Dupont Market plays a variety of different parts for its surrounding community. It’s a convenient store combined with a gourmet deli. It carries an assorted variety of condiments from mustards, syrups and sauces, but oddly enough carries some household items while offering a selection of wine, beer, chocolate, and snacks for last minute gatherings. Dupont Market also serves up bagels and breakfast sandwiches, cold deli sandwiches and hot dishes made to order on the small grill they have in the store. It’s all contained within a shoebox of a shop located on a residential street in Dupont Circle. There’s no room to eat inside, but there is a large sidewalk patio with plenty of tables for chowing down your burrito or your sandwich on delicious ciabatta bread.
On a quiet, brick-lined street on Capitol Hill, the main relaxation room at Creative Hands Massage is calm and quiet, as nimble fingers harmonize physical and emotional wellness within private chambers. Massage therapist Ailie Ham oversees skin and holistic wellness therapies, which begin with cups of hot tea to awaken the senses and give droopy pinkie fingers a lift. Aestheticians reach for the spa's signature skin tonics, and bodywork practitioners work in tandem with aromatic organic oils, warm and cool stones, or acupuncture needles to release tension and restore balance. Two blocks east in Union Station, emissaries of relaxation deliver pay-by-the-minute chair massages to prevent the stream of commuters and visitors from winding into a Gordian knot. Click here to see more of Creative Hands.
Nobody likes showing up to the gym only to wait in line for a key piece of equipment. Nor do they like shouldering through a sweaty crowd when moving from one side of the room to the next. The team at Mint Spa and Health Club understands the unsavoriness of an overcrowded workout studio, and so they’ve worked hard to ensure their gym maintains an exclusive club feel. They hold a firm cap on the number of members they admit, keeping their yoga, cardio, and Pilates classes small, and ensuring their team of aestheticians and massage therapists are available whenever guests book an appointment or play the appropriate sequence of notes on the club ocarina.
Balance Gym really is about balance?a balance between strength and stamina, individual and group workouts, and indoor and outdoor exercise. While some classes take place in well-appointed fitness studios, others involve running through Rock Creek Park, doing burpees at the Washington Monument, or deadlifting the Lincoln Memorial. With so many options for getting into shape, it's no wonder the gym was named DC's best by Washington City Paper. If you favor a more intense workout, check out the hugely popular CrossFit program, which blends gymnastics, Olympic lifting, and intense conditioning into a calorie-torching cocktail.
Not long ago, Emma Saal led the life of a rather typical urban twentysomething. The recent University of Maryland grad was living in Dupont Circle, spending her days as the assistant to a real-estate developer and her nights as a cocktail waitress. Though she knew she wanted to, she wasn't exactly sure how to snap out of her status-quo lifestyle—until a friend brought her to a bikram yoga class. She felt an instant attraction to the practice, and didn't hesitate to enroll in a 200-hour teaching program. She taught all over DC and then in Miami, eventually returning home to open her own studio, Epic Yoga.
Though it was Emma's dream, Epic Yoga certainly isn't a one-woman show. She has brought together a large, diverse team of instructors who are inspired by a seemingly endless parade of activities: there are rugby players and IronMan triathletes, surfers and scuba divers, fire dancers and ballerinas. They bring their unique perspectives to a broad range of classes that generally accommodate students of all levels. Traditional sessions of vinyasa and bikram share studio space with fusion practices such as barre yoga, a combination of ballet, cardio, and Pilates; and red sun yoga, which incorporates martial arts techniques, including learning how to karate-chop a yoga mat in two.