1. You don’t need a special event to get into the spirit of the spooky season. Here are some ongoing activities perfect for the Halloween lead-up: A hike at Prince William Forest Park, where you might happen upon old, small family grave sites; a stroll through Congressional Cemetery; a visit to the National Museum of Health & Medicine (best for older kids); a tour of Ford’s Theatre.
2. The Capital Art & Craft Festival is coming to Northern Virginia this weekend, October 15-17, and will feature art in more than a dozen mediums — jewelry, paintings, prints, glass, leather, photography, pottery, wearable art, and wood, and more. (Think early holiday shopping!) Even better, I’ve got five pairs of entry tickets ($24 value) to give away. If you want a chance to win one of them, simply leave a comment below by noon (12pm) on Thursday, October 14. Admission to the festival is free for kids age 12 and under.
3. Loads of ideas for DIY Halloween costumes for kids. (And all kinds of ready-to-wear options if you aren’t so crafty.)
4. This round-up of the 40 Best Movies on Netflix You Probably Haven’t Seen looks bookmark-worthy.
5. Every now and then he nails it.
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1. Woodend Nature Sanctuary, the Audubon Naturalist Society’s beautiful grounds in Chevy Chase, MD, is hosting a Grand Reopening tomorrow, October 6, after undergoing a big restoration. The public is welcome to join from 10am – 5pm for tours by docents, an all-ages scavenger hunt, a native plant sale, discounts at the Naturalist Shop, and giveaways. If you can’t make it tomorrow, keep Woodend in mind for a visit another time — the beautiful, tucked away place is great for walks in the woods with kids. You can hike the trails, look for wildlife in the forest and small creatures in the stream, cross footbridges, check out small exhibits, and more.
2. A couple of other tucked away spots we’ve discovered over the years (that many people don’t seem to be aware of given that they’re often empty): Winkler Botanical Reserve and Green Spring Gardens. Smaller grounds and delightful features make them perfect for exploring with little ones, especially this time of year as fall colors begin to emerge.
3. Beloved children’s author and artist Mo Willems will be back at the Kennedy Center this weekend for the We Are All Connected Art Opening Festival. He’ll be creating a large-scale public art playscape, essentially a giant mural, on the REACH Plaza with invited community members — and the public is welcome to watch. There will also be art making, live music, family-friendly activities, and food and drinks available at Victura Park. It’s all free, but register online in advance.
4. What the 700,000 flags I put on the National Mall really mean, by Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, the artist who created In America: Remember.
5. Back-up plan 🙂
Twilight at the Tides Inn
1. A perfect destination for a KidFree getaway? The Tides Inn, a small resort right on the water in Irvington, VA, is just under three hours’ drive from DC — and so lovely. I just enjoyed a mini-break there with a couple of friends, and we had such a nice time relaxing by the pool, dipping in the creek, biking into town, dining at the restaurant, and hanging out on the beach talking and stargazing. They have even more activities — spa, tennis, golf, boating, paddling, nature tours, libations classes — but we couldn’t fit them all in during our stay. And I should mention that families are welcome there, but it’s especially great for a grown-ups-only escape.
2. Girls ages 4-9 can try out ice hockey for free! The Reston Raiders Hockey Club will be hosting a Learn to Play event on October 23. No skating experience is needed, and loaner equipment will be available. Register in advance!
3. From DCist, all you need to know about vaccine booster distribution in the DC area.
4. Has anyone else seen Squid Game on Netflix? WHOA. It is not an easy watch — it’s grim, violent, often disturbing, and very intense — but also immensely gripping with an original, intriguing storyline. A really well-done show that I recommend only if you can handle all of the above. Needless to say, it is not for children.
5. Fall Expectations vs. Reality 🍁
Plan a visit to Dumbarton Oaks Gardens this fall
1. Fall officially begins tomorrow, so it’s a perfect time to (re)share 10 Great Places to Enjoy Autumn in the DC Area (that are not Farm Festivals).
2. Did you know the Washington Spirit, our women’s pro soccer team, has a Kids Club? Members get all kinds of benefits and goodies, depending on which option you choose. Join for free to get the newsletter, entry in a monthly raffle, printable activities, and a welcome letter from the Coach. Pay $25 to get even more, including a free match ticket, a gift bag, and a Spirit Shop discount! (PS: The Spirit are doing a Food Drive to support the Capital Area Food Bank. Fans who donate four non-perishable food items at this Sunday’s match at Segra Field in Leesburg will receive two free tickets for the Spirit vs. Racing Louisville FC match on October 9 at Audi Field.)
3. Washingtonian’s Best of Washington 2021 is so good. I especially loved “The 10 Best Things We Learned About Washington During the Pandemic” (even though some of them we already knew):
1. We believe in science.
2. We follow rules.
3. We look out for one another.
4. We creatively pivot on a dime.
5. We’re an easy drive to great getaways.
6. We have a lot of great parks.
7. We’re a bikeable city.
8. We’re a walkable city.
9. We boost small businesses.
10. We confront our history.
4. A couple of really interesting/informative/moving reads: This piece in the New Yorker (long, but worth it) and this recent essay in the New York Times.
5. Happy September 21!