D.C. Destination: Exploring Eastern Market

According to common legend, bliss is defined in the dictionary as “perfect happiness,” but I am convinced there would simply be a picture of Eastern Market. That is all the definition you need. Last Saturday, I treated myself to a visit to this delightful place in Washington D.C. after a hellish few weeks of midterms. There is nothing quite as restorative as perusing through this massive market full of treats and treasures.

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Directly off the blue line metro at the appropriately named “Eastern Market” stop, the lovely Capitol Hill neighborhood welcomed commuters with an interesting rendition of Pharrell’s song “Happy” – always a promising sign. Making my way less than two blocks to the heart of the market, I grinned at the sight of friendly crowds and vendors in their full splendor. Where should I go first? Eastern Market, opened in 1871 as a way to urbanize Washington and provide residents with goods, is made up of three main areas – the indoor South Hall Market, the Weekend Farmers’ Line, and Weekend Outdoor Market.

I was a bit snackish (and a bit broke), so I started the visit by winding through the Weekend Farmers Line, an open-air venue outside the main building called South Hall where local farmers sell their freshest produce. Walking through you can count on grabbing free, tasty samples of perfectly crisp Pink Lady apples, tangy homemade mustards, artisanal cheeses, fresh fruits, and more. Each vendor is so proud to tell you about their produce and answer any questions you may have, which I find much more pleasant than searching for produce in the refrigerated aisles of a supermarket.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Eventually, I made my way inside the impressive South Hall Market. Picture a scaled down version of Grand Central Station full of baked goods, produce, flowers, and other neat trinkets. That’s what it looks like to me at least! Eager shoppers peer over strangers’ shoulders and into every display case making sure they’ve covered all the bases before they head home to cook their garden-fresh meal. Wisely or mistakenly, I choose not to buy a glorious, fragrant slice of sweet potato pie from one of the vendors in the name of disciplining my gnarly sweet tooth. You be the judge.

Finally, I crossed the pedestrian street to the Weekend Outdoor Market to scout out some one-of-a-kind furniture pieces for my new apartment. This market is more “flea” style, complete with antique furniture, clothing, jewelry, artwork, and other crafts. Admittedly, it is not the cheapest flea market in the District, but you can be sure the quality of goods is relatively high. From vintage maps, giant pig statues, pearl necklaces, wooden cutting boards to thrifted leather jackets, there is something to entertain everyone. I spied an organically shaped pine coffee table that was perfect for my living room, so I was quite happy.

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Before I knew it, it was late afternoon and I had to get back to my reality of obligations. Walking back to the metro I was already planning my next visit, and rest assured I headed home smiling from the buzzing energy of the little world that is Eastern Market. DMV-ers and visitors, put this destination on your itinerary. You won’t regret it!

Image: Flickr