Sunday, March 11, 2012

Where to Spend a Sunny Day: Teddy Roosevelt Island

Spring has sprung in the nation’s capital! The sun is shining and the weather is warm. People are breaking out their sunglasses and croakies; they are shedding their tights and replacing ballet flats with flip flops. As soon as nice weather returns, D.C. residents are anxious to get outside and soak up the sun. In fact, I am currently writing this blog post sitting on my porch, and if I’m being honest, there is a (koozied) beer in my hand, and Eric Church is blasting, but I digress…

During the warm months, one of my favorite D.C. places to visit is Teddy Roosevelt Island. Not only are there beautiful monuments dedicated to one of my favorite Presidents (despite the fact that he always loses races at Nats games), but there are plenty of trails for walkers and joggers, as well. Plus, and most importantly to me, the island is dog friendly. Whether you own a teacup poodle or a St. Bernard, your four legged friend will have the time of his life!



This weekend, my friend Lexi and I decided to take advantage of the warm weather and go on a picnic lunch in the park. We grabbed sandwiches and drinks from Harris Teeter, put Lola on her leash, and walked to Teddy Roosevelt Island. Our adventure started with eating our picnic lunch on the benches near the monuments. As the photos show, we weren’t the only ones that decided to get outside this weekend. The parking lot was full, and we saw many other families, couples, tourists, and young people taking advantage of a gorgeous day, as well. I even made a new best friend. Her name was Ellie, and she, like Lola, was four years old. In fact she was born on the Fourth of July. Simply precious!



After eating our lunch, we headed down the steps to the hiking trails. And, an important safety note for future visitors - there is a sneaky step. Hypothetically, if a person is walking and talking and not paying attention they may miss this step and face-plant. I may currently have a giant bruise on my right knee.

After my minor incident, Lexi and I walked around the nearly 1.5 mile Swamp Trail that follows the edge of the island (it’s a lot more appealing than it sounds, I promise). With Lola leading the way (and stopping at every bench to take a break), we were able to catch up on while getting some much needed sunlight.



In total, Teddy Roosevelt Island has 4 trails spanning 88.5 acres. Park visitors can learn about both our 26th President as well as the natural environment while hiking through the natural reserve. The Island is open year round, from 10 AM to 6 PM. There are also regularly scheduled special events including Island Safaris as well as the “Paddle with a Ranger” program where guests can canoe or kayak around the park with a Park Ranger.

But, the best part about Teddy Roosevelt Island is that it really has something for everyone. Whether you are a painter that wants to observe the views from the bridge, a casual fisher, a runner, or someone who just wants to get outside, it is the perfect place for you. And I would be lying if I said I’d never imagined a gentleman bring me here on adorable picnic date (hint, hint).



So, if you are excited about getting outdoors, I highly recommend Teddy Roosevelt Island; it is easily accessible by foot, bicycle, car, or public transportation. Full directions found here. Two caveats, however: 1) Bicycles are not permitted on the island and must be kept in the rack by the parking lot. 2) Parking is first come first served and often difficult to find when the weather is nice.

Happy trails!

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