The Harwood family rested there one Saturday afternoon after exploring Georgetown. “This is a great place to stop,” said Kathy Harwood, who attended George Washington University and now lives in Groton, Mass., with her husband, Jon, and three school-age children.
“We were looking for a place to eat our cupcakes,” said Jon, sitting on a low stone wall and pointing to a pink cake box. The children played, admiring the tulips and U.S. flag flying overhead.
The park celebrates Key, who lived in a nearby house and wrote a poem that became the lyrics of the national anthem. His bronze bust rests on a stone pedestal. Columns stand in semicircles on the red brick pavement. A border of shrubs and trees shields the park from cars. For a stroll after your park visit, take the staircase down to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath or head left out of the park and walk across Key Bridge.
About a mile and a half north, up Massachusetts Avenue NW across from the British Embassy, is the Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden.
Off the sidewalk, across a footbridge, nestled on the hillside is a sanctuary honoring the Lebanese American poet (1883-1931). An engraving at the entrance reads: “His legacy is the powerful simplicity of his words, which continue to inspire those who long for peace, search for love and strive for justice.”
“It’s a beautiful, peaceful place,” said Amanda Kay, a Dupont Circle resident, who says she walks by all the time with her Australian shepherd-beagle mix, Emma, on their way to a dog park.
A bust of Gibran and birds made of bronze decorate the polished stone wall framing the garden entrance. Grass and flowering shrubs surround stone benches that encircle a star-shaped pool — a hidden, picturesque escape in a bustling capital.