While her son and a cousin fished in the Potomac yesterday, Blanche Bradley grilled hot dogs nearby on her small hibachi at Hains Point. Then she spread a blue quilt on the grass under a shade tree, took out a newspaper and rejoiced in the perfect weather.
"This is fantastic," she said, throwing her head back to catch the breeze. "I hibernate in the winter, but I love every bit of the summer."
Yesterday's weather -- a high temperature of 84 degrees with a nice steady breeze -- drew people out of their homes and offices to parks and riverbanks in search of the perfect spot for tanning or cooling off.
Noontime at Dupont Circle wasn't a gobble-down-your-lunch affair. People sat on the grass basking in the sun, nibbling on their sandwiches and salads and sipping cold drinks.
Anne Morrison, who works at a nearby foundation, was "stretching a 10-minute break," eating from a plate of salad set on the grass in front of her while reading a book in her lap.
In the center of the park, Frank Segreti and Richard Fagins, maintenance men with the National Park Service, scraped the statue in the fountain, which was turned off, trying to restore the dingy looking figure to its stately former stature.
Two little boys chased a flock of pigeons, giggling and clapping their hands as the birds flew away. Four men hunched over a table played a quiet game of bid whist. A couple, sharing a blanket, kissed each other lightly.
"This is the best park in the city," said Nathaniel Harris, who visits Dupont Circle regularly while recuperating from surgery on a broken arm. "It's the best place to watch people because you get a good mixture of folks, all of them nice. People mind their business and there aren't a lot of young people or disturbances."
Yesterday's business, for Carol Siegel and Shari Kushner, two recent graduates of George Washington University, was to study for the bar exam they'll take next month. But while working on their careers, they also worked on their tans.
"At the rate things are going, we won't be successful at the exam," said Siegel, laughing. "There's more tanning than studying going on right now."
"Great weather. A real scorcher, but less humid," said Kushner, licking a chocolate ice-cream cone. "We didn't put on tanning lotion. Just grabbed our towels and came out."
At P Street Beach, the mood was calm and sultry. Everyone was out in the open, basking in the sun, stretched out on towels or blankets. Some listened to radios while others were content listening to the quiet rush of water in nearby Rock Creek.
Pleasant 80-degree weather is expected to continue here through the end of the week with a chance of rain today and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.