By AnneMarie Ashburn
There's some Vitamin D missing in our lives. With the combo of commuting in underground tunnels and sitting at a desk all day, some of us DC worker bees don't get a lot of time in the great outdoors. Luckily, there's a solution—spend your lunch break reading in one of these hidden spots.
The 15-ton "Fountain of Light and Water" centerpiece makes the perfect amount of background noise to zone out to while diving into a book. Snag one of the rocking chairs on the east side of the park towards the Capitol and relax. To top off the secret garden effect, there's a gazebo and pretty much every kind of plant anyone's ever heard of.
Stumbling upon this place is pretty much the only way to find it, well, unless you're reading this article. Interesting fact: this place was on the bottom of the Potomac until the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the island last century. Now it's one of the most picturesque spots on the Mall. Go to the pedestrian-accessible island in the middle of the lake for some very secluded reading time, or skip the book and grab a bench along the water for a view of the Washington Monument.
Book Hill Park
How could this place escape anyone's reading spots list? It's right behind the Georgetown Branch Library, giving direct access to piles of reading material to take straight to the outdoors. Stunning vistas await from the benches atop a rolling hill, that you can climb via a decent-sized set of stone stairs. Or forget the bench and grab a seat on the stone wall overlooking the city below.
Rock Creek Park
Another tip of the hat to the National Park Service for maintaining some great outdoor space. As a Mt. Pleasant resident, my recommendation is to find a spot along the zoo's entrance, just a short walk away from Adams Mill Road. There are lots of picnic benches here, so make sure to back some wine and cheese along with your Kindle. Also, don't forget your phone so you can tell your boss you won't be returning to work. Best lunch hour[s] ever!
AnneMarie is a freelance writer and rampant explorer living in DC. You can keep up with her 140-character or less adventures on Twitter.