It is 6 a.m. on a weekday. Georgetown is quiet but if you look carefully in the dark there is activity.
The first thing you notice is the quiet. And the lack of traffic. Tucked against the curb with lights flashing are delivery trucks unloading anonymous boxes for restaurants and stores. This morning, was receiving about one hundred similar cardboard boxes. A band of young men were silently carrying the boxes into the darkened store with the music still playing inside. Two boxes of bread sit outside , waiting for someone to open.
Down at , food is being unloaded and restaurant staff are grabbing bags of produce and scurrying beneath the sidewalk to the dark cellars. Up Wisconsin, the Store silently honors one of its own.
There are several places for coffee. is humming at 6 am. It is brightly lit and the regulars are chatting with each other. 's on 35th and O Streets will open at 6:30 a.m. but staff members are filling the cooler and putting out muffins. Andparking lot is starting to fill.
Around the corner, on N Street between 36th and 35th Streets, the chapel at prepares for the early mass. The lights glow a the top of the steep stairs and welcome the two dozen or so regulars.
The dawn starts to appear along the river bank and canal. There are a few cars on Key Bridge, but rush hour has not started. Rosslyn is just a few specks of neon. Looking up the Potomac River towards downtown, the Flourmill and Foundry are outlined and the appears.
Close to the Kennedy Center, but still in Georgetown, is the focus of activity. Behind the softly lit exterior is the . At dawn, streams of men and women of all ages are quietly parking and slipping into the building to find their skiffs and bring them to the water. They are chatting, but there is no horseplay. The river sets the mood.
At about 7 a.m. the commuters begin to come. Key Bridge fills with traffic. The waterfront is lit as cars pull into garages. The work day has begun.