Category Archives: DC

The Weekend Round-Up: November 27-29

 

Happy Weekend!

 

#OptOutside
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

This initiative started by REI a few years ago was so good it became one of the most popular hashtags… Skip the shopping (or do it off-hours online) and get out to enjoy some family QT outdoors. You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for adventures in the fresh air. Take a hike, hit a playground, explore a garden, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with tons of inspiration for fun in the sun.

Family Bike Ride
Where: National Mall to Kennedy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Here’s a nice family bike ride: Head down the National Mall, around the Lincoln Memorial, down Pkwy Drive to the Rock Creek Trail that runs along the Potomac.  You’ll come to a pedestrian bridge that leads to the grounds of The REACH at the Kennedy Center. There, you can explore the beautiful outdoor area with stretches of green grass and pretty plantings, art sculptures, fountains, and the beautifully designed buildings. Plan to shop the Winter Holiday Market at Victura Park and enjoy a bite and drink from the cafe. You can also take a stroll on the Kennedy Center Terrace and through the Grand Foyer inside.

Victura Park Winter Holiday Market
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Friday, 4-8pm, Saturday 12–9pm, & Sunday 12-8pm.
Admission: Free

Victura Park, the pop-up wine car on the grounds of The REACH at the Kennedy Center, transforms into a festive Holiday Market starting this weekend. The outdoor market will feature an amazing line up of local artists, craftspersons, and other specialized vendors, including the Kennedy Center Gift Shop pop-up shop. Support small businesses by purchasing gifts, prepackaged treats, and one-of-a-kind artworks for the perfect holiday celebration. Sip on seasonal classics such as spiked cider and hot cocoa or choose from the signature menu of beer and wine, light snacks, and delicious food hot from the grill.

More Two-Wheel Adventures
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

There are even more great routes to ride all around the area, and this weekend will be a nice one to enjoy them. Take in the fall scenery, get some exercise, and have fun — all while easily social distancing. This post has a bunch of pedal-worthy recs, with something for riders of all levels, and this recently posted route is ideal for the whole crew.

Lighting of the Wharf Tree
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Friday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Kick off the holiday season at The Wharf as they officially light their Christmas tree and transform the waterfront into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights. Bring the family for photos by to the 45-foot pine tree on District Pier, then enjoy dinner together at one of the many restaurants. End your evening by roasting s’mores around the firepit at Camp Wharf!

Recreation on Ice
Where: A few locations in the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

With sunny skies and cool temps in the forecast, conditions this weekend should be great for outdoor ice skating. While some places are not opening for the season, the ice rinks at  Pentagon Row and Reston Town Center  are two that are once again welcoming skaters to glide the day — and night — away. And the Color Burst Ice Rink at the Merriweather District in Columbia, MD, just started its inaugural skating season. All rinks have Covid precautions in place for safe, socially distanced skating.

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Where: Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, & Gardens
When: Through December 31, 9am – 4pm
Admission: $20/adult, $12/age 6-11, free/5 & under

Christmas past meets Christmas present at George Washington’s estate. Just as the Washingtons celebrated the holiday with family and friends, visitors can start a new tradition of visiting Mount Vernon this holiday season. The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s estate. It’s open every day of the year, including Christmas Day and New Years. There are also Candlelight Tours on select dates, plus even more seasonal activities — visit the website for details.

Season’s Greetings
Where: Hillwood Estate | Northwest DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Suggested donation $18/adult, $5/child, free/under 6

Hillwood remains a safe way to enjoy the holiday splendor with precautionary measures in place. Enjoy time outside as the gardens reveal another aspect of their ever-changing beauty during the holiday season. The gardens, as revealed in the publication A Garden for All Seasons: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hillwood, are the inspiration for glamorous Christmas trees and festive décor across the estate.

Holiday Movies at The Wharf: Home Alone
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Srnday, 2pm & 6pm
Admission: $60

Join The Wharf throughout this holiday season for a pop-up outdoor movie theatre on Transit Pier where you can enjoy all the Christmas classics from your private firepit in front of a 20′ LED screen. They’re showing all the best holiday classics — this weekend it’s Home Alone— at 2pm and 6pm showtimes. In advance of the event, reserve your fire pit, which seats up to four people. Drinks (both hard and soft) and snacks are available throughout the movie from Cantina Bambina. Each seating includes a special stocking stuffed full of great offers and holiday treats from Wharf restaurants, merchants, and partners.

Fallin’
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There’s still some autumn splendor left to enjoy. With pleasant temps and foliage still brightening the landscape, this weekend will be a good time to relish in the season. This post has recommendations for where to savor it around the DMV.

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through December 23, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

The DC holiday market (to me, anyway) begins today. It’s a bit different this year as new safety measures are implemented, but the few blocks in the middle of Penn Quarter will still transform into a charming open air market with a great variety of art and wares for sale, treats to savor, and entertainment — though that last part will be presented on video screens instead of live on stage.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks around Fairfax County, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. See a snake a and turtle feeding at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Go on a Turkey Walk at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Enjoy a Family Owl Outing at Huntley Meadows. Details and registration for these and many more nature activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Small Business Saturday
Where: Around the DMV
When: Saturday

Admission: Free, but plan to buy & support local
If you’re planning to do some holiday shopping this weekend, make a point of going to local, independent stores, both to score great, unique gifts and to support people and places that help make our communities thrive.

Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Evenings throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Several parks and gardens in the area have transformed into sparkling wonderlands. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate — it doesn’t get much cozier than that.

ZooLights Express
Where: Wards 1 & 2 | WDC
When: Friday & Saturday evenings
Admission: Free

To play it safe this year, ZooLights Express, powered by Pepco, is bringing the colorful glow of DC’s beloved National Zoo holiday tradition into the community. The 24-foot ZooLights Express truck is hitting the road, festively decorated with light displays and featuring “Panda Claws.” It will visit one District ward each Friday and Saturday night from 6-8pm. This weekend it will be in Ward 1 on Friday and Ward 2 on Saturday. (Click links for the mapped route.)

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Be sure to check the KFDC holiday season guide to plan for upcoming events — some you need to reserve tickets for in advance.
* Don’t forget about the KFDC Gift Guide to help with holiday shopping.
* DC Water published a children’s book: Where Does Our Wastewater Go? takes complex environmental and engineering themes and makes them accessible to children.
* New movies to watch with the kids.
* What Washingtonians are grateful for.
* The Losses We Share, a beautiful essay by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Holidays, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Shop, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend

Five Things for Today: November 26, 2020

So thankful for my three favorite people

 

1. Happy Thanksgiving! 🧡🦃 Looking for a pre-feast activity? Take a hike, stroll a garden, go for a bike ride. For some post-feast fun, take the fam to one of the holiday light displays around the area.  Many are open on Thanksgiving, and it’s a nice way to wind down the evening and/or walk off the turkey.

 

2. Of course, you can also skip the activities:  6 Steps to a Great Thanksgiving Nap.

 

3. In case you missed it, the KFDC 2020 Holiday Gift Guide went up last night. I put a ton of thought into it to make it relevant for this unique time, so I really hope it’s helpful as you head into the holiday season.

 

4. Food52’s Thanksgiving Cooking Playlist is pretty awesome.

 

5. Simple and beautiful… What are you thankful for this year?

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Holidays, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia

The 2020 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide

The gift recs might change, but never this pic

 

The phrase “[insert any annual occurrence] is going to look a lot different this year” is becoming all too redundant.  But it’s fitting for so many situations, including this guide.  If you’ve been reading KFDC awhile, then you know my annual holiday gift recommendations usually are heavy on local experiences to reflect the spirit of adventure and exploring that (I hope) my blog captures.

However, like much of life these days, it’s going to look a lot different this year.  With the lack of live entertainment and in-person programs combined with a cautious view of what’s safe to do, major sections of the guide had to be scrapped.  But — and here’s another ubiquitous term of 2020 — we pivot.  Where there used to be listings for upcoming shows to snag tickets to gift, you’ll find ideas to elevate your at-home entertainment.  Instead of recs for indoor experiences that are now considered iffy, there are products to enhance your outdoor adventures.  And suggestions for awesome on-site classes are replaced with tips for online enrichment.

Some of these ideas will still look familiar because, as I’ve said in the past, I think they’re really good suggestions.😉 Plus, many of them give me the chance to highlight local businesses offering unique products and services as well as organizations that are doing great things.  I hope you’ll find all of these, old and new, helpful as you head into the holiday season. Happy gifting!

 

HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Since live theatre, concerts, or even movies at local venues aren’t really options right now, help bring the entertainment home instead. The right devices, accessories, and treats can create alternative environments to enjoy those experiences you miss and have socially distant hang outs with company.  Even better, they make great gifts! Here are some to check out, with something for everyone on your list:

* With a portable projector, kids (and adults) can have friends over for outdoor movie nights.
* A real projector screen completes the outdoor theatre set up.
* Put on your own concert with a karaoke machine or microphone.
* The perfect accessory for gamers.
* For staying warm during winter backyard hangs, the Solo Stove or a patio heater are worth the splurge.
*  Cozy blankets are great to gift. (Another style. Splurge option.)
* Kids can wrap up in fun ones, like this and this.
* Footwear for hang-at-home occasions. (Budget option.)
* Make it all sweeter with City Bonfires, created by two local dads.
* Or spice it up with a popcorn kit.

 

OPT OUTSIDE

Bikes & accessories are the 2020 gift (in KFDC’s opinion)

These days, our best bets for getting out of the house and social distancing safely are activities outdoors. So, make those al fresco adventures better for everyone on your gift list with gear that supports their favorite hobbies, encourages them to try new ones, and keeps them happy outside in all conditions.

* Everyone needs a bike these days. (More options.)
* Most important accessory for it: Bike helmet — for kids & adults.
* We have and love this bike bag.
* Make rides sparkle — and visible — with these lights.
* Sleds are a must-have for the snowy season
* As is the right apparel for kiddos.
* Good winter boots, too. (More options: These and these.)
* Grown-ups also need good winter wear: For moms & dads.
* Fuzzy pullover is on trend. (Splurge option.)
* Bombas are warm and fun for all aged tootsies
* Yeti drinkware…or go all out with a cooler.
* Winter hats: Littles, kids, mom, dad.
* For rainy days, a bubble umbrella is practical, and these are so pretty.
* Roller skates  are making a come back — for kids and adults.
* Take game playing outdoors with Spike Ball.
* It’s a good time to get into disc golf.
* Of course, all outdoor activities should include masks (as should any 2020 gift guide): For kids, for working out, for a pretty look, for fashion, for Christmas,  for Chanukah, for fun.

 

THE INSIDE STORY

Cheers to gifting fun drinkware!

Between closures due to Covid and cold months ahead, there will be more time spent indoors this winter. Gifts to make it cozy and fun for people you love are perfect to give. Here are some ideas, a mix of practical, indulgent, amusing, and unique items.

* Tea time, anyone?
* Or hot chocolate stocking stuffers?
* Enjoy it in these map mugs — fun and educational!
* Very handy instructional hot toddy mugs.
* And how cute are these personalized family mugs?
* Take advantage of soup and stew season.
The Always Pan is the cooking item of the season
* Shop for even more cookware locally at the wonderful Hill’s Kitchen.
* DIY food & drinks kits have something for everyone.
* Holiday PJ’s for the whole fam.
* A cozy essential: Slippers for kids, mom, & dad.
* A comfy robe to top it all: For kids, mom, dad.
* Can’t go wrong with a cute sweater from Anthro.
* Totally getting our kids cat pillows.
* Per Sasha, these LED lights complete any room.
* Some of our classic board game faves: Rummikub, Catan, Scrabble, Clue.
* New family game night recs: Kids Against Maturity, Just One, Fun Employed, Anomia.

 

GAME ON

A trove of games and puzzles at Labyrinth

Here’s where to go locally for those recommended games above.  DC’s best shop for board games and puzzles continues to offer so many fantastic options for holiday gifts, so plan on a visit to Labyrinth Game Shop on Capitol Hill — or to the website for socially distanced browsing. This is one of my go-tos for birthday party presents and always a stop for some shopping this time of year. Since I first wrote about the store when it opened 10 years ago, it’s gotten even better, so much that they expanded to a second space next door. They have something for everyone — all ages, every interest. Even better, there’s always a fun, friendly vibe in the store, plus the service is just as great as the inventory. All of the staff are very knowledgeable about what they sell — give them a few details about who you’re shopping for, and they’ll show you just the right game or puzzle to buy. (You can do this through their online Holiday Gift Assist, too!)

 

WORK IT

Wireless headphones and more ways  to upgrade their workspace

Almost everyone has made some kind of work transition to their house over the last year — from the office, school, or even the gym. And since it looks like it’ll be going on at least a little while longer, these gifts that improve those at-home set-ups will be much appreciated — for job work, class work, and working out.

* This stand up desk converter gets great reviews.
* A new desk chair for kids will make online school more comfy.
* Wireless headphones for work — and leisure. (Splurge option.)
* A map wall decal could come in handy for geography class.
* There are all kinds of blue light glasses available.
* The new Echo Dots are pretty cool (my kids love their older models).
* Any yogi can always use a new mat.
* Weight sets and exercise bands for at-home workouts.
Local shop Summit to Soul also has awesome workout wear.
* Lululemon has some great deals right now.

 

GOOD READS

The gift of a great read

* Black is a Rainbow Color: A timely children’s book
* Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice: Kids can learn about their VP
* All of the Andrea Beaty books
* Give a set of your childhood faves
* Stamped: By DC’s own Jason Reynolds, for tweens and up
* Humans: The perfect gift for any HONY fan
* A Promised Land: Sure to be a holiday bestseller
* Accidentally Wes Anderson: For fans of his films or the IG inspired by them
* What Kind of Woman: Poetry that will take her breath away
* Caste: One of the best reads this year
* That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life: And so will this book!
* Subscriptions keep the gifts coming: National Geographic, Washingtonian Magazine, The New Yorker, Bon Appetit

 

B(U)Y THE BOOK

Local stores like Kramers offer online & IRL shopping

Look for the above recs and more great reads for everyone at a local independent bookstore. You can shop just about all of them online, too.

* Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle is a DC institution and always a great place to browse and have a bite at Afterwards Cafe.
* Combine your shopping trip to Labyrinth with a stop next door at East City Book Shop.
* On H Street NE, Solid State Books  also has a nice selection.
* Find reads just for kids at Hurray for Books in Old Town Alexandria.
* Politics & Prose, one of the city’s most well known bookstores has locations at Union Market, The Wharf, and its original Connecticut Avenue shop.
* Go secondhand at Capitol Hill Books, a legendary used bookshop.

 

BOX IT UP

Little Loving Hands’ gift boxes give back

This category includes two kinds of gifts, but one theme: They come in a box. Subscription boxes that are delivered on a regular basis keep the surprises coming. And then there are gift boxes curated just for the holidays, including some really good ones from local businesses.

* Local retailer Steadfast Supply has a fantastic variety of gift boxes.
* Little Loving Hands, started local moms, lets kids can get creative & give back.
* Time 4 Mom is a subscription service especially for busy mamas.
* Kiwi Co. now has maker boxes for kids of all ages — and adults.
* Birchbox delivers beauty each month.
* There’s even one for pooches: Barkbox.

 

KEEP IT CLASSY

Get in the act with Adventure Theatre’s virtual classes

Has your child expressed interest in a particular activity? Give them a boost by getting them into a class! Many programs that used to be IRL have gone digital, so kids can enjoy them safely from the comfort of home. Here are some recommendations:

* Get kiddos cooking with Tiny Chefs.
* Budding actors can learn the performing arts ropes with Adventure Theatre.
* Young Playwrights Theater offers playwrighting programs
* All ages can twirl and groove with CityDance.
* Give the gift of music with lessons from the International School of Music.
* The Lane Social Club offers some class series littles.
* For adults: An online cooking class with the Hill Center or a wine tasting with District Winery.

 

PICTURE PERFECT PRESENTS

Capture them (and their hearts) with this gift

How about a gift that includes your whole gang? Present them (and yourself!) with a family portrait session. And like the last few years, I’m recommending just the right photographer for it. As mentioned in previous gift guides, I have adored Darcy Troutman’s photos forever, starting with her former blog, No Monsters in My Bed. But over the last few years, she launched her own photography business capturing families and weddings, helping people make and preserve memories. Her style is unique and the photos gorgeous, but her real-life, let-the-moment-seize-you approach to her work is what really makes it special. Also, she’s hilarious and sweet and really comfortable to be around, the ideal personality for the job. Plus, her photos will not only capture this time in your lives, they’ll make for great gifts for extended family throughout the year, too.

 

DESIGN TIME

Give design guidance from a guru

If there’s someone in your life who wants a facelift for their home, but needs some guidance going about it, gift them the help of an expert.  Margaret Carroll is an architect and design consultant extraordinaire and, full disclosure,  a really great friend of mine. But that just means I know first hand that she has a keen eye for style and the sharpest aesthetic of anyone I know, from the perfectly picked tile in her bathrooms to the amazing booties on her feet. She actually did a tear-down/rebuild of her own house, and you can take a virtual tour of it here.

 

ENTER THROUGH THE MUSEUM GIFT SHOP

The Spy Museum gift shop is full of intriguing inventory

We have some pretty amazing museums in our city, and many of their gift shops — that are also online — echo the impressive collections with items that are an extension of their programs. It’s not just prints of paintings you see; you can buy books, puzzles, accessories, gadgets, games, housewares, and lots of children’s items that are artistic, clever, and innovative. Just about all of the Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo have wonderful gift shops. And I highly recommend browsing the shops of some of the other museums in town: The International Spy Museum, National Building Museum, and Phillips Collection all have unique and interesting inventory.

 

GREAT TASTE

Delight with Provisions from Officina

You kind of can’t go wrong with the gift of food. I mean, everyone eats, and no matter how old, we all have our favorite bites and places for them. That’s why a gift card to a restaurant or treatery (hey, did I just make up a word?) or an edible product from a local establishment will satisfy many a giftee’s appetite or craving. Here are a few ideas to chew on:

* The Pretzel Bakery is our neighborhood fave for savory & sweet treats.
* Officina offers Provisions for a week of delicious eating.
* If someone on your gift list loves sushi, they need to try O-Ku.
* Give a gift card for Rose’s Luxury for Rose’s At Home Dinner Delivery.
* You can’t go wrong with goodies from Baked & Wired.
* Cider enthusiasts will love a gift card from ANXO.
* All Purpose Pizzeria is delish and offering holiday gift cards.
* Goldbelly is an online marketplace of well-known purveyors from all over.
* Trader Joes‘ giant chocolate bars, tins of peppermint bark, and other gifty items are easy last minute (or planned) treats.
* The above are just a few recs. You can give a gift card from any place you want to support — browse Open Table and Resy for more reminders of what’s out there.

 

GIVE… BACK

Give to a cause to gift a loved one

How about boxing up hope and happiness? Gifts That Give Hope, an online market this year, lets you support the community and find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones as you make donations to local charities in their names.  You can also do this through the GIVE page here on the blog, which has suggestions on where to contribute, all of them shared by KFDC readers. You can give your time and plan a volunteering outing with your kids to show them the gift of giving back. While most of those opportunities are limited right now, you could do a trash pick-up or find ways for kids to volunteer from home.

 

GIVE FREELY

The gift of a local adventure — and it doesn’t cost a thing

Of course, not all gifts have to come with a hefty price tag. There are so many magical yet still inexpensive experiences to be had in the DC area, some without even spending a dime. You can creatively package them up — perhaps a big, fun card with a photo — and promise a visit. Some suggestions:

* A DIY scavenger hunt at the National Arboretum.
* A holiday lights tour — many continue into January.
* A visit to Planet Word, DC’s newest, coolest museum.
* Fossil hunting adventures at the Purse Area or Calvert Cliffs State Park.
* A bike ride bookended by fun explorations and play.
* A geogcaching adventure on an area hike.
* A day of play at Clemyjontri.
* An outing to Riverbend Park, where you can hike to Great Falls to enjoy some of the area’s best nature.
* A nature/photo walk at Huntley Meadows or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
* Find inspo for even more!

 

Call for more:  Are you (or is someone you know) a local businesses owner or maker offering products that would make great gifts?  Let us know by leaving a link in the comments, if so!

 

*Many of the newer recs are affiliate links (though I put a ton of thought into them), which means I could earn a small commission when you click on them and make a purchase. As a small business, especially during this challenging time, your support is very much appreciated!

 

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Filed under 2020, Annual, Chanukah, Christmas, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Shop, Virginia

Five Things for Today: November 25, 2020

Checking the temporary trail map at Rock Creek Park

 

1. Kids and families are invited to create art related to Rock Creek Park.  Starting today through December 16, they are hosting Creativity Day with a different theme every week.  Every child who participates will earn a Junior Ranger sticker at least once, and if they participate every week, they’ll win a cool prize.  This week’s theme is fall leaves — draw, paint, sketch, or otherwise create something representing your favorite fall leaf or leaves and post your art in the event.  Be sure to check back every week and post your artwork in the corresponding event!

 

2.  And speaking of Rock Creek, our local national park is a great place to enjoy outdoor recreation right here in the city.  Layer up and hit the trail — we usually park at the Nature Center lot or by Peirce Mill, then hop on a trail from there.  Some areas might be closed right now, but there are maps on trees indicating where to go. Admission to Rock Creek Park is free. And for more places to hit the trail, the round-up of walks in the woods is full of good recs.   [Note: Links above offer more info about the Nature Center and Peirce Mill, but both are closed right now.]

 

3. A KFDC reader let me know about this new online resource created by her cousin:  Map Your Holiday is a digital, interactive map that crowdsources holiday lights and other happenings, so folks know where to go to find safe ways to enjoy festive displays (including residential), markets, and more.  The default map is based in Seattle where she lives, but you can add events to any area. (I added the outdoor flea market at Eastern Market as a test!)  

 

4. Do you know about Acorns? It’s a neat, easy way to invest and save, offering bonuses when you buy certain brands or giving the option to invest “spare change” from credit card purchases. We’ve been signed up for a couple of years now and always designate the fund to something like an upcoming trip or holiday gift shopping.  It’s cool to see how fast it grows! (PS: That’s my referral link that gives you a little starter gift.🙂)

 

5. The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century So Far — according to the New York Times. (Do you agree?  I hadn’t even heard of some of them, but now am interested to check them out!)

 

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia