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  • the Summer House, on the Senate side of the capitol grounds

  • It’s difficult to find without a guide, but it’s just beyond the copse of bamboo where Jack died (and woke up after the initial plane crash).

  • we call it “the grotto”. overlooked by 99.9% of tourists.

  • thought at first it might be one of those spots where caca goes into the anacostia

  • definitely the capitol grotto, one of my favorite chill spots, what’s the history behind it? i like the little stone seats all around, seemed like congress enjoyed passing the duchy around there after work back in the day…

  • one of your ‘new’ favorite spots? you gotta get out more homey 😉 really like that big fountain/park across the street from the ‘grotto’, one of the best fountains in dc…

  • awesome! I want to go to there.

  • Could anyone tell me how to get there from a metro stop?

  • From my days as an intern, I recall being told this was built for cannons to protect the Capitol, I guess for either the War of 1812 or the Civil War.

    @Rosie: if you walk directly to the Capitol building from Union Station you’ll pass right by it. It’s small.

  • exactly 250 steps due west of the Carillion (now, does anyone know why that is?)

    betcha don’t.

  • Sorry jm but someone was lying to you…I used to work for the Sec. of the Senate and we frequently lied to the interns. In the war of 1812, the Capitol was essentially two unfinished 2 story rooms connected by a large corridor and that was burnt down by the Brits in 1814. And in the Civil War they were still trying to complete the Dome.

    That Summer House was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead about 1878-1888 as a refuge for Senators and visitors before the days of air conditioning and as a place to get a cool drink of water…since there were no water fountains in the Capitol complex at that time. There was supposed to be one on the House side but no funds were ever appropriated for it so it was not built.

    Less “exciting” history but a very nice spot nevertheless.

    • There should be a huge monument to Frederick Law Olmstead somewhere. That man did so much to beautify urban landscapes and I can’t think of anyone since who’s had such a pround and lasting impact. Pure genius.

    • hahaha I in fact qualified my statement for the very reason that I am sure at least 50% of “history” given to interns is completely false (whether popular myth or just flat out lie).

  • Lovely! That will be great to visit after my parents and I take a tour of the Capitol on the Fourth of July!
    If you search “Spring Grotto” on Google maps, it comes up.

  • I love the Summer House! I think I liked it better before I found out its history, though. For years, it was just this mysterious, idyllic structure without any apparent purpose, sitting on the Capitol grounds.

  • The Summer House is one of the stops on the “Outdoor Walking Tours of the Capitol Building and Grounds” offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 1:30p.m., through June 30th. More information can be found at http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/visit/special_activities or on twitter @visitthecapitol.

  • Before they got rid of the Capitol Police horses, they used to take them in there for a drink too. It was sad when they got rid of them for ‘budget reasons’ in the late 1990s.

  • SHUSH. This has been my secret place since my 4th grade field trip. Don’t tell anyone else for god’s sake…

  • That’s one of my fave spots to cool off after running or walking the Mall.

  • This is beautiful. I have to check this out.

  • After seeing this post I visited this little slice of heaven today but beware…it’s locked up on Sundays!

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