. . . Seen 1,000 Midshipmen Scale a Slippery Obelisk
Thursday, April 22, 2004; Page PG24
. . . seen 1,000 midshipmen scale a slippery obelisk. With the blast of a cannon, the first-year students at the U.S. Naval Academy rush at the lard-covered Herndon Monument in a trial of teamwork and stamina. Their goal: to get a sailor's hat off the tip of the 21-foot stone shrine and replace it with an upperclassman's cap. According to legend -- one that has turned out to be more myth than fact -- the person who sets the cap in place will be the first member of the class to become an admiral.
Herndon Climb, 9 a.m. May 20, Herndon Monument, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis. Free. All visitors to the Naval Academy are required to show photo identification. For details, call 410-293-2291 or go to www.usna.edu.
. . . tried the jelly cake from Shuman's Bakery in Alexandria. Or maybe you're just too young. Jelly cake -- thin, round layers of buttery pound cake separated by slathers of red-currant jelly, cut into tidy diamond shapes -- has been a mainstay of Shuman's in Old Town for a century. In December nearly 4,000 sailed off the shop's racks -- at $18 for a whole cake, $6.50 a pound -- and about 900 were bound for out-of-town connoisseurs. In the early 1950s, Shuman's jelly cake got a dusting of royal repute along with its customary powdered sugar when Queen (then Princess) Elizabeth's private plane was provisioned with one for a flight back to England. No one knows whether she had even a bite, but fans have bragged ever since that the jelly cake is so famous, even Queen Elizabeth II has sampled it.
Shuman's Bakery, 430 S. Washington St., Alexandria. 703-549-0128. Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
. . . stopped to see the lilies in Northeast Washington. Caught between the Anacostia River's steady flow and streaming freeway traffic, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is an oasis of calm. Colorful blooms float on dark ponds, while the huge leaves of Victoria amazonica create islands of their own. The watery blooms peak in the summer, but fall offers attractions as the cattails fatten in the marsh and the pink-kissed lotuses leave behind their showerhead-like seedpods.
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Free. Anacostia Avenue and Douglas Street NE. Open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. For more information call 202-426-6905 or go to www.nps.gov/kepa.
. . . navigated on the C&O Canal. In between the Potomac's tumbling torrent and the city's hustling bustle flows perhaps the most serene straightaway around. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, once a busy trade route, is now plied mainly by fitness fanatics. But it doesn't have to be a workout. Rent a canoe and paddle along with the countless painted turtles or, even better, simply float along among the herons and hawks.
Fletcher's Boat House, 4940 Canal Rd. NW. For details call 202-244-0461 or go to www.fletchersboathouse.com.
Swains Lock -- Two miles north of Falls and River roads, Great Falls. For more information, call 301-299-9006.
. . . seen the Mall in a whole new light. Maybe it's the heat, or maybe it's the crowds. Maybe it's just that you've been there and done that. But whatever it is that's keeping you away from the familiar memorials disappears at dusk. In its place, a brilliantly lighted Jefferson Memorial springs from the shadows -- and its mirror image blooms in the Tidal Basin. Light and shadows splash through the FDR Memorial's fountains. And the stirring black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial only gains power in the darkness.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company