Get Off Your Couch: Things to Do Outside Before Summer Is Over

July 29, 2008


IF YOU’RE READING this, you almost certainly work in the D.C. area. And that means you probably work too much.

Yeah, you get out of the house — on your walk to and from the Metro or, when you’re feeling extra energetic, to and from some easy-to-reach neighborhood hangout like Tryst. But here are some ways you can spend a little more time away from that laptop and out in the sun.

» TAKE YOUR PICK
Nothing says “summer” like fresh blackberries. And if you’ve only ever had those little puny ones they sell in grocery stores that are kind of sour and shriveled up from hours and hours in the back of a truck, you’re missing out. Go pick your own! At Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, you can get out in the sun to gather blueberries and blackberries. Two warnings: wear sunscreen and watch out for thorns.
» Butler’s Orchard, 22200 Davis Mill Road, Germantown; 301-972-3299.


» FLOAT ON
If you work an 80-hour week (and a lot of people in this town do), the idea of physical exercise on your days off might not appeal. But there are “sports” that allow you to just relax — like floating down the river in an inner tube. Butt’s Tubes (yes, that’s what it’s called) rents kayaks and rafts for the more adventurous water enthusiasts among us, but they also have inner tubes for the days you feel lazy. Shuttle buses to the river (they operate on the Shenandoah and the Potomac) and life jackets are also provided.
» Butt’s Tubes, 10967 Harpers Ferry Road, Loudoun Heights; 800-836-9911.

» BECOME A SPOKES PERSON
I know you think you’re doing enough good for the planet just by riding your bike (I see that smug face), but why not help the community at the same time? Sign up to be a volunteer with Phoenix Bikes, the nonprofit bike store that organizes Saturday rides to allow volunteers and local youth to enjoy riding through D.C. You need a background check, so call them as soon as possible if you want to go.
» Phoenix Bikes, 4200 Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington; 703-575-7762.

» BLADES OF GLORY
Remember those carefree days of childhood? Remember Slurpees on the porch? Remember reading “From the Mixed of Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” in a tree in your backyard? Remember … roller blades? How could you forget when you still have those scars? Recapture childhood with Washington Area Roadskaters, a group devoted to inline skating. Weekly skating outings encompass all levels of difficulty, so even if you suck you won’t have to be embarrassed. I mean, you’re wearing roller blades in public. Let it go.
» Washington Area Roadskaters, free weekly skating clinics in Rock Creek Park

» INNER PEACE, OUTSIDE
Yeah, you always want to get around to yoga, but you’re too busy and it’s too expensive. But here’s something you’ll have no excuse for missing: free outdoor yoga classes in Rock Creek Park. There will be sun, grass, and a yoga instructor. Bring a blanket and some water, and hope it doesn’t rain. The classes are held on the fourth Sunday of each month through September at 10:30 a.m. Be there, or be sorry that everyone else is more flexible than you.
» Rock Creek Park, Connecticut and Cathedral Avenue Exit, Rock Creek Parkway and 24th St. NW; 202-841-9394.

So back away from this computer. Not, not yet. I’ll let you know when. On the count of three, you’re going to rip off your tie, tell the boss you’re sick and go get some sunshine before you develop scurvy. Ready? One … two … three!

Photos by Melissa Cannarozzi and Margaret Thomas/The Washington Post

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Christopher Porter · July 29, 2008