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December 1, 2017

coffeeneuring 2017: ride #5
posted by soe 2:47 pm

Coffeeneuring Ride #5: Benning (Dorothy I. Height) Library (3935 Benning Road, N.E.) and Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. (2301 Bladensburg Rd., N.E.)

Benning Road (Dorothy Height) Library

Saturday, Oct. 21; 17.4 miles

Arnold Palmer (iced tea & lemonade), biscuit

The Benning (Dorothy Height) Library opened in 2010 and was designed by the same firm that did the Shaw Library. It’s dedicated to Dorothy Height, a civil rights and women’s rights activist who headed up the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years and who spent the latter years of her life in D.C. (Interestingly, this is at least the fourth building in D.C. named in her honor. The others I’m aware of include a post office, an elementary school, and the NCNW headquarters.)

It’s an airy space, designed with a lot of copper on the outside to capture the afternoon sun and beautiful murals on the inside. The ones that line the kids’ section were done by the local artist coalition/nonprofit Life Pieces to Masterpieces.

Life Pieces to Masterpieces Mural

On the opposite wall, which covers the length of the building, is the truly gorgeous “Knowledge” by local artist Rik Freeman. These are just two of the panels:



The second panel depicts local neighborhood landmarks, which is really cool.

The interior of the room is large, with very high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows at the back of the building, which lets in a ton of light and helps to make the space more inviting than my pictures do justice. There’s a fun round space in the children’s room, which I think is where story time and other kid-friendly events are held.

Children's Room

Benning Library

After picking up my book on hold, I headed back across the Anacostia River (the Benning Road includes a bike/pedestrian sidewalk lane). The fall colors were out in force.

Fall Colors along the Anacostia

Saturday Selfie

I paused at the Kingman Island Park, but it was getting a little late and it was a little deserted and when you have that voice warning you that this is how horror movies work, you should just listen to them. But I’ll be back.

Kingman Island

Having missed Mason Dixie the previous week, I made sure to leave myself enough time to get there. The restaurant is in a car-heavy area of the city, not far from the intersection of Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue, a sketchy place at best to find yourself on a bike (because of the speed and congestion, not because of the area itself). I’d ridden a bike out that way once before, so had decided that anyplace that felt like it was moving too fast would just put me and my bike on the sidewalk and I’d ride at a pedestrian’s pace anywhere I had to share their thruway. Once you’re north of New York, you can ride on the street again safely, but once I arrived at Mason Dixie I was frustrated to find no bike parking at all and a dearth of street signs to lock up to. I found one at the end of the parking lot and headed inside.

There’s no hot tea or cocoa to be had at Mason Dixie, but I decided that since their Arnold Palmers were made with homemade ingredients and since one of those ingredients was tea, it could count. Although the weather was cool, I’d been riding a lot, so an iced beverage did not go wrong, and it was possibly the best Arnold Palmer I’ve ever had. I got a trio of biscuits (and two types of seasonal jam — pickled peach and a mixed berry), but took two of them home with me, because they are ginormous and delicious and filling!

I’d definitely go back again, but if you’re biking, I’d recommend a cable lock, rather than a U-lock, to make things easier.

Mason Dixie

Category: books,dc life,sports. There is/are 2 Comments.

The interior of the library is nice, and I ❤️ the murals.

It’s always wise to listen to the little voice in your head that sends warnings about the sketchy areas. The biscuits look delicious!

Comment by Nancy 12.01.17 @ 6:31 pm

@Nancy: I agree about usually listening to that little voice. I usually figure it’s picking up on things that your conscious mind is unaware of. Sometimes, though, it’s just scared for dumb reasons, so I always try to ask myself if it could be for that reason first.

Comment by soe 12.06.17 @ 5:54 am