Category Archives: Social Distancing

Hike the Underground Railroad Experience Trail at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park

 

I first mentioned Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park on the blog back in mid-June after the kids and I had just visited the locale in Montgomery County.   I’d heard about the park and the Underground Railroad Experience Trail at least a couple of years before that, and it had been on my long list of places to check out.  But as the Black Lives Matter movement really began to swell, it moved up.  An outing there seemed like a timely experience and educational opportunity for all of us, as well as a good place to go for a socially distanced outing.

The Federal-era manor

The newer Woodlawn Museum

Located in Sandy Spring, MD (just down the road from the popular Adventure Park), Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park offers a glimpse into the area’s past.  It contains a Manor House built in the 1800’s and a newer museum “where echoes of the past tell the story of a bustling farm, its community, and those who made a bold bid for freedom on the Underground Railroad.”  (That last part is in quotes because it’s straight from the website, as we couldn’t visit the museum ourselves; along with the Manor House, it was — and still is — closed due to Covid.)

But the Underground Railroad Experience Trail alone warrants a visit.  At the time we visited, the Montgomery Park’s website had said the trail was part of a network of routes that enslaved people used to escape to freedom.  However, it now has been modified to say that “there is no documented evidence that Woodlawn Manor’s property, owners or buildings were involved in the 19th century Underground Railroad.” Regardless, you still can get an idea of what an escape to freedom entailed.

The walk through dense woods and along edges of fields is an interesting, enlightening, and active way to spend time outdoors. It’s about two miles each way  — there and back; the trail doesn’t loop — along edges of fields and through woods, and  generally flat and easy for little legs to tramp. During non-covid times, guided tours are available that explain the experience and highlight the conditions enslaved people encountered on the Underground Railroad.

Currently, all hikes are self-guided, but a KFDC reader suggested the great idea to print out the map and an explanation of the trail to bring along for context.  With information about timing of escapes, areas along the route best for hiding, obstacles they may have faced, and other notable aspects of the trail, it helps provide insight on the Underground Railroad experience.  And it’s an outing everyone should move up on their list.

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park is located at 16501 Norwood Road in Sandy Spring, MD.  The park and trail are open dawn to dusk. Admission is free.  Guided tours will be available after park programming begins again.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Social Distancing, Weekdays, Weekend

Five Things for Today: January 27, 2021

A bridge into the fortress at Fort Washington Park

 

 

1. A great place to get outside and get a glimpse of the past:  Fort Washington Park in Fort Washington, MD.  You can explore the historic remnants of the fortress dating back to 1824 — including bastions and barracks and cannons — within the grounds and enjoy beautiful views along the Potomac River. Hours are 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is $10/vehicle to the park, free to Fort Washington. 

 

2.  The National Gallery of Art has new Artful Conversations starting today.  During these sessions of the free family program (recommended for kids ages 7–12), participants will explore Rozeal’s afro.died, T. (2011) and connect discoveries to music, all guided by DC-based DJ and multimedia artist Virtual Chicana.   Register in advance — sessions take place today at 4pm,  tomorrow at 4pm, and on Sunday, January 31, at 10am1pm.

 

3. Did you know REI offers all kinds of classes outdoor recreation classes and events?  See what’s coming up locally, including How to Ride a Bike for Kids on several dates in March.

 

4. A really interesting NYT piece on financial aid, excerpted from the book, The Price You Pay for College.

 

5. A simple and important message from the (new) White House.

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia, Winter

Five Things for Today: January 26, 2021

A message in art on the grounds of The REACH

 

1. The Kennedy Center just debuted a new art installation at The REACH.  A response to this time of unprecedented challenges, Unity | Peace | Forward is a free exhibit in three parts scattered around the grounds.  You can see it daily and stroll the lovely outdoor area while the KC is closed.  It gets a multimedia boost on Friday and Saturday evenings from 4:30–8:30pm, when a video of quotes from 65 artists around the world is projected on a Video Wall.  (It can also be viewed online at any time.) Get a glimpse on the Kennedy Center website.

 

2. It’s Pajamuary for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington through the end of the month.  They are collecting new pajamas (all sizes) to donate to local organizations to help keep people in need warm and cozy this winter.  If you want to contribute, find your local drop-off point, or the place to mail them, here.  They’re also hosting a virtual  Tu B’Shevat Seder tomorrow night to celebrate the birthday of trees.  And kiddos can close out Pajamuary with a Pajama Weekend celebration —  join for any or all of these virtual events (recommended for ages 1-6).

 

3.  Have you heard about Science Moms?  The organization was founded by moms who are climate scientists to help educate others about climate change.  I first learned about them in this WaPo article.

 

4.  A healthy spin on Taco Tuesday:  We recently had this easy-to-make meal for dinner, and it was so delicious!

 

5. Cheers to this 🍻

 

Bonus:  We had a sprinkle of snow last night, and the forecast calls for more this weekend, so get ready for it by checking out some ideas for seasonal fun — especially since you may need to book some activities in advance!

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia, Winter

Five Things for Today: January 25, 2021

Seen at The Wharf (where you’ll also find several Restaurant Week participants!)

 

1. The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and DC Public Library have teamed up to for the Winter 2021 season of Books & Baseball. The free, non-competitive, co-ed literature and baseball program for children ages 3-5 takes place every Monday at 5pm through February 22. Each 35-minute session includes the reading of a children’s book by a DC Public Librarian, followed by a beginner-level baseball clinic led by YBA coaches. Virtual clinic activities are easy to complete at home and focus on enhancing motor skills and learning the fundamentals of baseball.  Register for it here!

 

2. How about something fun and creative to work on this winter?  Annmarie Sculpture Garden has put out a Call for Entries for their wonderful, whimsical annual Fairies in the Garden exhibit. They welcome fairy and gnome homes, dragon lairs, magical creatures, fairy gardens, elf abodes, goblin grottos, and more imaginative structures that will be placed in the woods, lawn areas, and trails of the sculpture garden this spring and summer to create a magical experience for guests of all ages.  It’s a non-juried, open show, and anyone is welcome to participate.  Just fill out an entry form and get started!  (PS: Annmarie is a great destination for a socially distanced day trip with art outdoors and a delightful play area for kids.  See more about it and Fairies in the Garden here and through the first link above.)

 

3. Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week begins today and runs through February 7.  Specially priced meals for both dine-in and take-out are $22/lunch, $35/dinner, and $55/dinner (fancier, I assume).  And if you’re taking out for two or more people, you can get even better deals —  the $35 dinner menu is $60, $120 for four and the $55 dinner menu is $100 for two, $200 for four.  Follow the above link to see participating restaurants and menus.

 

4.  Need a show to watch?  Ted Lasso is so funny and heartwarming.

 

5. How Bernie got his now famous mittens.

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia, Winter