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Friday, 01 July 2022

Best Romantic Spots to Explore in the US’s Surprisingly Romantic Capital

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When we think about Washington DC, romance is not usually what comes to mind. Especially with all of the partisan bickering, and the notion that DC is a town obsessed with politics to the exclusion of everything else. But when I moved to DC thirty-years ago, armed with an undergraduate degree in political science and a drive to change the world, I quickly learned that Washington is about more than just legislation and regulations. It’s also a romantic place.

Yes, believe it or not, citizens of the city known for bickering and political shenanigans can generate as much heat and romance as any European hotspot. On Valentine’s Day, it's not uncommon for Senators and Representatives to express their love for their spouses in official statements. It’s not uncommon for young lovers to get engaged under the Capitol Dome. And it’s not uncommon for DC citizens to put politics aside in favor of friendship and even romance—even across the aisle.

Why? Because DC is full of people who share a common vision: a desire to make life better for someone or something. We disagree about what needs to change and how to change it, but we all want to make a difference in the world. There are hundreds of policy issues to work on--from protecting the environment to providing access to health care, to generating support for small businesses, and everything in between. Even though we disagree on how those laws should be written, we can be cordial acquaintances, friends, and, yes, even lovers without rancor (although lively debate is certainly a part of life).

In the end, shared beliefs almost always outweigh disagreements. Washingtonians strive to “agree to disagree” and then discuss the matter over drinks. A lot of drinks.

This has led to some surprising but enduring romances. Consider the marriage of Mary Matalin, a former deputy campaign manager for President George H.W. Bush’s reelection campaign, and James Carville, a former chief strategist for President Bush’s opponent, Bill Clinton. Politically speaking, no two people could be further apart (unless it was Bush and Clinton themselves). And yet they were dating during the campaign! As the saying goes, politics make for strange bedfellows—literally.

You may be wondering how polar opposites like Carville and Matalin even met, much less fell in love. Well, you’ll be surprised to learn that Washingtonians socialize with people from both sides of the aisle all the time. In fact, going out for lunch, or drinks, or dinner, or brunch, or a baseball game, or a concert, or…well, basically, anywhere my  Across the Aisle protagonists Dallas and Grant went to discuss their business, is commonplace and, indeed, expected. Many of these settings are featured in my novel in which the main characters share a tense political rivalry—and a heated attraction.

Fortunately, DC has plenty of romantic venues for any couple—whether bipartisan or not—to meet, mingle and keep company. If you live in DC or are just passing through, here are some spots where love, regardless of political leanings, might bloom.

DC’s cherry blossoms
Love might quite literally bloom amid these stunning blossoms, which blanket the city every spring with their delicate white and pink petals. Wooing couples can enjoy them with a daytime paddle around the tidal basin, or while wandering through the dozens of neighborhoods in the city that boast these gorgeous trees.

Ridwan Meah Oq0KE3CWwdo Unsplash

Photo by Ridwan Meah

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Last modified on Friday, 01 July 2022

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