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A ferry ride and a visit to DistrictCryo: Lettie Gooch owner Theresa Watts’ dream day

June 21, 2018 at 11:27 PM

In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District. See previous dream days from Mayor Muriel Bowser, BYT’s Svetlana Legetic, Story District’s Amy Saidman and more.

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“Resilient” is an odd way to describe a women’s boutique, but when you’re talking about Lettie Gooch, it’s pretty apt. Theresa Watts’ tiny shop has hung on in The Shay as companies local (Glen’s Garden Market) and national (Kit and Ace, Chrome Industries) have shuttered outposts in the Shaw apartment/retail development. Watts credits her community for Lettie Gooch’s longevity — the shop has already relocated twice since it opened on Ninth Street NW in 2006. “Our customers have been like family and friends, and they’ve grown up with me for 12 years,” she says. Watts fills the store with breezy, unstructured dresses and tops — like clothes you’d wear to work when you’d rather be at the beach. She has gotten to know her Shaw neighborhood well over the years, but on her dream day, she’s hitting the pavement and exploring.

I would wake up, sit on my balcony — which is sadly about to have its view obstructed by a new condominium — and journal and set my intentions for the day, after the dog has let me sleep in late. Chill is a little Shih Tzu. Then we’d do our morning stroll through Shaw. He walks really slow in the heat, so I get a chance to pay attention to how pretty the original architecture is. I like to notice little things, like how a lot of the churches and taller brownstones have fake owls sitting on top. And I read the history boards on the Shaw Heritage Trail, or pay attention to the birds frolicking around — there’s a new red jay family in the neighborhood.

I like matcha lattes — I’ve tried to make them at home but it’s just not the same! Buttercream Bakeshop has matcha, plus they have fabulous hohos. They’re homemade and the chocolate coating is just perfect.

My midmorning self-care routine would be to take an exercise class, which I’ve been doing in my head for many months now, if not executing it. What I’ve been doing in lieu of exercise is DistrictCryo in Shaw. You take off your clothes and you get into this circular machine with ice. You’re supposed to close the door and stay in there for three minutes. I’m a wimp — I can usually only last one and a half minutes. They’ve also just recently gotten saunas, so today I’d sit in their infrared sauna that has color therapy.

As a native Washingtonian, one of the things I feel hasn’t changed over the years is that we stay in our own neighborhoods. I grew up in Brightwood Park, and I would always stay in Northwest. I happen to love water. If I could drop a waterfront in the middle of Shaw, I would be super happy. I want to go to the Southwest Waterfront, stroll, people-watch and hop on a ferry and explore. I want to ride that wheel at National Harbor, or go to Georgetown and check out the “Wonder Woman” Commander Salamander [a re-creation of the defunct clothing store on Wisconsin Avenue NW for the filming of next year’s 1980s-set sequel]. I’d love to see that in person.

I like Asian food. Kyirisan is my neighbor and I’m obsessed with their food. I often find myself sitting at their bar eating dinner.

One of my favorite cocktail spots in Shaw is Baby Wale. They’re always playing go-go music, and it brings me back to my roots. It’s nice to meet up with friends, grab a cocktail and bob your head.


Lori McCue is the arts and food editor at DCist. Previously, she was a features editor at Express.

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