the things that impressed me the most about DC is just how livable a city it is. The streets are very walk-able and pedestrian friendly, public transit abounds, and there are beautiful public buildings at every turn. There are also many quaint neighborhoods to explore on foot or by bike. As we walked around The Mall (where the Smithsonian Museums are located along with the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Capitol Building), we stumbled upon the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which this year was featuring Hungarian Heritage.
No visit to DC would be complete without a jaunt over to the Eastern Market, which I learned runs every week-end year round, except in times of extreme weather.
Some of the vendors have been selling their hand-made wares for nearly 20 years at this market, which has a little bit of everything: jewelry, clothing, upcycled goods, produce and artwork.
Fiber Artist, Jenae Michelle (a Berkeley transplant), upcycles vintage fabrics like tablecloths and curtains into gorgeous handbags. I couldn’t resist the beautiful blue and green zinnia bag, but had a hard time deciding on just one bag given all the great options. Jenae is one of the artists at The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA which in addition to housing hundreds of artists, offers classes and workshops to children and adults.
And, Cousin Lauren was kind enough to make sure we got a little “thrifting” in by hitting one of the biggest flea markets of Washington, DC – the Capitol Hill Flea Market, which was fun to walk around, despite the 90-degree weather.
Somehow, I managed to walk out of the market without yet another vintage tablecloth.
But, couldn’t pass up these adorable eco-friendly, hand-made goods from the Mirasa booth, so grabbed a colorful rattle for baby JP.
One night, after a spontaneous, amazing dinner at Founding Farmers – our favorite restaurant in DC – we happened upon a celebration of Egyptian nationals with flags and banners chanting and singing to show their joy at President Morsi’s removal from power in Egypt.
And, because of our amazing tour guides, Lauren & Scott, we were treated to fireworks on the East Lawn – a less discovered viewing place than The Mall – where we saw one of the most beautiful fireworks show we’ve ever seen over the Washington Memorial.
Thank you, Lauren, Scott & JP for a wonderful 4th of July!
Mimi & Greg
Capitol Hill Flea Market aka The Flea Market at Eastern Market 7th & C Streets, SE Washington, DC 20003 Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: 202.822.TRUE (8783)
Alexandria, VA 22314