Monday, June 30, 2014

Local Nature & Finnish Design: Weekend Outings

(Note: in an effort to not spend enormous amounts of time on one post and to get a new post up, this entire post was crafted on a tablet app. I am not sure how it will actually look on the blog. If it looks horrendous, then I will know that for future reference! The app has less flexibility than the Blogger website, so if the post looks strange or just plain bad, my apologies!)

The past weekend was another fantastic one in terms of weather. On Saturday some friends and I took advantage of the warm sunny day by exploring Scotts Run Nature Preserve, a Fairfax County park located in McLean, Virginia. We took a short hike along the creek, which at its end has a waterfall and leads to the Potomac River. The waterfall is popular with local high school and college kids, but being pretty far outside that demographic, we admired it only from afar. However, we did do some wading and rock throwing in a shallow part of the creek.

Sunday was the last day to visit an exhibit at the Embassy of Finland, so I invited my friend N to join me. The Finnish brand Marimekko is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its iconic Unikko (poppy) pattern, and the embassy had organized a small exhibit to commemorate this occasion. As explained by the embassy's website, the pattern "was born in1964 after Marimekko's founder Armi Ratia had publicly announced that Marimekko would never print floral patterns, because she thought that flowers were more beautiful in nature than on fabric. However, designer Maija Isola paid no heed to Ratia's decree and - perhaps inspired by the poppies growing in her yard - painted a red Unikko along with an entire series of floral patterns in protest. Unikko looked new, graphic and distinctive, and once Ratia saw it, she immediately included the design in Marimekko's collection where it has been ever since."

My personal history with the Marimekko brand dates back over thirty years. When my mom visited me in April, she pointed out that she purchased bed sheets with a Marimekko print on them at a Washington, D.C. area Lord & Taylor department store in the late 1970s. Those colorful sheets faithfully served my younger sister and me for a very long time. However, I believe the only Unikko item I own is a small bag I purchased in New York City four years ago when, while visiting, I specifically hunted down the Manhattan Crate & Barrel which contained a Marimekko section.

The embassy itself is interesting to visit, as it is a modern and green building which is located on Massachusetts Avenue (aka Embassy Row), yet also overlooks Rock Creek Park. The exhibit was in the reception hall which contains large windows looking out onto the park. While very small, the exhibit was nicely arranged, and it gave N a chance to see the embassy (I'd been there before). 

Afterward we lunched at Cactus Cantina, a Tex-Mex restaurant which is - honestly - okay. My chicken and beef enchiladas were just average. Next time I'll remember to seek out Guapo's instead. In search of dessert, we hit up Lilit Cafe in Bethesda and greatly enjoyed our gelato choices.

Another fun weekend in the DC area had passed. N commented how fortunate we are to live in this area, but that it takes a bit of effort to go out and actually take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities we have here. This is true, but I find that the effort always pays off!

Have a good week!


  1. I love that first photo with the stepping stones. Looks like a gorgeous place!

    1. There were two stream crossings like that. Yes, we do have a lot of beautiful parks and such in the DC area, given our location on the Potomac River.


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