Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Roosevelt Island - A Green Gem In Middle of DC
Whether your a resident of Washington DC or an intrepid visitor, Roosevelt Island is small in scale but full of pleasant surprises. Not only will you find solace from the harried pace of life in Washington, you'll see a surprisingly mixture of topography, flora and fauna and get to see an interesting monument which celebrates the nation's first environmentally conscious president. While the statue itself looks a bit like Vladimir Lenin giving a rousing speech, the architectural elements are pleasing. There are two fountains and four 21-foot granite tablets inscribed with quotes that capture Roosevelt’s conservation ideals.
I work in Rosslyn Va., and this island is just the place when I want to go for a walk and gather my thoughts. Most people don't venture onto the island because getting there is not easy (see specific directions below). The only access point is a footbridge that's accessible from the Virginia side, right off the GW Parkway. As you cross the bridge, you'll note the great view of Georgetown University and the Key Bridge off to the left. Head straight on the trail into the center of the island to visit the monument itself then veer to the right and get on the swamp trail. This trail can be covered easily in about 30 minutes and will take you a tidal swamp where you're bound to see Great Blue Heron, Red Wing Blackbirds and Carolina Wrens. The trail will take you on a loop that is mostly made up of easy on the feet boardwalk.
Theodore Roosevelt Island is accessible only from the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The entrance to the parking lot is located just north of the Roosevelt Bridge. Parking spaces are limited and fill quickly on weekends. By metro, go to the Rosslyn station, walk 2 blocks to Rosslyn Circle and cross the pedestrian bridge to the island. See a Map
Also, the island is located right along the Mount Vernon Trail and is easily accessible by bike. Bicycles are not permitted on the island but there are racks in the parking lot to lock them up.
A fun alternative way to reach the island is to rent a canoe or kayak from Bill's Boat Rentals which is found almost literally under the Key Bridge in Georgetown. Fees are nominal and you can imagine yourself as an early colonial era explorer - OK, that takes a lot of imagining, especially with the jets that roar overhead on their landing approach to Reagan National Airport but you'll enjoy this method, rest assured.
Theodore Roosevelt Island is accessible only from the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The entrance to the parking lot is located just north of the Roosevelt Bridge.
Southbound traffic: take Theodore Roosevelt Bridge to Constitution Ave. Take a right on 23rd St. and cross Memorial Bridge. Once on the bridge, bear right to return to the G.W. Parkway.
The closest Metro Station is Rosslyn on the Blue and Orange Line.
Theodore Roosevelt Island