HAD ENOUGH OF JIM AND JESSICA? Gary and Donna? Let's take a break from all the scandals and brouhahas surrounding our public figures and their love lives and remember the simpler things of the past. Let's talk about lovers lane.

Lovers Lane NW, that is.

That's right, D.C. has an official Lovers Lane. And it's not some seedy alley, either. It's about as quiet and country-like a setting as Washington can offer. It runs between Massachusetts Avenue and R Street NW inside Rock Creek Park.

Originally, it was the first leg of the journey from Georgetown to Baltimore. Carriages and wagons wound down the narrow road from the heights of Georgetown to a ford across Rock Creek. In 1788, the first bridge over Rock Creek was built at M Street, and the road was abandoned in favor of the new route.

According to the WPA guide to Washington, the road earned its sobriquet by being a favorite trysting place for more than a century, before being officially named Lovers Lane in 1900.

These days, the entrances to the lane are closed to vehicles. The northern entrance is just west of the Massachusetts Avenue bridge over Rock Creek. The lane, now not much more than a wide, gravelly path, runs along the western ridge of Rock Creek under a thickly forested canopy, dips to cross a small stream and then climbs up to R Street, passing between Montrose Park and Dumbarton Oaks.

It's easy to understand the track's attraction over the years. It's been far enough off the beaten trail that romantically inclined couples could find romance and solitude in a sylvan setting. Today, it's still a popular hiking trail, and sometimes it even lives up to its name.