Unicorns, Bacon Marys & the The DC Circulator: A Life-Changing Sunday

Sunday, June 7, 2009

This afternoon, I traveled to the U Street Corridor, apparently now billing itself as "MidCity," for brunch at Bar Pilar, home of the famed (at least from my perspective!) Bacon Bloody Mary. My plan, initially, was to take the L2 bus down through Adam's Morgan & then walk from U Street & 18th to Bar Pilar, at 14th & U. Unfortunately, I missed the L2 & instead walked down to Woodley Park, intermittently running alongside the bus I was still trying to catch & then battling for sidewalk space with tourists who insist upon walking four deep on their trip to/from the National Zoo.

When I got to Woodley Park, I spotted a DC Circulator bus, one of these new-fangled, previously-a-huge-mystery buses that apparently only make a few select stops along their route, connecting riders to DC hot spots more quickly than they could otherwise reach them on buses that stop every four blocks or so. Until today, the Circulators were like mythic unicorns - I'd only ever heard of their magic & glory.

OK, fine, unlike unicorns, I'd actually seen Circulator buses before, though, so maybe they weren't unicorns. How about rainbows? The DC Circulator was, until today, like a rainbow whose origins & shining, golden riches I could never locate the source of. Like, where do they stop? No one ever appeared to know. Total mystery.

Until today! Today I took a chance & hopped onto a Circulator bus at its Woodley Park starter stop, assuming it'd take me through Adam's Morgan like the L2 would've.

Ummm, I was wrong.

Instead, it quickly shot down Columbia, & by the time I realized, I was headed in the exact opposite direction in which I wanted to be traveling. I began to freak out, estimating the cab fare and/or the walking distance to Bar Pilar. But no worries! My trusty Circulator made a stop at the Columbia Heights Target (a little slice of sub
urban heaven plopped right inside the District!) & then continued down 14th - exactly where I needed to be!

The moral of this story, especially for all you non-Washingtonians who aren't following my directional descriptions, is that I've now discovered a quick, cheap, easy means of traveling to the one area of the District that I rarely make it to but am most interested in frequenting. U Street (MidCity?!) is amazing & has so much to offer - a real city feel, not this gentrified, Cleveland Park-y bullshiz), but it's too far from home for me to ever be very interested in trekking over there.

But the glorious Circulator costs a mere $1.00 & runs every ten minutes rather than the L2's shoddy every-half-hour-if-you're-lucky-&-only-when-you're-in-a-hurry. What's best is that unlike the L2, which ceases service circa midnight, the Circulator will take me to U Street & back until midnight every weeknight & until 3:30 a.m. on the weekends.

Sorry, sorry. The real moral of the story is this:


  1. Ah! Kate! I don't even live in the city and I spend a lot of time in the U Street area; you need to start having adventures with me! As far as transport goes, there have been plenty of times I've gotten off the Metro at Woodley Park and just walked down through Adams Morgan to U Street as well. And now it's summer; there's no excuse! HANG OUT WITH ME MA'AM!

  2. First I totally had deja vu when I saw that bacon bloody mary pic. I had brunch a bar pilar a few weeks ago and got one. YUMMY. I agree about U-street. I've only been down there a few times, but I've seen so many places I'd love to try.

  3. The circulator is also the best way to get over to Georgetown. The only reason to go to Georgetown of course is for Georgetown cupcakes. Cause I don't have the kind of money to buy anything else in Georgetown.

  4. luv (u) your sense of humor & also, you seem to have sort of developed a sense of direction since living in the city. and yes, i still read despite my best efforts not to @->-

  5. I was with Maxie and those bloody marys were MAGICAL. We need to do it again soon...

  6. Congratulations on discovering the wonderful Circulator! I absolutely know what you mean when you say it's like a rainbow. I was ecstatic when they started running the Woodley Park/Adam's Morgan/Columbia Heights line! That bar sounds yummy, I'm gonna have to try it, thanks!

  7. I have long loved the Circulator. I vividly remember coming to visit DC when I was still a small-town southern girl. My friend walked me to the Circulator stop and told me to wait until the big red bus arrived, get on it, and get off after it made the first left-hand turn. Now I know that I was in Foggy Bottom, trying to get into Georgetown to go shopping, but at the time, I almost had a panic attack sitting on the bus, not knowing when to get off.

  8. U St. is easily my favorite area of the city. I also really like that 17th St corridor. I guess it's technically Dupont Circle, but it feels to far from there. Tons of inexpensive outdoor eating.


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